October 18, 2009

Soapy Smith political cartoons #1

(Click image to enlarge)
Rocky Mountain News
October 31, 1892

The history of the Denver Tramway Company is one of monopoly and political corruption. The political cartoon above was published on the front page of the Rocky Mountain News, October 31, 1892 and shows a roll call being taken inside Denver City Hall by W. G. Evans of the tramway. A framed picture on the wall shows the tramway building and reads "GOD BLESS OUR HOME." Inside the bellowing cloud of the smoke stack it reads "WE WANT THE EARTH." Above a doorway reads BOODLE HALL, the newspapers nickname for city hall, boodle being a bribe or other illicit payment, normally to or from a politician; graft. Soapy Smith is the second from the left of a line-up of key city businessmen, politicians and gangsters. Soapy's partner in the Tivoli Club, "Big Ed" Chase is fourth from the left side in the line-up. The others play key rolls in Denver's corruption that allowed Soapy's criminal empire to prosper. Their activities are covered in my book.


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