Rocky Mountain News, October 11, 1890
Monument had her potato bake, and it was a howling success. For more than a year the event has been discussed. A year ago the bake was all arranged, but the weather played havoc with all expectations by sending two feet of snow, and the dose was repeated every twenty-four hours for nearly two weeks. Perhaps no section in the state has more beautiful autumn weather than the divide, but when its people saw the black clouds gather this morning and a cold, dense fog sweep over the mountains, everyone was ready to swear that Mr. Greeley and his corps of able assistants were dismal failures. [But] the fog soon disappeared and the clouds gave way to balmy sunshine.
The people began to arrive early in the morning and continued to come in a steady stream until noon. The streets were lined with vehicles, and by 10 o’clock the trains commenced to arrive. The event was a decided novelty, which of itself was a drawing card. The out-of-town visitors were given a cordial welcome when they alighted from the trains, and the Mount Herman band discoursed pleasing music.
The arrangements were most complete. Just west of the town on a rolling tract of ground the famous bake occurred. A large platform had been erected in front of which were arranged seats for the multitude. The stands were decorated with bunting, and from a mast floated the stars and stripes. The most attractive feature was a huge pyramid constructed from the farming products of the divide. Around its base were clustered sacks of potatoes, while the four sides were covered with them. Surmounting these were arranged shears of wheat, oats, barley, millet, timothy and all varieties of cereals, and nestling between them were huge ears of corn, turnips and pumpkins.
In the rear of the seats were tables loaded down with more displays of barn products as well as vegetables and fruit. Only a few yards distant from these were the pits in which the meats were roasted and the potatoes baked. It was noon when Col. O.P. Jackson mounted the speaker’s stand and delivered the address of welcome. [Remarks omitted. Other speakers were Frank Sabin of Colorado Springs and M.M. Baldwin of Woodland Park.]
Dinner was then announced, and the people turned their attention to barbecued meats and baked potatoes. Beef, mutton, veal and pigs were roasted to perfection. The tables were arranged in the shape of a square and were loaded down with good things to eat. The feast concluded at two o’clock, and the people scattered about the grounds for an hour, and then Rev. Dr. Kieffer of Colorado Springs delivered a happy address. A game of baseball followed between the Monuments and a picked nine, which resulted in a victory for the former. Editor Herrick of the Rocky Ford Enterprise umpired the entire game.
The people of the divide and of Monument especially have cause to feel proud of the success which attended their efforts in giving the first potato bake. The country is noted for its wonderful production of potatoes. Just twenty-eight years ago in 1862, John Russell, one of the early settlers of the divide, turned the first furrow of the virgin soil near Table Rock. He spent almost half his small fortune to procuring enough seed to plant fourteen acres in potatoes. No rain fell in the early part of the season.