My dear Friends of the Twenty-first Century,
I wish that I might be present one hundred years hence, when you open the iron box and read this letter and the others enclosed with it. Be careful how you criticize it for my spirit may be hovering around, or I may be present in my "astral body" listening to what you are saying.
I wish that I might know what changes the coming century will have wrought and what the conditions of life at the time will be. As human beings, you will be very much like the men of today, just as we are like our great grandfathers of 1801, for human nature is pretty much the same from age to age with the same loves, hopes, fears and aspirations in each generation. But the change will be in the conditions of daily life, in the modifications of religious belief, in the aims of political parties, in the methods of education, in improved means of transportation, in new discoveries in the physical sciences. We think we have reached a very high standard of domestic convenience and comfort, certainly higher than that of any previous age, by the great development of mechanic arts characteristic of the last half century, but you will certainly have developed the natural forces, known to the present day, to a far greater degree of perfection than we have done, and very possibly will have discovered new ones of which we have no conception, just as we have trained steam and electricity to become our servants to a degree that would astonish our forefathers greatly.
I am expected to give you some idea of Colorado Springs as it is today, more from the social and domestic point of view than any other, but some mention of its physical characteristics, its population, its streets, buildings and residences may help you to form a conception of what our daily life is like. Others will enter more into detail of the various phases of our life, religious, social and civic.
The town, at present, has about 25000 inhabitants, having grown very rapidly in the last few years; it stretches from the valley of the Fountain on the south to the cut by which the Rock Island railroad enters the city on the north; from the Mesa on the west to Nob Hill on the east. Except at its northern extremity, this rectangular tract is pretty well built up with all sorts and conditions of houses, business buildings, hotels, clubs, schools and churches. The business section extends from Cucharas St. on the south to Bijou St. on the north, and from Cascade Ave. on the west to Nevada Ave. on the east. The most important buildings in this section are the new Antlers hotel (just finished) and the Alta Vista hotel on north Cascade Ave; the Alamo hotel on the northwest corner of Tejon and Cucharas Sts; the Gazette, Durkee, First National Bank, El Paso Bank, Post Office, the new Cheyenne Building and Mining Exchange Buildings on Pikes Peak Ave; the Opera House, the Giddings and Hagerman Buildings on North Tejon St. (A new Court House is building in the South Park.) The other buildings are plain one or two story structures of no special importance. The best residences are on North Cascade Ave., N. Tejon St., N. Nevada Ave. and Wood Ave. The streets of the city are straight, broad and unpaved, and are lined with cottonwoods and maples. Most of them are smooth, hard natural roadways, but Cascade Ave., which is the chief residence street of the city, is an uneven sandy waste, cut up by wagon tracks. A movement is now on foot to park it with rows of trees and grass plots down the center; that is the only way to convert it into a creditable highway.
In the early days of the town it was expected that Nevada Ave. and Weber St. in the neighborhood of Pikes Peak Ave. would be the favorite residence section and the best houses were built there, but in later years people have desired to live where they could see the mountains, so they have built their homes on North Cascade and Wood Aves. These people were mostly health seekers who had sufficient property to live in comfort without doing business or practicing a profession actively. For Colorado Springs is one of the greatest resorts in the country for people who have tuberculosis, which is one of the most destructive diseases afflicting the human race today. But now that the science of Bacteriology has proved that the spread of this contagion is due to the presence of the bacillus tuberculosis in the sputa, its mortality should be greatly lessened during the coming century by improved methods of sanitation and treatment, and you will not have so many "lungers", as we call them, among you.
The presence of this large element of people of wealth and cultivation, who had traveled and seen much of the world makes Colorado Springs a very delightful place of residence and different from any other town in the west; it is more like an eastern community than any settlement west of the Mississippi river. Our Colorado neighbors seeing a different standard of social life from what they were accustomed to and scenting an imaginary social superiority have nicknamed us "Little London", imagining that we, from the east, were aping the English. The truth is there is no more patriotic community to be found in America, and the few English and Scotch people who live here have not modified our domestic customs in any degree; on the contrary we are converting them to be good Americans.
