This week in Summit County history: Disastrous fire sweeps Leadville |

This week in Summit County history: Disastrous fire sweeps Leadville

Compiled by the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance
Special to the Daily
Engine No. 9 at the top of Boreas Pass (date unknown) with its crew and passengers.
Courtesy Bob Schoppe and the Denver, South Park & Pacific Historical Society |

This week in history as reported by the Summit County Journal 100 years ago, the week of March 29 through April 1, 1916.


Half of one block on East Sixth street in Leadville was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning. Twelve buildings were burned and but for the heroic work of citizens and the dynamiting of several buildings, the flames probably would have spread over the entire east portion of the town. … From stores and dwellings in adjoining streets and blocks, household goods and merchandise stocks were removed, for it appeared for a time that a large section of the town was doomed. Reports went all over the United States that the entire city was in flames. Denver newspapers issued extra editions and Governor Carlson offered to send a special train from Denver with fire fighting equipment. Origin of the fire is unknown.


Charles Geisel dies of electric shock

Charles Geisel, better known as “Jersey,” for many years an employee of the Colorado Power company and well known in Summit and adjoining counties, received a fatal electric shock at 3 o’clock Wednesday afternoon. One hundred thousand volts passed through his body, despite which he lived 18 hours, dying Thursday morning shortly after 7 o’clock.

The accident occurred at the sub station, a mile and a half this side of Dillon and was a most unusual one. A new transformer had arrived at the station and Geisel was engaged in unwrapping it. He stood upon the transformer with some of the wrapping material in his hand and when he attempted to cast it from him, the current jumped from the main wires to the wrapping material. The tremendous force knocked him from the transformer, the fall causing a broken arm and various bruises, while the current burned the right hand and both feet in a frightful manner.


Change in dredge officers

H.J. Reiling, who has been manager of the French Gulch Dredging company, has retired from active management of that company to take up direction of a dredging enterprise in Wyoming near the line of Yellowstone park. It is understood that he will remain with the French Gulch company in an advisory capacity and that actual management of the company will be assumed by Warren Sears, formerly secretary and F.Z. Hunt, superintendent.


Circus rider pleads not guilty

Goldie Walters, former circus rider, who shot at her husband, Harry Walters, a cowpuncher, March 12, entered a plea of not guilty in the West Side Court in Denver. The information filed against her charged her with assault to kill.


Harold Richard Clements heir to millions

Harold Richard Clements, 19 years old, son of Harry Curtis Clements, formerly of Denver, is heir to an estimate of $3,000,000, according to an Associated Press dispatch from Seattle. Young Clements is employed in a Seattle department store.

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