This week in history Sept. 25, 1920: man killed in accident, teachers stranded on Bald Mountain |

This week in history Sept. 25, 1920: man killed in accident, teachers stranded on Bald Mountain

As reported in the Sept. 25, 1920 edition of The Summit County Journal: This machine, designed by Benjamin R. Stickney for the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, perforates postage stamps both lengthwise and crosswise after they've been printed and gummed. Stickney, who has been employed by the bureau for several years, received a handsome promotion for his work on this and a machine used to print the stamps. More than 300 tons of machinery in the bureau was designed and perfected by him.
Image from Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection

This week in history as reported by The Summit County Journal the week of Sept. 25, 1920.


Willard L. Sprague, an old-time resident of Breckenridge, met with a fatal accident at the Wellington Mines Company sawmill around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Mr. Sprague’s duties were to remove the slabs from the saw and pile them up in the yard. He had just carried away a slab and returned to the corner of the building. Witnesses at the inquest on Thursday stated that they saw him leaning on the corner of the sawmill and a minute later saw him caught in the idler over the drive belt. No one saw him fall, but it seems he must have lost his footing and his right arm got caught on the running belt and pulled under the pulley. The belt was almost entirely house in. At the point where he was caught was a small opening for oiling, but it was not thought to be large enough to catch anyone.

Mr. Sprague’s right arm was badly smashed, both jaw bones were broken and a bruise was evident on his head. He was taken from the belt, apparently alive but unconscious, and moved to the dry house at the mine entrance. He received first aid until Dr. Condon arrived. He never regained consciousness, and stopped breathing around 4 p.m.

Mr. Sprague was 61 years old and had been a Breckenridge resident for 35 years.


H. E. Green, the new superintendent of schools, his wife and misses Grace Spencer and Ethel Patton took the train to Boreas station forenoon Sunday and from there scaled Mount Baldy. They reached the summit between 4 and 5 p.m. Before the had proceeded far on the descent, a thunderstorm overtook them and they took shelter in an abandoned mine tunnel for more than two hours. By the time the rain stopped darkness was settling in.

Being utterly unfamiliar with the territory, the party tried to cut across the mountain to the railroad track. A search party left shortly on a rail-auto after midnight on Monday and found the wanderers near the long railroad trestle across Illinois gulch about 1.5 miles out of town. They were tired, numb with cold and the ladies’ shoes had practically dissolved in the moisture.

All came out of the ordeal without serious consequences and were able to resume their duties the next day. The practical lesson in mountain geography will prove valuable.


Dredges were originally designed to handle gulch placers. A recent feat has shown that may not always be the case.

Recently the dredge owned and operated by the Franch Gulch Dredging Company and managed by T. B. Thomas found the bedrock in the river bottom was very shallow and the values seemed to be better on the side hill. The problem was then to move the dredge up so it could be operated on the side hill and keep the water in the higher pond so the boat would float.

The efforts were made, and under the constant wrath of the superintendent, the feat was accomplished. Now a driver along the French Gulch road sees the dredge high on the side of the mountain, the river diverted to run into the pond and the dredge operating successfully on what was always considered high-bar placer not fit for dredging purposes.


  • Harry G. Jones, a veteran conductor on the South Park branch of the Colorado and Southern Railway, died at his home in Denver on Monday of appendicitis. Jones was know to practically all the residents along the line.
  • It seems some outsiders brought along a little “good time” of their own at the dance last Saturday at the Blue Valley hall. It’s reported that the potent drink was brought in by visitors from an outside county. The matter is being investigated in order to prevent such a knock-out quality of drink being brought into the valley in the future.
  • The snowstorm this morning no doubt stopped many travelers that would have gone to the Grand County Fair in Kremmling if the weather had been otherwise.

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