Until the discovery of the gold mines at Cripple Creek in 1891, Colorado Springs was exclusively a tourist and health resort, but now it is a lively business town and railroad centre. The following steam railroads come to the town: Denver and Rio Grande; Colorado Midland; Colorado Southern; Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe; Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific; Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek District Railway; Missouri Pacific over the tracks of the D. and R.G.
It is now the leading market for mining stock in the country, and there are more transactions in those securities in this little town than in any other city in the world except London. Everybody here owns and speculates in mining stocks from clergy to maid servants. In 2001 when the store of precious minerals in the Colorado mountains shall have been exhausted, the town may once again have to depend on its climate and scenery for its prosperity. It may lose its commercial importance, just as the Massachusetts seaboard towns did, such as Newburyport and New Bedford, when their foreign commerce fell into a state of decay a half century ago.
Still as a tourist and health resort, and an educational centre renowned as the seat of Colorado College, it may well be a more desirable place of residence and have a more interesting civic individuality than a large commercial or manufacturing town would have, and it may continue to be the same delightful place of residence it is today.
The residences are mostly built of wood with an occasional stone or brick house; they are lighted by gas or electricity, and heated by hot air, hot water or steam from furnaces in the cellar. Soft coal costs $3.00-$5.00 a ton and anthracite coal $8.00 a ton. Gas costs $2.00 per 1000 feet. The law requires all ashes to be placed in brick ashpits outside of the house; this is on account of danger from fire during our high winds which prevail during the fall and winter months. Cooking is done in coal or gas ranges, which is a hot and wasteful method. You will do it with electricity or steam generated at a central station instead of in each house.
Steam to heat the Antlers hotel and business buildings in the centre of the town is our first step in that direction; pipes for this purpose were laid in the streets during the present year. We eat three meals a day; breakfast 8 to 9:30 A.M. of meat or fish, eggs, hot bread or cakes, coffee or tea; lunch 1 to 2 o'clock; dinner 6 to 8 P.M. It was formerly the custom to dine in the middle of the day and have a hearty supper at night, and some people still stick to this good old fashion.
Our house servants are mostly women, Irish or Swedes; their wages are $20 to $35 a month according to their skill; good cooks command the highest prices. A few people employ a man for butler, but it is exceptional. A proposal has just been made to organize a Servant Girls Union which shall obtain for them shorter hours, and extra pay for working overtime, but it will be strongly opposed by housekeepers, as wages are already higher in this town than in other neighboring cities. The aggressive spirit of trade-unionism will have to be met and subdued before another century rolls around.
Our houses are of varying styles of architecture-or of no style-to suit individual taste. Since the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893, where the buildings were of a classical type, our domestic architecture has been modified by this influence, and Corinthian, Ionic and Doric columns and other classic features give a certain dignity to the wooden boxes we live in. The Spanish style is very well adapted, both historically and architecturally to our climate and scenic surroundings; we possess a few examples of it in the new Antlers hotel which is thoroughly fireproof and the finest building in town; also the Plaza hotel on the S.W. corner of Tejon and Cache la Poudre Sts; the residence of William Lennox on the N.E. corner of Nevada Ave. and Yampa St; and the residence of Ralph Preston on the west side of Wood Ave. near Audley Place. It is to be hoped that it will be used more and more as time goes by. We have too many wooden houses, which are flimsy in appearance, as well as hot in summer and cold in winter, while at all times subject to destruction by fire. Our taste in architecture runs too much to the bizarre and picturesque; towers, verandas and gables too often appear as excrescences rather than parts of a harmonious design, but our standard of taste in artistic matters is constantly rising to a higher and higher level.
Some of our best houses and their owners are as follows. The large wooden house N.W. corner of Cascade Ave. and Boulder St. is owned by Mrs. B.F.D. Adams, the widow of a well-known physician of Waltham, Mass. who came here for his health. Mrs. Adams and her sister Miss Brinley were daughters of a Mr. Brinley of Connecticut who had one of the finest libraries of Americana ever collected, and second only to the Brown library of Providence, R.I.
