Maker City 1899

From the Pueblo Chieftain, page 1, January 20, 1899


Stability Founded On Great Institutions

Employing Thousands of Men the Year Round at Good Wages.


Largest Percentage in the Country of People Employed in Mechanical Production.


Pueblo’s Stability and Greatness Built Upon the Solid Foundation of the Regular and Certain Distribution of Immense Sums to Workingmen Who Have Steady Employment Without Cessation and at Good Wages That Enable Them to Support a City of Great Mercantile Thrift and Growing Importance In the World of Trade and Commerce — Five Thousand Persons Earning a Good Living From the Mechanical Activities of Industrial Pueblo—Multiplicity and Diversity of the City’s Plants Such as to Make It Capable if Necessary of Self Support and Sustenance In Food and in All the Necessaries of life Even Should a Chinese Wall be Erected About It—But It is a City Not Alone of Material Greatness, but of Magnificence In Every Interest of Rational and Progressive Life

From the congested centers of New England to the Pacific coast there is not another city that so merits the name of an industrial center as Pueblo. From the thousands of spindles and shoe-making machines of the communities about Boston to the localities where the waters of the greatest ocean of earth are awash there is not another settlement of human being where in proportion so many are engaged in productive activity as in Pueblo.
Nor is there another city where there is such a diversity of manufactures, such wealth of resource and such stability the year round. The great engines that furnish power to the steel works and smelters run constantly from one year’s end to the other. Foundries and machine shops never cease their activity. Minor industries are of such a kind that demand is made on them, not for a few weeks or months each year, but their products are the necessities of a twelvemonth. Stability is therefore a feature. Constant employment is the boon of Pueblo workingmen. Good wages are their reward. Happiness is their lot and ample return is the result of investment in the plants that make Pueblo “Industrial Pueblo” above all else.

Known chiefly the country over as the greatest smelting city in the world and as the location of the only steel rolling mills west of the Missouri river, few even of Pueblo’s own people realize fully the diversity of the manufacturing interests of their home city. It is no idle boast to say that no other place of 45,000 people in the United States could surround itself with an impenetrable Chinese wall and still so nearly produce everything that its people need. Of the necessities of life in food, Pueblo and the county of which it is the capital, produce all that human appetite requires for its satisfaction and for the sustenance of the body. Cereals are yielded by her fields. Her flouring mill, strictly modern and up-to-date in every particular, turns out all the foods that grains may bring. Her packing houses yield all the animal products of every kind that are used for food directly or are employed in the preparation of food. Orchards and gardens bear their rich measure of fruit and vegetables and the canning plant prepares them for preservation for winter use. Dairies and bee farms yield their butter and eggs and the sweetness that might be used instead of sugar until a beet sugar factory now in contemplation gets to work.

In clothing, the raw material for the tannery is here to be swiftly turned into leather for shoes should the necessity arise. Wool is clipped from flocks of sheep that are steadily growing in number. Firms there are that annually produce even now a supply of garments well-nigh sufficient to clothe the people of the county. Utensils of metal could be turned out in countless numbers from the blast furnaces and foundries of the city. Several well equipped wood working establishments have an abundant capacity for the making of furniture, both ordinary and fine. But to elaborate would be useless. It is better to present in detail a list an accurate as it is possible to make of the several scores of manufacturing plants that are here located.

First may be mentioned the three great smelting plants with an aggregate capacity greater than that of any other city in the world, the corporations owning them being: The Pueblo Smelting and Refining company, the Philadelphia Smelting and Refining company and the Colorado Smelting company. The Pueblo Ore company, samplers [suppliers?] of ore may here be mentioned. The steel works of the Colorado Fuel and Iron company, producing steel rails, structural iron, merchant iron, cast iron pipe, spikes, etc., is the most important of the industries of this sort. There are besides the Iron City Manufacturing company’s foundry and machine shops and the Pueblo (Lannon’s) foundry. There are in addition many smaller foundries and machine shops of which the following may be mentioned: Enterprise Machine shop, Iron City Boiler works, Ortner’s foundry, Wilson’s stove foundry and the Pueblo Wire and Iron works, besides shops of the Pueblo Hardware company, and of the Holmes Hardware company, which turn out sheet iron goods of their own manufacture, including cornices, etc. Other firms are also engaged in the manufacture of sheet iron and tin goods.

