This week in history Oct. 1, 1921: Elks gather in Breckenridge, Loveland Pass adventures and fatal car accident

This picture of the Pan-American Building at Washington shows the beautiful structure ready for President Harding’s International Disarmament Conference, scheduled to start Nov. 11.
Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection/Courtesy photo

This week in history as reported by The Summit County Journal the week of Oct. 1, 1921:

Elks gathering in Breckenridge is a historic red-letter event

A special train from Leadville and numerous automobiles brought many members of the Elks Lodge to Breckenridge for a celebration that included parades, music and 17 members being added to Leadville Lodge No. 236.

The people and businessmen of Breckenridge all showed the spirit of the occasion. The town was very tastily decorated and practically all of the business houses joined in the event by decorating their places in the lodge Colorado of purple and white. Even Main Street was lit with strings of purple and white globes, and the county courthouse’s dome was covered with purple and white crepe and a string of about a hundred lights.

This was the first visit of the Leadville Elks Lodge to Breckenridge to hold a meeting.

W. T. Williams killed when car leaps into Blue River

Two members of the Leadville Elks Lodge No. 236 were speeding on their way to Breckenridge to take part in the organization’s festivities Tuesday night when a car accident occurred on Hoosier Pass that resulted in the death of W. T. Williams, a man who was held dear by all who knew him. It is reported to be the first fatal auto accident on a Summit County highway.

Williams was a railroad man on the South Park division of the Colorado & Southern Railroad for 23 years and a conductor on the passenger service through Breckenridge for the past 16 years. About at 6 p.m. Williams started out from Como to Breckenridge. He was driving a Stephens De Luxe alone to Alma, where he picked up Roscoe C. Soll, a brakeman and member of the Leadville Elks Lodge.

The men left Alma at about 8 p.m. and the accident occurred some time between 9 and 9:30 p.m. at the top of Carr Placer Hill. The road skirts a very steep slop and is very narrow, and the accident happened where the road makes a turn about the width of the highway. There is a little decline just before making the turn so that when driving at night the lights from the car are thrown upward, making it easy for one to misjudge the road and go over the bank.

Soll escaped with a bruise on the head and several on the body. He tried to extricate Williams but he went to get help when he realized he could not get him from under the car alone. Sheriff Detwiler and others eventually arrived and an examination by the doctors proved that he probably lived only a short time after the accident occurred.

The funeral was held at the Olinger Mortuary in Denver at 2:30 p.m. Saturday with the Denver Elks Lodge officiating.

Engineer, others take Loveland Pass trip

At the invitation of the Commercial Club of Red Cliff, a party of good road boosters made the trip from Red Cliff over the proposed road to Loveland Pass on Sunday, Sept. 18, returning the same day.

Among others, the party included W.A. Whitney, engineer in charge of the Battle Mountain projects and credited for construction of difficult road work. The party left Red Cliff at 5:30 a.m. on horseback, going up the Fleming lumber road 5 miles to Wearyman Creek. The party was then met at the mouth of the Tenmile by T.A. McDougal and Leon Ames with Studebaker and Ford cars and traveled for roughly nine miles into Dillon.

From there, the group made it within three miles of the top of Loveland Pass. McDougal said he could have gone to the top in his Ford if two bridges, one spanning 18 feet, were repaired.

Local news notes from all around Summit County

  • W. E. Heinrichs and family are visiting Swissvale, Pennyslvania, with relatives. They write that they expect to be in Pittsburgh soon.
  • A fishing party on Slate Creek last Sunday comprised L. G. Roberts, H. E. Green and O. T. Nats. They said they dodged the game wardens while coming home with their load of fish, and many of their friends enjoyed a fish breakfast Monday morning.
  • L. L. Squires, formerly of Soda Creek Ranch, but now a resident of Englewood, spent several days in town this week attending to matters in the county court. Squires says he and his family enjoy their new home, but still hold a warm spot in his heart for Summit County.
  • Mrs. Thomas Torkington left yesterday morning for a few days’ visit with her daughter Jennie in Denver.
  • Ernest L. Hartwell, formerly of Breckenridge, but now superintendent of the Yak tunnel in Leadville, joined with the Elks in their visit to Breckenridge last Tuesday. One night was not enough for him to renew old acquaintances, so he remained until Wednesday afternoon.


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