Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Salida - Colorado State Capital?

Five years after Colorado became a state, the voters chose a state capital on November 7, 1881. The cities listed on the ballot were Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Canon City and Salida. Salida Mail editor, J.M. Moore, touted Salida as the geographic center of Colorado and the Railroad center.

Denver won the vote for state capital. In the Salida voting precinct, Salida received 227 votes, Denver, 5, and Colorado Springs, 1. (Salida Mail, November 12, 1881). The votes of Chaffee County, however, showed a different leaning: Denver-388, Colorado Springs-43, Pueblo-73, Canon City-53, and Salida-112. (Leadville Daily Herald, November 9, 1881) I'm not sure what is up with the discrepancy in votes for Salida - were the Salida votes not counted in the Chaffee County count? However, another short clip in the Herald (Nov. 9) said that although there were 300 registered voters in Salida, only 150 votes were cast. Hmmm.

Following the election, O.H. Rothaker of the Denver Tribune wrote: "Pueblo will become a city of manufacturers, and Colorado Springs will continue a city of homes, in spite of the vote on the capital; and Canon City will ever be recognized as the place which above all others, has the mildest winter climate for invalids in Colorado."

The Colorado Springs Republic noticed the absence of Salida in the list and wrote, "No, there is poor Salida, she is sligh[t]ed. Cannot Bro. Rothacker pour a little oil into her wounds?"

To which J.M. Moore fired back on November 19, "Salida responds by saying she don't require the oil. She don't need the State capital in her business. If she had needed it she would have got there."

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