The next house on the S.W. corner of Cascade and St. Vrain St. was built by Alfred Carpenter, a New York merchant, who came here for his health about 1885; he bought a good deal of real estate, and his widow owns the El Paso bank building, S.E. corner of Pikes Peak Ave. and Tejon St; also the row of small buildings on the north side of Kiowa St. from Tejon St. to Cascade Ave. Up to a year ago this tract west of the alley was occupied by a row of little cottages built way back in the '70's; it was called Dead Man's row because so many poor consumptives had died there and the houses were reeking with tuberculous poison. Mrs. Carpenter has three sons, Dunbar, Leonard and Alfred who are at Harvard University.
The big stone mansion N.W. corner of Cascade Ave. and Willamette Ave. was built by J.J. Hagerman, one of our most enterprising business men; coming here for his health and bringing a fortune with him, he became interested in silver mining at Aspen and made a fortune in the Mollie Gibson mine; he built the Colorado Midland Railroad up the Ute Pass, after some English engineers had reported that such a feat was impossible. He then put the greater part of his fortune in a railroad and irrigation scheme in the Pecos Valley, New Mexico. This nearly ruined him as he was caught in the panic of 1893, when the East Indian mints were closed to the coinage of silver. His house is now owned by a Leadville banker named Hunter. Mr. Hagerman has a fine library and splendid collection of pictures by French artists, such as Bougerau, Schreyer etc; he presented Hagerman Hall to Colorado College.
Next above it is the red stone house built by H.C. Lowe, brother-in-law of Mr. Hagerman; he also made a fortune in the Mollie Gibson and other mines; he died yesterday of Bright's Disease leaving a widow and two sons.
The imposing shingle covered house on the N.W. corner of Cascade Ave. and Dale St. is occupied by Mrs. Elizabeth Cass Ledyard Goddard. She is a granddaughter of Gen. Lewis Cass, one of our great statesmen, who held many public offices and was defeated by Martin Van Buren for the Presidency. Mrs. Goddard is easily the leading woman of the city, being foremost in all good works, and ready to give of her money, time and strength to advance any good cause. Her house is full of family heirlooms, old silver, china, furniture, and bric a brac, and she entertains in finer style than anybody else. She is a woman of remarkable force of character, intensely patriotic and a born leader of men and women, with a tender heart, always open to a tale of distress. She is the President of the Society of Colonial Dames in Colorado.
The house on the S.W. corner of Cascade Ave. and Cache la Poudre St. is the home of J.A. Hayes, President of the first National Bank; his wife is the daughter of Jefferson Davis, President of the Southern Confederacy. Mr. Hayes has made his fortune here as a banker. The stucco house in the Spanish style on the N.E. corner of Nevada Ave. and Yampa St. is the home of Mr. William Lennox; he was formerly a coal dealer, but has made a fortune in the Strong and Gold King gold mines in Cripple Creek. The imposing stone house on the S.E. corner of Nevada Ave. and San Rafael St. was built by W.S. Montgomery, also a successful mining man of Cripple Creek.
The stone house on the N.E. corner of Nevada and San Rafael is owned by a Mr. Lockhart, a cattleman; the house on the N.W. corner of these two streets was built by Lyman Bass, law partner of ex-President Grover Cleveland; after his death his widow married Senator E.C. Wolcott from whom she is now divorced. It is now occupied by the son of ex-President Chester A. Arthur. Returning to Cascade Ave., the house on the S.E. corner of Uintah St. was built by Mr. and Mrs. B.C. Allen, young people from Philadelphia. Mr. Allen is an invalid but an enthusiast for outdoor sports; his wife was an heiress, the daughter of Thomas McKean. On the N.E. corner is the house of Mr. and Mrs. R.P. Bartlett; Mrs. B. is an heiress; her first husband was an architect, E.C.G Robinson; he designed the El Paso Bank block and several residences. The house on the N.W. corner of Cascade and Audley Place was built by Rev. Mr. Dickey, a Presbyterian clergyman, and is occupied by his widow.
