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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Pueblo

 

The city on the river, built around neighborhoods, of stink and stench of a steel mill.  At one time Pueblo was referred to as the Pittsburgh of the west.  Back in the day, the mill stench shrouded the city.  It was money for the mill workers.  Nearby were the coal mines and these two things attracted just about any ethnic group one can think of. The town reflects it, the different neighborhoods have names to reflect the part of Europe they immigrated from. 

Then the environmental laws were spawned and the steel mill died.   It was resurrected later as an electric fired mill.  No longer were the coal and coke trains rumbling into to town.  Now the coal rolled on past to the electric generating plant. The town had all but rolled up the sidewalks and ghosts were floating along the riverbanks. 

No longer did Pueblo rival Denver.  It was a shell and there were death notices being posted.  Some people got up off the mat and began looking to get business to relocate to Pueblo.  A slow process, but yhe dead city is showing some life.  The steel mill is working but not at its once grandeur. 

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The neighborhoods have been spruced up and new businesses are in the once abandoned buildings. 

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They diverted some water from the river and created a riverwalk of a few blocks.  Lofts and condos were built and some new life showed up in the middle of the dirty closed down parts. 

 

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They have events throughout the year and a small convention complex is near by.  Yet Pueblo has no significant tourist attractions.  The mountains are way over there, to the west. 

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In the 20’s the river flooded, literally washing the city away.  A dam was built up stream and the river was channeled.  They had some locals paint murals on the channel walls in hopes of keeping the taggers off of them.   it was fairly successful. 

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Because of the steel mill, Pueblo became a railroad town.  At one time there were about a dozen railroads going through town or terminating there.  Today there are two.  Along the river bottom the tracks stretch along. 

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The city also had a dubious distinction.  The sate’s mafia types were headquartered in the steel city of the west.  Even today the gangs are a problem.  Shootings are not unusual. 

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In and out of the city the transients move.  Looking for the next high, next fix, next job and occasionally they get caught.

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Life pauses, then moves on.  For the seedy side of life, I still enjoy the occasional visit to Pueblo.  Here I can visit the rusty east and not drive far.  There is a charm of the neighborhoods.  Their corner taverns, shops and stores. 

Yet it is a city propped up on taxes and some day that house of cards may collapse and they will be back like they were when the steel collapsed. 

1 comment:

  1. As always your words paint a picture that goes nicely with your pictures John, thank you for the tour!

    ReplyDelete