Of the makers of brick and other products from clay the Standard Fire Brick company, with a business that extends a large part of all the way around the world, is the most important. The New Lumber company also makes brick at its own yards, as do J.K. Dempsey and the Bleekers. Of other building supplies the finished product is turned out from the raw material at the planing mills of the Newton Lumber company, of Mulnlx & Campbell and Richardson & Campbell. Stone for building and fluxing at the smelters and steel works is quarried by A. T. Fisher, J. M. Woodard and others along the Arkansas river west of the city. Marble for decorative purposes is produced near Beulah in the southwestern part of the county and the interior of the state capitol at Denver has been trimmed with exquisite stone from the Beulah quarries. The Pueblo Marble company also finishes the stone for monuments and other purposes.

Among the plants that produce food supplies of one sort and another may be mentioned the Nuckolls Packing company, the Wachtel & Doyle Live Stock and Provision company, the Pueblo Flouring mill, the National Biscuit company’s Pueblo factory, the Meeker Canning and Pickling company, the Colorado Provision company, the American Extract company, the Corkish-Bennon Candy company, John Belter’s Candy factory, Sanders’ Confectionery company, and many bakeries that produce solely for their own retail trade. In this connection note should be taken of the fine cold storage and distilled water ice plant of the Artificial Ice company. Other makers of the necessaries of life are the Colorado Bedding company, Pueblo Soap company and the Pueblo Broom company. Then there are the Pueblo Trunk factory, the Pueblo Corset factory and the Pueblo Bridge company. Pueblo has its own brewery and besides bottling works in connection with the agencies here of all the great breweries of the west. Besides this there is the steam bottling works of Naylon & Simpson, and the City Bottling Works, where all kinds of carbonated waters and drinks are put up. including the medicinal waters of the noted mineral springs of the city.

The Pueblo Novelty works and Manufacturing company has a large output of small articles of various kinds, including bicycle parts. There is besides the Pueblo Bicycle Manufacturing company, that builds its own wheels. Builders of wagons and buggies are the Pueblo Carriage company, J. M. Gray, F. H. Stewart Carriage company and the Pueblo Wagon and Carriage works. The Mead Hay Press company has its factory here.

In leather goods and saddles and bridles the name of Pueblo is known far and wide through the productions of S. C. Gallup, R. T. Frazier, Thomas Flynn and J. E. Miles. F. J. Burch & Co. turn out tents, awnings and canvas goods of all kinds for distribution through a wide territory. Ten or a dozen cigar factories roll the fragrant weed for smokers. Stephens Brothers make up fur goods for the trade. The Tablet Ink company makes writing fluids. Pueblo’s laundries too are real industries, employing steam and many hands besides, the largest the Wormley & Murtha Pueblo Steam laundry, the Troy laundry and the Up-To-Date. The Pueblo Electric company turns out articles produced by it.

And this brings us to the electrical industries of the city. The trolley lines are operated by power from the finest equipped and most modern station in the west. From the same house go out the cables that carry arc and incandescent current to patrons of the Pueblo Light and Power company. Gas is produced by the Pueblo Gas and Electric Light company. Speaking of light naturally turns attention to printing and publishing. There are in the city four plants using power in printing. They are the Chieftain Publishing company, the Pueblo Lithographing and Printing company, the Evening Star and the Evening Press. The two first named operate binderies as well. There are in addition a number of printers using smaller presses.

And last but not least in the list of Pueblo industries are the five great railroads, each having engine storage, car repairing, shop work and other mechanical labor done here, the Denver & Rio Grande, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, the Colorado & Southern, the Missouri Pacific and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific.

This hasty glance at the great industrial activity suffices in showing the grounds for the splendid stability of Pueblo, which has besides not only its own rich fields to draw from but likewise the scores of thousands of acres in the Arkansas valley which produce the grains of the field, the fruits of the orchard, the grape of the vineyard, the melon of the garden and indeed everything else to which the husbandman turns his plow, his mower or his pruning knife. Fortunate as Pueblo is in her own she is equally as fortunate in the locality by which she is surrounded. Her own great industries put into the pockets of the workingmen an average of $17,000 per day in wages exclusive of the payments for labor that can not be accounted mechanically productive and exclusive of great sums that are daily earned by those in capacities that are as essential to trade and prosperity as the toll of him who takes nature’s stores and converts them to man’s purposes.

