Remember When: Stories about living in Fountain

This page is devoted to family stories, some which have been handed down for generations.  The source of each story is given when known, keeping in mind that we all remember (or have heard) different things about the same event, person or place.  The details in your family story about Fountain may vary.  Contributions may be submitted to the editors in word format.

Fountain's First Marshall Marks 95th Birthday
Gazette Telegraph Dec 13, 1963, copy from the Pioneer Museum

Louis Toothman celebrated his 95th birthday Monday and recalled some of the days when Fountain was a cowboy's town.  "The boys would come into town on Saturday nights and shoot off their guns and ride their horses on the board sidewalks. They never did that after I was elected."  When he encountered an hombre who wanted to hit the bottle, Toothman told him to go home or go to jail.  "I had a reputation then."  After leaving his job as the marshal, Toothman worked as a carpenter in Fountain for many years.  He didn't retire until he was 80.  Toothman doesn't believe in abstinence as a means toward reaching the age of 95.  "You hear men say they never drank liquor and didn't smoke.  I don't think there's anything to that.  I drank and smoked but didn't go to extremes.  I lived moderately."

History of Fountain Valley Extension Homemakers' Club
By Edith Winkler (copy provide by the Fountain Museum)

This is a History of Fountain Valley Extension Homemakers' Club, as I remember, not taken from any written items or facts.  The original name was Fountain Valley Extension Club, or Home Demonstration Club.

When I moved to a ranch south of Fountain in February 1937 the "Extension" Club had already been going for at least 5 or 6 years.

Mrs. Fred Monk and Mrs. AE Orcutt started the Club. I believe Mrs. Rinehart assisted to some extent. It was during the "Depression" and "Recovery" time.  I do not know if Ruth Appelthine was our extension agent when the club was organized but she was the agent in 1938 and could have been before that as I wasn't in the community at the organization.

Viva Colbert, Mabel Olson, Diora Mundell, Mrs. Oscar Johnson was among the Charter Members. There were others I know but do not remember.  In 1941 Ruby Wetzel, my sister-in-law, and I joined the Extension Club.  Some of the members at that time  - was Florence Jensen, Ada Dissler, Margarete Fullerton, Doris Goodsall, Mrs. AR Ward, Grace sample, Gale Foster, Gladys Jackson.  There was the faithful Viva Colbert and the other charter members, also others that escape my memory.

In 1942 our late member Bessie Wilson joined, Mrs. Mary Gleason and still others.  They joined, moved away and dropped out.  Ruth McGahan joined in the late 40s.  Later she helped to organize the 2nd Fountain Extension Club.

[This paragraph was crossed out on her notes.]  The Club took part in all the programs.  Our county meetings were held most of the time at the IOOF Hall in Colo. Springs.  We were always a part of the community activities.  In later years we went to the different districts for county meetings and that gave each member a greater scope for friendships and exchange of ideas.

The Club sponsored Essay Contests for Fountain High School seniors for a time.  The Fountain Valley Extension Club started the drive to get the first resuscitator for Fountain.  All the other town lodges helped on this project.  We held bake sales, four of them I believe, to pay for it, in the Monk building on Main Street.

To make money for our various projects the members had food for all the Farm Sales.  That was quite a work problem, the meat, the buns, etc.  Pies and cakes to be gathered up and lots of time finding a stove and ....  [end of page. No other notes.]

Memories from Donna Whalen-Koop, as told to Elaine Koop- MacKay.
Donna Whalen Koop

Great Depression Story
As a child growing up during the depression on my family’s farm, we always had what we needed.  One fall in the 1930s, while living on the Niles ranch south of town on Old Pueblo Road, my dad (Herb Whalen) saw someone tearing down a shed, so he asked the man and then hauled the lumber back to the ranch and built a dug-out by the house.  Everything was reused at this time.  Dad put sawdust all over the floor, and when winter came, he and some friends cut ice from the nearby Birdsall Reservoir.  They hauled it back to the dug-out, piled it up and secured the door. When summer came, dad was able to go back to Kansas and bring his parent’s (my grandparent’s  - W.T. and Lucy Whalen) out to stay with us for part of the summer.  There was no money to go anywhere, but we had plenty of fried chicken, ice cream, and family picnics. The ice from the Birdsall lasted into that fall, thanks to my dad’s engineering.
The Memorial Day Flood Of 1935

 In 1935, heavy thunderstorms hit the west side of Colorado Springs.  The storm was so intense that Fountain Creek was roaring and flowing out of its banks.  A carnival had been set up on West Highway 24, and the floods swept through it.  One of the carnival’s tent poles was retrieved from Fountain Creek, south of the town of Fountain, over 12 miles away.  
The flood waters were so fast and furious that water was lapping over the top of the one-lane concrete bridge south of Fountain.  The bridge still stands in the bottom of Fountain Creek off of Old Pueblo Road, with the approaches on other side gone.  The southern curve on Old Pueblo Road was altered, as flood waters cut into the embankment along Fountain Creek.  Families tried to return home to their farms south of town, but were instead stranded in Fountain because the roads were all washed away. They stayed with family or friends, and the hotels and boarding houses were full.
As the water receded, the men followed the railroad tracks south and east of town to their farms, where they did their chores and tended to their livestock.  The families were able to return to their homes only after temporary roads were made.