The large house on the S.W. corner of Cascade and Columbia was built by W.C. Bonbright, a banker and broker who came here from Philadelphia; he sold it to R.J. Bolles, who made a fortune in Aspen silver mines and has been President of our Mining Exchange for several years; he has just rented this house for a year at $500 a month.
The large colonial house on the N.W. corner of Cascade and Buena Ventura Sts. was built by a Mr. Lanford, but is now owned by a Mrs. Cheney, widow of a very rich Boston banker and railroad man. On the N.E. corner is the estate of Mr. W.K. Jewett; he is a son of Hugh Jewett, once president of the Erie Railroad although he came here a very sick man, he is now the picture of health and the champion golfer of this region.
In the next block on the west side of the Ave. is the house of Mr. Louis R. Ehrich who conceived the idea of this series of letters; he is a Jew by birth, a graduate of Yale and one of the most cultivated and scholarly men in the town; he has had various ups and downs in his business career.
Some of the finest houses in the city have been built on Wood Ave. in the last few years, especially the brick house in the colonial style of Mr. Woods of the Gold Coin mine, and the one in Spanish style of Ralph Preston, whose wife was the daughter of Col. Thompson, one of the standard Oil Co. millionaires. (This neighborhood is popularly nicknamed "Robber's Roost," as it is the home of so many mining men and brokers.) There are, of course, many other good houses occupied by well-known people, but these are the most notable ones.
One of the characteristics of our age is the desire to go everywhere in a hurry; horses are no longer speedy enough for transportation purposes and are becoming more and more instruments of pleasure and less and less the servants of utility. The electric trolley car and the bicycle are our chief means of local transportation. The electric railroad extends to the northern limits of the city, to Cheyenne Canon on the south and to Manitou on the west; the fare is five cents in the city limits and ten cents outside. It takes about ¾ of an hour to go to Manitou or the canons. The electric current is generated in a power house at the corner of S. Cascade and Moreno Aves. It is conducted on copper wires suspended over the middle of the street by cross wires fastened to poles, an ugly and disfiguring method at which you will wonder and which you will have improved upon. The power house for electric lighting is situated north of town near the coal mines.
A few automobiles have appeared in the city, but, as yet, they are too costly and noise and "smelly" and uncertain in action to come into general use. (Dr. P.F. Gildea is the first physician to use one in his practice.) Bicycles are the most popular and convenient means of getting about and there are thousands of them in use; our smooth, level highways are excellently adapted to them though our high winds sometimes interfere with rapid locomotion. A bevel-gear chainless wheel costs $50 to $75; a chain wheel can be bought for $25. It looks as if the bicycle had taken a permanent place among our wheeled vehicles, and I think you will be using them in 2001, but prophesying is dangerous business.
Our college president and his wife, and many clergymen go about on bicycles, even to church. Ten years ago that would have been thought most undignified, if not actually impious, and a bicycle-riding minister would have been in danger of losing his church. When women first began to ride the bicycle, it was considered a bold and rather immodest act, but now women of the highest respectability make use of them. During this same period, and perhaps owing to the influence of the bicycle, it has become a general custom for women and especially young girls to ride horses astride, just as men do, using, of course, a long divided skirt. To a physician it seems a more rational and healthful way to ride than on a side-saddle, but the prudes criticize it. If the horse was as recent an invention as the bicycle, no woman would think of riding any other way than astride. Such things are largely a matter of custom, but Dame Fashion is not closely related to Reason and never will be, even in 2001.
Our streets are entirely unpaved, but are good natural roadways. Sidewalks are mostly of gravel, except in the business section, where they are of stone. A few householders have put in cement sidewalks with a strip of turf on each side. Our lawns are slightly below the level of the street in order that they may be irrigated from the water running through the gutters; this supply is taken out of the Fountain Creek between Colorado City and Manitou and brought by open ditch to the northern part of the city; as it contains a good proportion of the sewage of Manitou and is, therefore, somewhat of a menace to health, many citizens prefer to keep their lawns green by sprinkling with the city water which they are allowed to use three or four hours daily. This water is piped from Lake Moraine up on the eastern slope of Pike's Peak. It requires constant care and daily attention to keep a lawn in good condition in summer. The site of the town was originally treeless but everybody who builds a house sets out trees on the sidewalk and about the house.
