Colorado College Tutt Library

Century Chest transcription 3

Office of Mayor
Dr. J.R. Robinson,
Colorado Springs

Aug. 1, 1901

To the Citizens of Colorado Springs of the Twenty-First Century.

I am requested by the committee having the matter in charge to write some general statements concerning our city as a municipality from an official standpoint. When you read this letter the writer will have long since entered "the mysterious realm where each shall take his chamber in the silent halls of death." It is possible that this letter may be the only link connecting my name with the next century. I hope however that the influence of some act of mine may live carrying with it some good to you who enter the new century.

Colorado Springs was born thirty years ago yesterday July 31,1871. The town was incorporated September 2,1872.

A city organization was effected March 4, 1876 and in 1878 a re-organization was effected and we became a city of the second class. The census of 1900 gave us a population of 21,073. This entitled us to the rank of a city of the first class. I procured a certified copy of the census from the US Director of Census, filed it with the secretary of state at Denver, and Gov. Orman declared us entitled to organize as a first class city. This was done on April 15,1901 at the first meeting of the City Council of this municipal year.

The city council or legislature is composed of the mayor and the Aldermen. The mayor is elected by the voters of the whole city; the Aldermen from their respective wards. Each ward has now two Aldermen, one elected each year. Under the law now governing cities of the first class there will be after this year but one Alderman from each ward. He will be elected in odd years and serve two years. We have now five wards but may have eight. Three new wards will probably be created this year. The next council will have not more than eight Aldermen possibly but five.

The details of the city administration are carried out largely through committees appointed by the mayor at the first meeting of each new council. These committees contain three Aldermen each. The standing committees are at present-Finance-Water-Public grounds and Buildings-Streets Alleys Bridges and Ditches-Fire-Police-Sewers-Cemetery-Printing-Ordinances. -The principal departments of the city are Police, Fire, Street, Water, Sewer, and Health.

In the Police department we have 21 men including the chief. The appropriation this year for this department is $21,970.

In the fire department including three stations we have 17 men including the chief. We have in addition three volunteer companies. The fire appropriation is this year $22,288.

The appropriation for street maintenance including sprinkling, and lighting is $62,810.This includes interest on bridge and viaduct bonds and sinking fund of $8000. None of our streets are paved but the mayor in his last annual message to the council recommended paving the streets in the business section. It has been suggested recently that experiments be made with the disintegrated granite which is found in large quantities on the lines of the Cripple Creek short line Railway, and which it is thought will make excellent and cheap paving material. I will endeavor to have this matter tested soon. We have now about 80 miles of streets. Stone sidewalks are scarce, but I have recommended progress in this line.

The streets are sprinkled with carts but an electric sprinkler has been ordered and will soon be in operation. A new bridge has just been completed across the Monument.

Our water system is the pride of our city. The water revenue this year will amount to probably $85,000.The appropriation for the water department including internal and construction and extensions is $105,030-This also includes $14,000 sinking fund. In my two last annual messages I have recommended that every available source of water supply of value to the city be procured and also all valuable reservoir sites. The city government is now considering four water propositions: The "Brookside" or Cheyenne Caņon supply, The Ute Pass or Green-Mountain Falls, the Seven Lakes, and the Austin Bluffs water system. I believe the last two to be of especial value to the city. The Ute Pass water is more controlled by the city by virtue of rights on the Fountain. The value of the Brookside water right unless the Broadmoor rights are also acquired is problematical. To storage we must look for the solution of the water supply as I believe the growth of the city will be limited only by a lack of water. We must soon inaugurate the meter system as under the present management too much water is wasted.

I am convinced that our sewer system will have to be remodeled as the city grows and we will soon have to solve the question of sewage disposal. The appropriation of the sewer department was this year $39,830-This includes $13,000-sewer sinking fund.

It is probable that nothing will astound the people of the Twenty-first Century more than the expenses of the cities of this age in the maintenance of health. An epidemic of small pox has this year cost us about $5000.The advances made in medical science the past century gives basis for the belief that small pox and other contagious diseases will in your age no longer trouble civilized peoples.

We are now negotiating the sale of bonds for the erection of a new City Hall to cost not less that $100,000. This much needed improvement I hope to see completed during my administration.

The Parks now owned by the city are "Acacia" Park, South Park in which is now being erected the County Court house, the Antlers Park and the Cheyenne Caņon. "Dorchester Park" is owned but at present not used by the city. The same is true of certain lands lying along the "Monument" Creek. That both these places will secure early attention from the City I have no doubt, and will in a few years become valuable additions to our Park system. I wish that we owned South Cheyenne, as well as North Cheyenne Caņon. I hope that the former may at an early date be procured by the city. The writer since his election to the mayoralty conceived the idea that the tract of land lying north-east of the city and known as "Austin's Bluffs", is the ideal site for a large City Park. Indeed it is now a park of some beauty. He recommended its purchase by the city but public sentiment seemed to be antagonistic or indifferent and the council did nothing. Still feeling earnestly that the city should own this park, I have taken landscape architects of wide reputation over the ground and found that they agreed with me that it would be a valuable acquisition to our park system. I interested our public spirited citizen General Wm. J. Palmer in my plans and a few days since he informed me that he had decided to purchase the tract and present it to the city. He has made a proposition for the park and adjacent coal land and his proposition has been accepted, but the deed has not been executed and the public has not been informed of the valuable gift to the city. It will probably be announced during the Quarto Centennial Celebration, which opens tomorrow. In securing this park to the city I have accomplished one of the chief ambitions of my administration and if I accomplish nothing more that will live, I believe something has been done for future generations worthy of the effort that I have made. To General Palmer is due the consummation of my ambition to secure a park for Colorado Springs that I predict will yet become as famous as is now the Garden of the Gods.

I have already written too much and have dealt in prosaic details. It is profitless to indulge in prophecy but I believe Colorado Springs will be a great city. My grandchildren or great grandchildren may know of this letter, and because of its crudeness (it has been penned hastily) and because their ancestor has done so little that is worthy, they may prefer to conceal their identity, or the fact that they are my descendants. Hoping that I may yet accomplish something that under God's blessing may add to the moral, intellectual, and physical well being of the future residents of this city, the residents of which have twice honored me by electing me its chief executive, I am with greetings to those yet unborn.

J. R. Robinson

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