To the citizens of Colorado Springs, Colorado in the year A.D. 2001
Having been engaged in buying and selling hardware and building materials in Colorado Springs, continuously, during the past twenty-eight years, and knowing of the many great improvements, during that time, in methods of manufacturing and marketing such goods- whereby services have been very greatly reduced, and presuming that such improvement will continue and that prices will still further decline, and that a comparison of to-days prices with prices one hundred years hence will be of interest to you. I have concluded to name some of to-days prices.
I hope that the skill and industry of American artisans shall have continued in the same ratio of improvement up to your time. That has been shown during my few years experience.
I take pride in noting the rapid advancement made during the past forty years and have to say that at the time my hardware apprenticeship began. Viz. about the year 1862 - nearly all mechanics tools - nearly all wood screws - nearly all pad locks - nearly all files - all tin plates - all rail road rails - nearly all the better grades of merchant bar iron - as well as a large proportion - much more than one half the shelf hardware was of foreign manufacture.
This condition has been gradually changing until today, besides supply in our own country with iron and steel - and all the various articles manufactured therefrom. And in quality, styles and shapes far superior to foreign competitors in their home markets and in their own colonies.
This year - 1901 - finds the United States of America for the first time in its history the acknowledged leader in the iron and steel industry of the world and controlling the worlds markets in these lines.
Before you read this letter, these facts will long since have become history and as such will have known them. You certainly will appreciate the pride I have in my country and its achievements - commercially and otherwise during my business experience.
I can but think that the same wisdom and patriotism which has enabled the American people to gain their present enviable positions among the nations of the earth will continue to actuate them and that the century during which this letter is awaiting its opening will show as rapid and substantial advancement during the time as the past forty years have developed.
Our present prices for material are as follows:
Common - New Mexico - Surfaced one side and one edge - No. 1 per 70 feet $20.00
Same- "2 "" $17.50
Oregon Cedar Shingles per 70 $3.00
#1 Redwood "" $3.00
#2 "" " $2.75
#1 New Mexico Lath "" $5.00
Clear Flooring per 70 feet $30.00
"" Quarter sawed "" $36.00
Common "" $24.00
Clear Siding "" $20.00
#2 "" $22.00
Finishing lumber 1", 1'/4", 1'/2", 2" "" $30 to $65.00
Common per 70 $7.00
Pressed - Colorado make " $20.00
" St. Louis "" $27.50
Fire Brick " $40.00
20d to 60d per Keg 100 lts $3.50
Smaller sizes advance 5 cents to 45 cents per Keg according to size
Merchant Bar Iron
Flat. 3/8 X 1'/2 to 1 X 4 per 100 lts $3.00
Round 7/8 to 17/8 "" $3.00
¾ "" $3.10
5/8 "" 3.20
½ "" 3.40
3/8 "" 3.60
5/16 "" 4.00
¼ "" 4.60
#27 Gauge- per lt 4 ¼ cents
24 "" 4.10
22 "" 4.00
20 "" 3 9/10
Galvanized Sheet Iron
#27 Gauge per lt 6 cents
24 "" 5 ½ cents
22 "" 5 ¼ cents
20 "" 5 ¼ cents
Woods Plavished Sheet Iron "" 9 ½ cents
Roofing Thin Plate
Size 20X28 - 112 sheets per box - $12.00
Tool Steel - Octagon - Square - Round per lts 6 ½ cents
These are all leading articles in the line and will serve to illustrate to-days markets.
I am very truly yours,
James Pierce Barnes
Colorado Springs, Colorado. August 20, 1901
To my dear Grand-daughters Katherine Frost-Barnes and Emily Jane Powell
In accordance with the significance of this historical event I address these lines to the posterity of my great Grand-daughters - who were born and are now living - in their infancy - under the shadow of the Rocky Mountains - all the food - of Pikes Peak.
Being descendants from John Alden and Priscilla - of the May flower fame - to my Grand-father Stephen Pierce - who was born in Little Compton, Rhode Island and was a soldier during the revolution - and also his Grand Son - James Oscar Pierce - who was born in the state of New York - and served his country through the war of the Great-Rebellion - giving our ancestors a historical second worthy of preservation - through future generations - and its commemoration.
The writer - Grand-daughter of Stephen Pierce - was born - and passed the years of childhood in Central New York.
During that time the Eric Canal and the New York Central Rail Road were completed across the state - and were then the only extensive thoroughfares.
All of that - part of the country was of the Mississippi River was thus a barren desert and considered unworthy of cultivation. -
Passing over - "three score years and ten" of life many changes are noted -
By the advance of civilization - the wilderness is budding and blossoming - the line of Rail Road extending into states ad territories brings the far west - into prominence - so that a way is opened for its continuation through the line of future generations.
Colorado is celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of its statehood. With its vast resources it promises much for coming centuries - Maria Eliza Pierce Barnes
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