Rationed Food

During World War II (the 1940’s), Crisco was manufactured in glass jars.  It was a treasured commodity.  As with many staple items, such as coffee, sugar, flour, etc…, it was rationed.  

As a teenager during the early 1940s, Donna Koop worked in Bob Christian’s Arapahoe Grocery store in Fountain.  After school and on Saturdays, she helped with stocking shelves, and would deliver groceries on her bicycle to some of the customers.  One day, she prepared a grocery order for Wanden Kane, who lived north of town.  She loaded up her bicycle, and was rounding the corner to Mrs. Kane’s house, when a big dog came right at her, and scared her to death!   Donna crashed her bike and groceries went everywhere, and the jar of Crisco broke.  Donna recalled that the worse part was going back to the store and explaining to Bob what had happened.  The jar of Crisco was broken.  But he simply said to get another jar to replace the broken one, and deliver the order.  This time, Donna called ahead to make sure the dog was put up before she delivered the groceries!
(Wanden Kane was voted mayor of Fountain in 1942.  FE Torbit's Fountain Trading Company became the Arapahoe Grocery, and it was sold to Barney Kraus, who also ran a grocery, in the 1950s.  Today the building is home to Nala’s Quilt Shop.)

I Remember When: Halloween Pranks

Fountain, CO. 1949-1950
Tipping over outhouses was one of the things we did on Halloween night, though the prank didn’t always just affect the property owner.  One Halloween night, a bunch of kids went to tip over an outhouse, and it moved just a bit off of its foundation before Winnie Cezik fell in the hole.  As another prank, neighborhood kids would fill Main Street with all kinds of stuff: signs, bales of hay, wire, wood, loose gates, doors, buckets…..anything that wasn’t nailed down was put on Main Street.  The next day, it was up to the high school students to clean up the street so that people could once again use it.
Home Remedies of Past

These are some old home remedies used by my grandparents, Herb and Eloise Whalen.  Grandpa would treat cuts and abrasions with a mixture of turpentine and sugar.  The wound was rinsed, turpentine poured over it, sugar sprinkled on top and then a clean white rag wrapped around it.  If you were seen later by a doctor, he would be surprised at the healing.  For sore throat pain, grandpa would wrap cotton around a tongue depressor, dip it in mercurochrome, and swab your throat and tonsils.  It made you gag, but it sure helped with the pain. 

Grandma would treat burns and bruises with lanolin.  Once while they were canning corn, and grandpa was tightening a jar, it exploded and covered his face and head with hot corn and juice.  Grandma cleaned him up and smeared on some lanolin, and this prevented any of the burns from scarring.  If us kids fell and had bumps and bruises, they cleaned us up, and applied lanolin and a kiss.  For diaper rash, grandma would scorch flour in the oven and then put this in a shaker.  Sprinkled on, it worked great to prevent irritation on baby’s tender skin.

Christmas in Fountain

  Christmas in Fountain was a magical time.  A huge pine tree was placed in the middle of the intersection of Main Street and Ohio.  It was decorated with ornaments, lights were strung, and a star was placed on top the tree as a finishing touch.And with Christmas day approaching, it was time for a visit from Santa Claus.  I remember one year, when it had begun to snow lightly and excitement was building for his arrival on the town’s big red fire truck, with flashing lights and sirens wailing.  A jolly man would yell to the crowd “MERRY CHRISTMAS, HO HO HO”.  He was dressed in a red suit with white fur trim, and had bags of treats- candy, nuts, an apple or an orange.

In 1955, Santa was played by my grandfather, Herb Whalen, who loved to dress up for the occasion.  That year, after his guest appearance, he came to my parents’ house in Security.  There was a knock on the front door and a jolly Santa greeted us with a HO HO HO!  My brother Bobby was such a character.  He walked up to Santa and said “Hi Grandpa!”  Everyone was trying to keep a straight face, but we couldn’t.  But it was very special to me that Grandpa took time to visit our house as Santa and wish us a Merry Christmas!
1950s Movie Theater

Entertainment in Fountain

For diversion and culture, plays and movies were offered in various buildings over time.  Sometime after about 1913, when the commercial block on the west side of Main Street was built, one shop was used as a theater and plays were presented.  An old photograph at the Fountain Museum shows the actors wearing blackface makeup.  This business had sloping floors and a stage.  Later, probably in the 1940s or 1950s, the building was converted into a movie theater (left).  I've been told that at some point, onions were stored here over winter, and they rotted and the sloped flooring had to be torn out.  This shop was also used as a pool hall for a time.

Today this shop is God's Open House, but with a different facade.  The laundramat can be seen to the north, across the alley.

Movies and plays were also presented upstairs in the Woodmen Hall.

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