November 29, 2015

Finding the Granite House where Soapy Smith stayed.

Central City, Colorado

Bad man Soapy Smith was in Leadville, Colorado in July 1880. He had his picture taken, with ex-President U. Grant in the background, and fifteen days later he was sixty miles away, checking into the Granite Hotel in Central City on August 7. In the ledger he wrote that he was a resident of Atlanta, Georgia. There are no records of what Soapy was doing in Central City, but there is little doubt that he was swindling dupes of their ready cash utilizing the prize package soap sell racket.

Below is a stereoview card I had purchased for my Soapy collection. I posted about it on Facebook, including the photo below, with the yellow line marking what I thought was the Granite House. It turned out to be the Masons Lodge. Good friend, Colorado-based historian Paul Marquez, knew that the building I was pointing to was the Mason's Lodge, and he thought that I must be pointing to the building to the right of the Lodge. He posted some great photographs of that building as it looks today (a modern casino). I was very surprised to see that the building and those around it were still standing! Years ago I had contacted the Central City Historical Society and the person I spoke with had me believing that the Granite House building no longer existed. Immediately seeing that the Mason's Lodge was still standing, but not the Granite House, I logged onto Yahoo "street view images" to do a little touring around Central City. I was still under the impression that the Granite House structure was gone, so I hoped to at least find the location and see what I could learn.

Stereoview card, Central City, Colorado
Yellow line points to the Mason's Lodge
The Granite House is five buildings to the far right.
Jeff Smith collection
(Click photo to enlarge)

"I toured the street, hoping that perhaps some of the surrounding buildings were still standing. Not only did I find all of the buildings still standing, but the Granite Hotel, at 110 Lawrence Street, as well!"

The Granite House
As it looks today
 (Click photo to enlarge)

Central City
The Granite House is seen on the middle right
circa 1920s
(Click photo to enlarge)

Central City
The Granite House is seen on the lower rightcirca 1940s
(Click photo to enlarge)

Central City as it looks today
The Granite House is seen on the lower right
(Click Photo to enlarge)

Central City, Colorado: pages 34-35, 37, 57.
Granite House: page 37.

"He was a character the like of which will probably never be seen again in the history of the country. He left a few friends who will regret his death, but the majority of people who knew him were relieved when they heard that he had been killed. The evil which he did will live a long time after him, and his bunco record will be a monument which will last all ages. "
Rocky Mountain News
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 582.

November 29

1864: The Sand Creek Massacre occurs in Colorado when the 3rd Colorado Cavalry led by Colonel John Chivington, kills at least 400 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, who had surrendered and had been given permission to camp where they were.
1872: Horace Greeley, founder of the New York Tribune, dies. In May of 1872 Greeley was nominated for President but lost at the polls to Ulysses S. Grant. He is most famous for his phrase, “Go west young man.”
1872: A Modoc Indian, called Captain Jack, was a leader in the Modoc War in Oregon Territory, 1872-73. T. B. Odeneal, with forty soldiers, tracked the Indians to Lost River with the intent of disarming them. A fight ensued and several troopers and Indians were shot and killed.
1874: During the Red River War, Captain Charles Hartwell and detachments of Companies C, H, K, and I, 8th Infantry attack a Cheyenne Indian camp on the Canadian River. Two Indians are killed and two wounded.
1877: Captain Samuel Young and Companies A and K, 8th Cavalry; Company C, 10th Cavalry; with a detachment of Seminole-Negro scouts, were on a scout into Mexico when they attack a camp of Mescalero Apache Indians. Two Indians are killed, Lieutenant Frederick Phelps is wounded, as are three Indians. Thirty horses are captured.
1879: famed gambler, lawman, Wyatt Earp arrives in Tombstone, Arizona Territory.
1881: Legal hearings in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, regarding the gunfight behind the O.K. Corral end. In another matter a grand jury indicts Billy “the Kid” Claiborne for murder.
1881: Before joining the Soapy Smith Gang, gunman Joe Palmer is arrested for robbing a telegraph operator at gunpoint for “only a few dollars.”
1886: The first Kansas, Pacific and Western Railroad train arrives in Pratt, Kansas.
1890: Navy defeats Army by a score of 24-0 in the first Army-Navy football game, played at West Point, New York.
1892: A patent is issued to Almon Strowger for the rotary dial.
1892: Wild Bunch outlaw member Harry “The Sundance Kid” Lonabaugh, Bill Madden and Harry Bass rob the Great Northern Railway near Malta, Montana. They found $64, mostly in checks and then make a toast to the crew before leaving.
1892: Bank robber Oliver “Ol” Yantis, a member of the infamous Doolin Dalton Gang, is shot and fatally wounded by lawman Tom Hueston. Hueston, accompanied by Chris Madsen and Heck Thomas, tried to apprehend Yantis in Orlando, Oklahoma Territory, at his sister's farm, but Yantis would not give up without a fight. Yantis walked out, and as he acted as if he was putting his hands up, he drew a revolver and fired on the officers, who both returned fire, hitting Yantis in the leg and stomach. The lawmen took him to a hotel in Orlando, where he died the next day. Yantis is the first of the Doolin Dalton gang members to fall. Hueston would later be killed during another shootout with the Doolin Dalton gang members in Ingalls, Oklahoma, during the Battle of Ingalls. It is believed that Soapy Smith’s wife Mary was a cousin of the outlaw Dalton’s.
1977: Jefferson J. Smith a grandson of bad man Soapy Smith passes away.

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