A very notable feature of life in Colorado Springs is the number of clubs of all kinds. For a town of its size it is unusually well provided with club facilities. This is due to the fact that in a health resort there are always many people who desire the comforts and amusements which clubs provide. The largest and most influential club in the city is the El Paso Club, which has a membership of over 200, including the leading business and professional men of the place. It has a fine brick clubhouse on the N.W. corner of Platte Ave. and Tejon St. which contains a spacious reading room with a very handsome billiard and pool room above it on the Tejon St. side; a restaurant with dining rooms for men and women; card rooms where the gambling spirit so characteristic of our age can be indulged in a quiet fashion; some of the leading bankers and business men of the place go there for a game of poker, which is the great gambling game of today, though in the last year bridge whist has been introduced from England and has become a favorite gambling game in social circles. The third story of the house is given up to bedrooms. A bowling alley runs from the clubhouse to the alley on the west. Out of deference to the temperance spirit of the town, where no saloons are allowed, intoxicating drinks are not served on the first floor of the house. The city ordinance allows druggists to sell liquor in quart bottles only; they pay the city a license fee of $1000 annually. As a matter of fact, they serve drinks to their patrons from their soda water fountains and one who "knows the ropes" can get almost any kind of a drink.
Social clubs are allowed to serve their members without interference. The Elks Society, which is a mutual benefit organization of a secret character, has clubrooms in the Opera House block on N. Tejon St. They have just bought the fine residence of Irving Howbert on N. Weber St. near Pikes Peak Ave. for a club house. The Pikes Peak Club has rooms in the second story of the stone building on the N.W. corner of Tejon and Kiowa Sts. These were once occupied by the El Paso Club before it grew to its present dimensions, and afterwards by the Y.M.C.A. There is said to be more gambling at the Pike's Peak Club, than at any other.
The Cheyenne Mountain Country Club is situated at Broadmoor on the eastern slope of the mountain. In the last fifteen years country clubs have become a feature in the life of nearly all American cities; their popularity is due to a reaction against the confinement, conventionality and other drawbacks of city life, as well as to a desire to engage in out of door sports. This is the theory upon which they are founded, but practically it too often happens that the vices of the city are transplanted to the country; drinking, gambling and flirtation are often more in evidence than the simple, healthful pleasures of the country.
Our Country Club has its "fast set", a clique of young people, both men and women, whose one idea in life is to live high and have a good time. Some of these young women drink more cocktails-a concoction of spirits and bitters-than is good for them; they gamble, tell risqué stories and flirt with men who are not their husbands, and dance Sunday nights. Such a state of affairs leads sooner or later to scandal and immorality, but fortunately it is only a reckless few who indulge in these practices. The sales of liquor at this club amounted to $22000 last year. Billiard and card rooms, bowling alleys, tennis courts, golf links and a polo field provide amusements to suit all tastes. The Town and Gown Golf Club at the N.E. corner of Columbia and El Paso Sts. has been in existence only a few years, but has been very successful in making itself the centre of interest in amateur athletic sports. It has a membership of over 200. It was founded originally for the benefit of those who love the royal and ancient game of golf, which in the last ten years has become the most popular game of ball in the country, and is undoubtedly played by more people than any other out of door sport. This club's course comprises 18 holes and is 6095 yards long, extending out to the line of the Rock Island Railroad. A Scotch professional, Willie Campbell, gives instruction in the game. In addition to golf, lawn tennis, ten pins and shuffleboard are the games played. No gambling or drinking to excess are allowed at this club. It is not patronized by the "fast set", as its simple, healthful forms of recreation do not appeal to people who crave excitement and stimulants.