But to return to the city alone: 1,750 men are daily employed at the three smelters, 1.600 at the steel works and not less than a full thousand of those working for the five great trunk lines entering the city make their homes in Pueblo. From these three greatest of Pueblo’s activities from 4,350 men up secure their livelihood. A very conservative estimate would be 650 for the total of others who are employed by the institutions enumerated in those portions of their business that may be termed industrial. Five thousand persons, then, of the city’s total of 45,000 draw their sustenance from industrial work. Careful estimates compiled from the most accurate figures obtainable show that for these people there is a daily payment of $17,000 In wages, which means $510,000 per month or $6,120,000 per year.

It is not surprising, then, that in commercial business and in general trade Pueblo makes a showing that is second to none in the country, for not alone are the wages paid assured for the entire year, but the general level is good, besides showing many who receive very handsome returns for skilled work at the various plants. Pueblo’s stores, wholesale and retail, are superior to those to be found in any city of its size in the country. They do business with a thrifty, well living people to secure whose patronage both good goods and good quarters are necessary. During the year 1898 every firm in the city had a larger trade than ever before in its history, and the future is certain to bring a repetition of this record for constant additions to the capacity of the industrial plants and a consequent increase in the paid are characteristic of every institution with which the name of industrial Pueblo is connected.

Failures were the smallest since the establishment of the local branch of the commercial agency of R. G. Dun & Co. which was prior to the panic of 1893. Bank clearings were 9% per cent, larger than for 1897 and the total volume of business is estimated at $100,000,000. The financial portion of this great trade was handled through four national banks, than which none in any state could be more substantial or more firm. Total resources of these four banks, exclusive of a savings bank, for the last statement in December, 1898, show an increase of nearly $800,000 over the figures for the same item in the corresponding statements for 1897. And total deposits on the same basis of comparison show a gain of more than three-quarters of a million dollars.

These gains of 1898 over 1897 meant as well that Pueblo had attracted to her borders as permanent residents many people whose homes had been elsewhere. As a consequence there is scarcely a single dwelling house in the city unoccupied, and real estate men are put to sore straits to secure abiding places for the many clients who seek their services. It is not surprising that real estate showed a constantly increasing activity as the recent year drew to a close, the last day of 1898 being marked by the purchase by a noted Boston capitalist of a business corner at a cost of $65,000 to complete his holdings of a full block along Main street, on which he has expended in the neighborhood of $200,000 in improvements and contemplates spending half as much more on his latest acquisition. Prices are firm but not inflated, and property of all classes bids fair to be extremely active during 1899. Building operations, including a large number of dwelling houses, during 1898 brought up the handsome total of a million and a quarter of dollars.

But it is not alone in material things that Pueblo is great. It is not merely the busy hum of industry that makes this a good place to live. The climate is mild and equable. Zero weather is a rare occurrence, though few winters pass without at least one daily report from the government weather man showing a drop to minus figures. That wheeling is possible for more than three hundred days in the year, not only possible but pleasureable, is proof conclusive that rigorous weather is the exception. Few summer nights there are when a blanket is not comfortable after midnight or even before. The altitude of the city makes it of all places in Colorado best suited for those suffering with lung troubles. Nature has provided several springs of mineral water unrivalled in their excellence for medicinal purpose and at the same time wholesome and agreeable to the taste.

Nature’s bounty in a fruitful soil has been drawn upon to produce trees and turf. Small parks abound and the city has expended during the last fifteen months $70,000 in the purchase and improvement of a tract of land centrally located in the northern residence section and dedicated to the public as a park second to none in any city even twice the size of Pueblo. Citizens are at present making elaborate preparations for tree planting the coming spring and the entire city is being organized into neighborhood improvement societies which will set out not less than twenty thousand new trees during the year 1899. Private homes are surrounded almost without exception by beautiful greensward and by abundant shade. Bountiful water supply from the Arkansas river makes irrigation possible to the full desire of all.

