“Death went a prospecting

And he was no fool.

Here he struck Faithful Pete

The emigrant mule.”

– grave marker outside Ohio City, 1893

Alpine Tunnel Crews Wreck Pitkin

(Pitkin –1880) Steam-blowing railroad workers destroyed most of downtown Pitkin last night during a weekly Saturday night riot Brought on by lots of alcohol and little to do according to the local magistrate the disturbance caused broken windows, shattered street lamps and a fire at the local livery stables.

For years a love-hate relationship between the railroad workers, engaged in the construction of the Alpine Tunnel, and the town’s 1200 residents, has festered. Merchants in the town appreciate the workers’ silver but resent the noise and occasional violence. The workers, who camp at Alpine all week, look forward to sojourns into Pitkin, a town which boasts saloons, a bank and live women.

According to The Pitkin Independent “We predict that the population of our town will double by next year thanks to the excellent grade of ore from mines like Tycoon, Terrible and Little Addie Addie. In 1882 when the Denver and South Park Railroad reaches us we can expect continued growth. Just look at Quartz,” it continued. “Only months ago it was no more than placer claims and tin shacks near the summit of Cumberland Pass, and now it has a smelter and now there’s more gold dust than elk scat!”

The paper then challenged residents to put an end to the rabble rousing and turn from a mining camp to a fine city, one which might rival other booms towns like Lake City and Eureka in the San Juans, even Leadville.

Masterson Hired by Silverton Council

(Silverton — 1879) In an attempt to keep the lid on notorious Blair Street the Silverton Town Council has hired Bat Masterson as sheriff. The drastic action comes on the heels of an increase in murders and shootings, often resulting from claim jumping and gambling arguments. Blair Street is said to attract some of the top gamblers and prostitutes in the West. It is feared that this unsavory element will control the town.

“We’re pulling more silver out of these mines than anyone could have imagined prior to the Brunot Treaty,” said one leading citizen whose strike up Arrastra Gulch made him rich overnight. “Why should we let these low-lifes jeopardize our future successes? The troupes of preachers and soulful crusaders have had little affect. We’ve got 5 churches and 40 saloons. It’s time the community came together, some of them with their boots on if necessary.

Critics of the move say that despite his savvy, Masterson and his deputies may not want to see the demise of Blair Street. 

“These peace officer have far more in common with the ruffians on Blair Street than they do with any legitimate social activity. I’ve seen them cruising the gaming dens and parlor houses on Saturday nights, but I’ve never seen them in church on Sunday.”


Special from The Gothic Bonanza

(Gothic–1880) After weeks of sipping his way across Colorado General Grant arrived in Gothic tonight much to the delight of residents here. Gothic, settled primarily by former Unionists and war veterans, pulled out all the stops in an effort to outdo other boom camps such as Crested Butte and Irwin, who hosted the former President over the last weekend.

A great parade escorted the general into town and he gave a short speech from atop the local barber shop, paying his respects to the more righteous element of the town, then disappearing with local rowdies to sample the region’s poteen. 

During his stay he attended several horse races and witnessed a series of terrible snow slides. Before leaving he settled several political disputes and visited the town’s largest sawmill.

Grant served two terms as President from 1879-1877 and due to alleged scandals and fraud within his administration he was not given the nomination in 1876. Republicans, concerned with accusations by the Democrats chose Rutherford B Hayes, who some said was “the most honest man they could find”.

The famous guest was accompanied to Gothic by William T Sherman, former general and Secretary of War and Zachariah Chandler, former Interior Secretary.

Earlier this month Grant visited Schofield, just south of Sonofabitch Basin, where he reportedly rode into town on a white mule accompanied by ex-Colorado governor John Long Routt. The townspeople were so exited that they rolled out a barrel of their best whiskey.* One eccentric resident, Old Lady Jack, presented the general with a freshly washed cat.

*Editor’s note: The order of historical events has never been clarified here. Did Grant first rode the white mule or first sample the whiskey? The answer is buried with the town’s mediocre ores. 

Filed Under: Fractured Opinion


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