In addition to the above clubs there are many small organizations which bring together people of congenial tastes, such as the Musical Club; the Tuesday Club which is a literary club for women; the Whist Club; the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, the Society of Colonial Wars; the Society of Colonial Dames. As this is a general sketch of Colorado Springs of today, the details of many important aspects of our civic life will be left to other special writers, but it would be incomplete without some reference to our religious, educational and charitable organizations. Colorado Springs is essentially a godly town, notwithstanding the materialism and skepticism of the age and the absorption of the Great West in money making pursuits. All the principal religious denomination have churches here, which are well attended and well supported; most of them have new houses of worship built within a few years; the Methodist church is now building at the corner of Nevada Ave. and Boulder St.; very few of them have any debt. Closely related to the churches are the Young Men's and Young Women's Christian Associations which do a great work among young people who come here poor in health and pocketbook, and often without friends, but who desire to make an honest living. The cornerstone of a new building for the former association will be laid this week; it is really a poor boys club. The National Printer's Home and the state Institution for the Deaf and Blind are located east of the city.
To care for the sick we have the Glockner Sanitarium at the north end of town, conducted by the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity; also the St. Francis Hospital under the charge of the sisters of St. Francis, and the Bellevue Sanitarium conducted by some Methodist Sisters. The Day Nursery is an institution where mothers can leave their children during the day, while they go out to work. The Boys Club has rooms where small boys, who have bad home surroundings or who might be on the streets in evil company, can meet to play games and be amused and instructed.
The Associated Charities is an organization for doing the general charitable work of the city; it is supported by voluntary contribution and the work is in charge of an agent who investigates all cases and helps the deserving and rejects and shows up the professional beggar. By this system the money contributed by charitable people does the greatest amount of actual good.
Colorado Springs is justly proud of its educational advantages. The buildings of its public school system would be a credit to any town in the country; its High School is a noticeable piece of architecture. Colorado College is a growing institution with 600 students. Its new quadrangle, which will be finished long before the century runs out, will be the most noteworthy architectural feature of the town. At present only the Coburn Library and Perkins Hall have been built, but the Science Building is going up at once. An attempt was recently made to extend Tejon St. through the College Reservation and bisect the proposed quadrangle with a public highway, but the friends of the college defeated this piece of vandalism in the City Council. Under President Slocum it has developed from a weak and bankrupt institution into one of exceptional strength in every department of its activities. It is coeducational, receiving boys and girls on equal terms.
In the matter of public art our town is decidedly remise; there is not a statue within its borders, not even a single fountain of artistic design. There should be statues of Zebulon Pike, Gen. Fremont and other pioneers and explorers in some of our open spaces, as well as bas-reliefs or fountains with typical figures of the Indians, Spaniards and plainsmen who roamed this region before it was settled by the adventurous immigrant whose motto was "Pikes Peak or Bust." Such works of art would preserve interesting types of manhood which have passed away forever, and exemplify in enduring marble or bronze a period in our history of which the written records are few.
Another of our crying wants is a Public Library building; the present library is housed in a few rented rooms and is entirely inadequate to the needs of a community where so many people have leisure for reading, while they are waiting to get well themselves or for somebody else to get well-or die.
A health resort in a sunny clime is naturally the scene of much social activity, and I cannot close this already too long letter without some reference to our amusements, manners and dress. People come here from all parts of the world seeking health or pleasure; occasionally an adventurer or swindler turns up with an assumed title and, after receiving much social attention from the undiscriminating, departs leaving behind an interesting collection of unpaid poker debts and worthless checks.
