Roller Skates for Christmas


What did families do for fun during bitter cold winters in 1880s Leadville, Colorado?
          Playing cards and board games at home was popular. There was also indoor roller skating at City Hall.
          An advertisement in the Leadville Daily Herald,  December 23, 1880, reminded everyone that City Hall was open Monday through Saturday for roller skating. Admission was 25 cents. Renting a pair of skates cost 25 cents in the afternoon and 50 cents in the evening.

For more roller skating history and great illustrations, visit Roller Skates in the House: America’s Scandalous Pastime

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Published in: on December 26, 2011 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Christmas 1880 in Leadville, Colorado

This ad appeared on the back page of the Leadville Daily Herald (Lake County, Colorado) on December 23, 1880. It probably lured many children to press their noses to the window of the Spaulding and Woodruff Store on Chestnut Street. Calling it the “Boss Toy Store,” the proprietors offered dolls, mechanical figures, walking men and talking dolls, trains, drums, skates, and wagons. 
For adults the store advertised gift items including Meerchaum pipes and cigar holders, moustache and fancy cups, Japanese cabinets, writing books, albums, velvet frames, fine cutlery, solid rosewood and silver maple guitars, Russian silk purses, and diaries for 1881.
          Other stores competed for holiday sales with ads in the same paper. Kline and Leopold, proprietors of The Chicago Novelty Store located across the street from the Tabor Opera House, captured the upper left corner of the front page. They announced the “largest line of holiday goods ever brought to Colorado, at Eastern prices.” This suggests great bargains. Although the railroad had come to Leadville, the cost of shipping goods from back East added to the cost of the items.
          F.W. Hurd and Company on Harrison Avenue–“Santa Claus Headquarters”–offered lots of toys plus fine stationery, paper weights, pocket books and ink stands.
          For Christmas dinner, Sailor & Sohl’s Market at 618 Harrison Avenue advertised fine buffalo calf, antelope and venison along with the more common ducks, geese, turkey, and chickens.
          The ladies of the Presbyterian church offered a holiday feast served in the basement of the new post office. They were preparing thirty turkeys to be served with cranberry sauce and jelly. This “good old-fashioned dinner…is calculated to tickle the palate of the epicure on Christmas Day.”
          On Christmas Eve the East Leadville Turnverein Society hosted a Grand Ball at Old Turner Hall. Attractions included “the largest Christmas Tree ever in Leadville (15 feet high) and abundant gifts for children.”

Taking the Census: Colorado Growth

The Census Bulletin, Issue 127, produced by the United States Census Office, October 21, 1891, offered analysis of Colorado’s growth from the 1880 to the 1890 census.
          The population of Colorado more than doubled in the ten years between census counts. From 194,327 people in 1880, the state grew 112% to 412,198 residents by 1890.
          In 1880, Denver was the largest city with 35,629 residents; Leadville was second with 14,820 people. By 1890, Denver had grown 199.5% to 106,713.  Pueblo had become the second largest town with 24,558, an increase of 663.38%. By contrast, Leadville’s population had dropped to 10,384 and Colorado Springs had slipped into third place with 11,140 residents.
          Only 29 towns had populations greater than 1,000 people in 1890. One new community of interest was established after the 1880 census. The mining town of Chipeta in Pitkin County had 266 residents by 1890.

Published in: on May 3, 2010 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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