Colorado has long prided herself on the excellence of her schools, both in the instruction given and in the accommodations provided for the pupils. Pueblo claims for herself, without meaning to disparage any sister city, the finest and most numerous buildings for instruction of the young that are to be found in the state, population considered. In individual buildings she accepts a position behind none. Of churches the supply is equally generous and the buildings fully as handsome and attractive. Philanthropy and benevolence find ample opportunity for activity in hospitals, in institutions for children and in all that goes for the necessary discharge of the duty of the fortunate to those less happily placed in life. And the opportunity is fully taken advantage of. In things intellectual Pueblo keeps pace with the times. A free public library, the property of the city, is open to all and in the schools there are also libraries for the benefit of the pupils. Of clubs for discussion and mutual mental improvement, both those for men and those for women, Pueblo has a share in keeping with her other splendid conditions.

But it is to the smelters with output of metals valued at 22 millions of dollars in 1898, to the steel works with their capacity of 200,000 tons of steel rails per year, besides vast quantities of other iron and steel products, to the railroads with their scores of freight and passenger trains each day, to the multiplicity of other industrial activities, that the greatness of the city is due. The rest has followed because the people of Pueblo are progressive, energetic, awake, intent on improvement of their city and of themselves.

Pueblo Makes visits IFIZ

On 15 October 2019, Pueblo Makes visited IFIZ, the Indoor Farming Innovation Zone, near East High. Dr Kelly Gehlhoff hosted the group, wrote the following report, and provided the photo. See the I Will Projects for more information.

First people were encouraged to walk around the “food oasis” or indoor growing demonstration and activate their five senses and ask any questions that come to mind. Then we settled into the meeting space and Alice Hill, founder of The I WILL Projects gave her background story for the organization and this project that was inspired by her nephew, Will, who lost his battle with mental illness and how he wanted a chance to have a horticultural job that might help him reconnect with nature and himself. His loss prompted her quest to create an aquaponics demonstration project to provide unique education. The I WILL Projects has outreach beyond IFIZ, including The Eye of Survival play and Hospice education.

Dr. Kelly explained how the IFIZ (The Indoor Farming Innovation Zone) represents a mix of DIY-style agriculture technology and small-scale industrial level greenhouse or indoor growing technologies placed together in an attempt to demonstrate closed-loop system design – then Nate Miller gave his testimony about the word INNOVATE, including how it is instrumental in the Maker’s Movement and how he has hybridized vertical farming hydroponic technology with aquaponics systems. His work here really represents the STEAM-based approach to education and providing mentorship for engineering students at Central High last year he helped them walk through a rapid prototyping process. Discussion of how the 3-D printing and laser engraving tools made it possible to evolve designs very quickly was followed by questions from the audience about how to expand this concept throughout Pueblo. The SBDC and SCEDD are working together to bring resources like technical or business planning support that will make it easier for people in the future to know how to bring innovative products to market. The group celebrated news of Pueblo winning the Etsy grant to help fund some of this Makers’ momentum. It is an exciting time to be a part of the maturing creative economy and entrepreneurial eco-system.

For more information on IFIZ please visit or email the team at  or call Cheryl Anderson at 719-778-6558

The I WILL Projects Team: Executive Director – Cheryl Anderson (left), Education Specialist — Susan Finzel-Aldred (right), Founder – Alice Hill (top right), Grow System Designer – Nate Miller (top right) Not pictured: Sustainability Consultant  – Dr. Kelly Gehlhoff, Intern/System Design and Maintenance – Isaiah Aragon, Intern/Education Leadership – Bri Heifner, Executive Assistant – Sandy Davisson, IFIZ Intern – Sara Davisson

Pass Key

After over 21 years living in Pueblo, we finally ate at Pass Key (the one on the north side) and we have been missing out on a good thing. No wonder it is classic Pueblo. I had the famous special, a spicy Italian sausage patty on a bun, with cheese and lettuce. Fries too. Purists will say I missed out on the full effect because I am not a fan of mustard and skipped that, but the sausage had plenty of spice to it. Mark had the grilled turkey and swiss sandwich and we finished by sharing a chocolate covered frozen banana. And in true Pueblo fashion, I know one of the Paganos who is an engineering student at CSU-Pueblo. Pueblo’s tag line: I know your cousin. Or, better tag line: I AM your cousin.