The favorite forms of entertainment are lunches, afternoon teas, dinners, evening receptions and dances. Lunches are almost exclusively a feast of fair women; they give an opportunity for a display of elegance and taste in table decoration which causes much emulation among our ladies. They usually select one color and have all the table decorations, flowers, ices, bonbons etc. of that particular shade. A table of this kind surrounded by a bevy of bright and laughing women in the glory of their very finest toilettes is a charming sight, but one to which men are rarely admitted, except as a subject of conversation. The lunch hour is 1 or 1:30 P.M. Lunch is properly a meal served in the middle of the day, but by a curious "westernism" in the use of English the term is often applied out here to any meal except breakfast, whether it is eaten and one o'clock in the afternoon, ten o'clock at night or one o'clock in the morning. Afternoon teas are also a very popular form of entertainment with the fair sex, as they come at an hour, 5 to 7 P.M., when there is nothing much to do except to make calls and gossip a little over the teacup, unless one is an athletic girl and is out on the golf links or tennis courts. The rooms are crowded with women, all laughing and talking at once as fast, or even faster, than thoughts come into their head. A low, soft, well modulated voice is one of the most desirable possessions a woman can have, but I regret to say that the average American woman of the present day has a thin nasal uncultivated voice; she is as careless about the use of this organ as she is about walking gracefully. Just imagine a battery of a hundred of these vocal rapid fire guns all shooting off at once. That is an afternoon tea. A babel of tongues into which men rarely venture, unless they are anxious to see some particular fair creature. The refreshments are, tea, coffee, chocolate, ices, cakes and candy. They are a cheap and easy form of entertainment which everybody pretends to despise, but which are always crowded.
Dinner parties are our most formal kind of entertainment and are given when we wish to show special favor to a guest. The hour is usually 7 or 7:30 P.M; the number at table is rarely more than twelve owing to the limited size of our dining rooms. The dinner is served in courses; oysters on the half shell, in season; soup, fish, roast; entrée; salad, game; ices and bonbons. At Christmas or Thanksgiving dinners mince pie or plum pudding are in order. Claret, white wine or sauterne, usually of a California vintage, and French champagne are the favorite wines; after dinner black coffee, various liqueurs, and cigars or cigarettes for the men are passed around. Hostesses pride themselves on making their table attractive with flowers, ribbons and specially made bonbons and ices. Candles are burned on the table and electric lights in the room. Carriages are ordered at 10 or 10:30 P.M. Dinners parties are often given at the new Antlers Hotel, the El Paso Club, or at the Broadmoor Casino or Country Club in summer. The price of a table d'hote dinner at the Antlers is $1.50.
Evening receptions, dances or balls at some hotel or club, plays at the theatre, lectures and concerts are additional forms of social diversion. The tendency to go everywhere as late as possible is very noticeable. The dinner hour is getting later and later; theatrical plays begin at 8:30 P.M. Many people are a quarter of an hour late at church, which begins at 11 A.M. If you are bidden to a reception or ball at 8:30 or 9 P.M., it is 10:30 or even 11 o'clock before people arrive in any number. It is to be hoped that in another generation fashion's decrees will favor more sensible hours of entertainment, and that this attempt to turn night into day will meet its Waterloo.
Photographs will make you familiar with the dress of the period. A well dressed man appears in the morning in a woolen sack suit of color or pattern to suit his individual taste; in summer it is often a blue or gray flannel, though a greenish shade is fashionable this year; the shirt is of Madras cloth of a bright colored pattern without a starched bosom; the cuffs are attached to the shirt and are of the same material, while the collars are of white linen; the tie is a bow of silk, or a narrow scarf knotted to hang down the length of the shirt bosom. In summer vests are usually discarded; the shoes are of brown or black leather polished, and are fastened with laces. Such a suit made to order by a good tailor of imported Scotch goods costs $40 to $55; the shirt made to order of imported Madras cloth costs $3.75; the tie 50 cents or $1.00; shoes readymade $3.50 to $6.00. In the afternoon the proper dress is a black cutaway or frock coat with vest of the same stuff or of white duck; cassimere or tailored trousers of a striped pattern, white shirt, collar and cuffs; ascot tie fastened with a scarf pin of matrix turquoise set in dull red gold is the latest in that line; patent leather shoes complete the costume. A black or brown derby hat or a gray soft hat of the alpine shape, and English doeskin gloves (made by Fownes or sent) are also necessary. The silk hat which is "de rigueur" in the east and abroad is seldom worn here, as our high winds, dust and bright sunshine do not agree with it.
