Museum opening hours: Museum Hours Wed 1-4 and Sat 10-2

66 Lower Glenway Street

Palmer Lake, Colorado 80133

Rocky Mountain News – September 23, 1891 – It Was a Success

Rocky Mountain News, September 23, 1891

It Was a Success

Monument, Colo., Sept. 21. “The Divide Potato Bake and Barbecue association” was organized in the autumn of 1889. The object of our organization was for the double purpose of advertising the splendid resources of this region and to have a fixed annual festival of and by the people of this locality, when they could invite the whole state to join with them in feasting and merry-making.

The two first attempts were conspicuous for being failures, as the elements forbid gathering outdoors. The date of the first festival was set for November 2, 1889. On the 31st day of October of that year came an unexpected and unusual snowstorm, and November 2 found the ground covered with a heavy white coat, and two passenger trains were blockaded in front of the town. The exhibition of 1890 met a similar tale to that of 1889.

This year the date for the festival was fixed for the 22nd day of September, being over a month earlier than heretofore and at a time when the potato crop is not fully matured. However this great staple is far enough advanced to show the marked superiority of the potato grown on this great divide.

A News representative arrived here last evening. Making a detour from the depot [he[ discovered a hundred yards west of the depot that pits had been dug in the earth, wood fires kindled therein, and roasting over the fire on rods prepared for the purpose were four oxen, five pigs and four muttons in charge of an elderly colored Virginian and his wife.

This morning the correspondent discovered that not far away for the pits a heap of sand and been prepared, in which the tons of potatoes were baked during the forenoon. A hundred yards south of the pits tables enclosing a large square had been erected from which to feed the expected multitudes. Adjoining the tables a patriotically decorated platform facing long rows of seats had also been prepared.

Between the platform and the tables numerous exhibition stands were placed, and at an early hour in the morning loaded wagons driven by the farmers of this locality began to arrive, and [soon] stands were weighed down with an agricultural display. The samples of oats, wheat, rye, barley, alfalfa, timothy, clover and other cultivated grasses were as good as it is possible to get them. Mr. Schwanbeck, a farmer of this place, called my attention to a bunch of oats seven feet high and with heavy heads, which had been raised without artificial irrigation. Besides the above there were great piles of potatoes, including many varieties. There were also beets, turnips, cabbage, cauliflowers, beans, and radishes.

At an early hour in the morning the farmers and their families began to arrive at this place. Many came in buggies, others in carriages, not a few came in spring wagons, and many crowded themselves into farmer wagons.

At 10 o’clock the trains from the north and south began to arrive, each one setting off good delegations from Denver, Castle, Rock, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Manitou and the small stations on the several roads. The last delegation arriving was the one from Denver, which brought in a special car Governor Routt and a party of state officials with their ladies.