Tuesday, August 13, 2019


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

There is a saying I heard years ago, and whether it's true or not, it applies to where I live in Colorado. It was said the natives wouldn't build/live in the area because it would make the wind gods angry. If you've ever dealt with 'wicked' wind you know what I am speaking of. So, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how wind played its part in the history of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

I will also note that McAllister House, a museum now, was built in 1873 to specifications that would allow it to withstand the winds that blew through the area. As you will read below, it did, for it still stands as it stood all those years ago.

According to the local newspaper on March 8, 1873, which was a Friday night, the wind commenced around midnight and continued unabated for at least two hours. It came from the Northwest bringing clouds of dust. It did considerable damage to unfinished buildings including three that were under construction, and among the businesses affected, the livery stable lost the front of its building. A Mr. James Wilson whose residence was located on Cascade Avenue was "obliged to get a bricklayer to build him a new chimney before he could indulge in breakfast".  A number of smaller outhouses that were found lying on their sides when the sun rose. Although no one was hurt a number of people were frightened including those in the local boarding house and the Colorado Springs Hotel.

McAllister House Museum today
photo property of the author
In January of 1887, the city was hit with another 'wind storm'. This one did damage estimated at between five and six thousand dollars. The wind started picking up around 9am, blowing around 45 miles per hour. By around 1:44 pm it had reach 72 miles per hour, where it remained for about thirty minutes. "During the progress of the storm businesses were almost entirely suspended and the streets wore a deserted appearance. Great clouds of dust were blown through the cross streets and even pebbles the size of marbles were hurled through the air at a terrific rate."

On November 21, 1900, the wind blew for approximately twelve hours straight. According to the newspaper article, "there is hardly a section of the city, there is hardly a house in the city that has not been visited by some injury. There is only the consolation that the wind was not happy or the fair city would have been practically wiped from the map." In this particular windstorm, the article went on to say no one knew for sure what the velocity of the wind was at its height. They went on to say that the college weather Bureau, that being Colorado College, showed that it was 80 miles an hour. To quote the article: "the weathervane spun around for a long time, but finally became overheated and melted away. It was a carried away at last and no exact record is known"

Prior to 1900, there were numerous wind events.

On New Year's Day of 1874, a gale blew up that "people were blown flat on the ground as they tried to move about"

In the winter of 1886, the wind blew for three days and nights. In that particular event, a railroad train of cars was overturned, and plateglass windows were damaged by the gravel and sand.

In the winter of 1889, another strong wind blew and the timber on Cheyenne Mountain caught fire.
There was also a "great wind and in 1898 when the Antlers hotel was destroyed, there was also a terrific gale that day although it did not last very long."

On a personal note,  on April 3, 1982, the wind at the Garden of the Gods was clocked at 103 miles an hour.  So I guess you could say it does get a bit windy here.

Kissing Camels - Garden of the Gods
photo property of the author.

An excerpt from my latest story included in the collection: "Hot Western Nights"

 "So that's how it is?" Dan's voice cut into the silence. He was angry to have been wool-gathering when he should have been paying attention. His voice shook as he asked, "Was this her idea, bushwhacking a person after…"
"You don't speak nothing against Miss Miranda," Sherman cut in. "She don't know nothing about this," he continued.
Dan stared, then began, "So what's next?"
"Why you really here?" Sherman asked, "just seems kinda coincidental you showing up when you did."
Dan took his time, gauging the temper of these men, their obvious respect for their lady boss, Miranda. At the same time, he had his duty to locate, and return one 'Corporal Dawson' for desertion, theft and possible murder. While these men might be able to help, he doubted they would be much use.
"Seems he's trying to get his story straight," Huck cut in on Dan's thoughts.
Dan pulled himself back. Things had gotten ugly mighty fast. He could pull his papers from the hidden pocket of his jacket, but he didn't want to play that hand unless he had to.
"Fine, I'll leave," Dan growled, turning to pick up his gear.
"Don't think so," Sherman countered, "you're staying here even if we gotta lock you up."

"I doubt you could do that," Dan challenged, setting himself for whatever was to happen. "First you question my being here, and when I offered to leave —"

Hot Western Nights by [Nutt, Karen Michelle, Culiner, J. Arlene, Raines, Angela, Clements, Elizabeth, Lence, Julie, Spencer, Kaye]
Purchase from Amazon Here

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History

For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here


Julie Lence said...

And just in the last 2 years we've had terrible winds, one storm clocked at over 80mph at our level and almost as strong at the top of the mountains. One storm blew kiddo's trampoline into the fence. Thank the good Lord the material caught on the wood and kept it from going over the fence. if it had, it would've gone right thru my neighbor's dining room window. Great article Doris! (Show it to Brian at KKTV. Bet he'll love it!)

craftydr said...

Been through some dilly wind storms here Doris. I remember by husband going out to find our daughter's play slide that was outside when we first moved here and it was like down the block around the bend. More times than not he had to go search for it.
I have seen so many down fences and trees with broken branches and who knows what. Yep we have been through a few in the 28 years just in Colorado Springs.

Renaissance Women said...

Julie, there may have been something to that old saying. We do have some big wind here, don't we?

I'm glad the trampoline didn't do more damage than it did, and that you were all safe.

I'll think about sharing with the weatherman. (Smile) Doris

Renaissance Women said...

It sounds like you've been through the routine more often than not. Seems when the winds come, we go chasing. Glad you were safe. Doris

Elizabeth Clements said...

I enjoy all your blogs, Doris. I love that beautiful old house that has withstood the ravages of wind and sand. And of course I enjoyed your excerpt.

Renaissance Women said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. Sometimes I think the weather can be so interesting, especially in a story. Doris