In the evening the only proper costume is the dress suit; this is a plain black swallowtail coat with silk facings; a low cut vest of the same stuff or of white duck, and white bosom; collars and cuffs are attached to the shirt; two studs are worn in the bosom of plain gold or pearls perhaps; a white tie for formal occasions and a black tie for the theatre or friendly gatherings is proper. The watch chain is left at home. The keynote of a man's evening dress in anno domini 1901 is its absolute plain quietness. Shoes are of patent leather. The tuxedo coat which has come in of late years is the same as the swallowtail, minus the tails; it should be worn only to the theatre or on informal occasions, never to a ball or formal dinner party. Evening dress is proper only after 6 P.M. My last suit of this kind made by the "swellest" tailor on Fifth Ave. New York cost $105.00 but that is the limit of cost. For out of door games suits of white or gray flannel variegated with a stripe of some bright color, or else knickerbockers with long woolen stockings.
Pajamas are worn at night more than the old fashioned nightgowns. Nightcaps disappeared with our grandfathers.
It would be presumptuous for an old bachelor to write as to the details of women's costume, but I have observed a few things in regard to it. Bonnets are rarely worn; hats, usually large ones, are the prevailing headgear. Earrings have pretty well gone out of fashion, except diamond ones at night; they are a relic of barbarism at best. For riding the bicycle or playing golf or tennis a tweed skirt reaching to the ankles is worn with a shirt waist, and a small cap or hat for headgear; shoes of brown or patent leather with low heels and broad soles complete a very sensible costume. When in full dress women have their arms, shoulder and neck bare; ultra-fashionable and vain women are not content with displaying these portions of their anatomy, but have their dresses cut so low in front that part of their breasts is visible, and so low behind they seem to be holding a competition among themselves to see who can show the greatest number of spinal vertebrae and the greatest expanse of shoulder blade. If this fashion continues, the vain woman of the next generation will be costumed like the Venus de Milo with no covering above the waist, but the modern woman has a small waist while the Venus has a natural one. Her ornaments are precious stones or pearls; diamonds are the favorite gems. White or pearl gray kid gloves reaching to the elbow are worn with evening dress. American women have noticeably small feet and hands.
The average American woman of today is bright, clever, quick-witted, self-possessed, independent and often a college graduate; she has an excellent taste in dress; she makes a charming companion and friend, and a good wife, though childbearing is not to her taste and large families are no longer common. Children nowadays are too independent and forward, and are too often old before they are young, while young people generally seem to me to be less well-mannered, less respectful to their elders, and less reverent of the truths of religious faith, than when I was a boy. But perhaps this opinion of mine simply means that I am getting on in years, and am out of harmony with the youngsters having none of my own.
An occasional wild animal is seen near the town such as coyotes, jack rabbits or cottontails, prairie dogs and skunks, and wolves. The buffalo disappeared twenty five years ago, and the antelope, bear, mountain sheep, elk and deer, which once frequented this region, have fled before an advancing civilization, though there are a few Ovis Montana on Pikes Peak. Small birds and hawks are numerous in the town and down in the valley of the Monument. Eagles are rarely seen nowadays.
During the past few days we have been celebrating the quarto-centennial of the admission of Colorado as a state. The great feature of the celebration was the presence of Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt, who made an address in the North Park. He is a man of great force of character and of notable literary ability; he is very strong with the people, but not so strong with the politicians and office holders. I hope that he will be President of the United States some day.
Today, Aug. 4th 1901, this letter goes into the Century Chest. It has been cloudy and cool with a moist southeast wind; a thunderstorm is coming down from Pike's Peak with a great roaring and rumbling. This has been a hot and dry summer; for a month it was about 90 degrees in the shade, but the nights are cool.
Hail and farewell, dear Friends. This is the only time we can meet; my earthly career will soon be done, while yours is not yet begun. You will know me from my letter and my photograph, but, alas and alackaday, I can never know you. May God's peace be with you.
Samuel Le Nord Caldwell, M.D.
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