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The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC) team recently added two new publications — Camp and Plant,1901-1904, and The Cycling West, 1893-1899. While both are not technically newspapers, they are publications that we feel offer important insight into the past as well as key genealogical details.
Camp and Plant
The Camp and Plant, published weekly, by the Sociological Department of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I), was “devoted to the news of the Mines and Mills.” CF&I was a coal and steel company based in Denver as well as Pueblo where most of the operations took place. At the time of the publication of its first issue in December 1901 the company had 38 camps in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico that employed roughly 15,000 men.
In an effort to build a better, more loyal workforce, CF&I worked to meet most of the basic and secondary needs of its employees and their families. The families lived in company houses, shopped at the company owned store, were educated in company-dominated schools, and were treated by company doctors. The main purpose of the Camp and Plant was to share information between the camps. But it also served as a marketing tool for the company and promoted the Sociological Department’s other work and offerings including cooking classes, social and musical clubs, schools and libraries. Articles were at times printed in German, Italian and Spanish to meet the needs of the largely immigrant population.
The Camp and Plant not only informed its readers about the work of the mines and camps but it also educated them on emergency medical treatment, hygiene and “Domestic Science.” Maybe most importantly for those researching their ancestors, the publication reported on job changes, a person’s injury and recovery, camp celebrations and visitors, sporting events, and births and deaths.
The addition of the Camp and Plant to CHNC allows users to search this publication as well as related publications in one convenient keyword search. The CHNC has numerous Pueblo newspapers including the Bessemer Indicator and issues under its later name The Indicator. Founded in 1880, Bessemer, Colorado was the company town of the Colorado Coal and Iron Company, later named CF&I. Pueblo absorbed Bessemer in 1906. Many CF&I employees were immigrants and aspects of their lives were recorded in the many Pueblo County foreign language newspapers also included in CHNC.
The Cycling West
From leisurely rides on our miles of bike paths to the Leadville 100 mountain bike race, cycling has long been a passionate pastime for many in Colorado. The bicycling craze for the ordinary US citizen took off in the late 19th century. The demand for bicycles was clear and soon major manufactures, like Pope and Overman, sprung up throughout the county and hundreds of dealers and repair shops opened for business. New types of bicycles were developed and the design of components, like handlebars and saddles, were constantly being tweaked. Clubs were formed and national races were promoted. Cyclists even lobbied their state legislature for better roads and free cargo passage for bicycles on the rails.
The Cycling West, with offices in Denver and San Francisco, was a voice for the cycling industry and its advocates. As the name suggests, this publication mostly reported on cycling related events and concerns in the western states including Colorado, Texas, and California. The weekly publication included news about the latest races, including distance and velodrome races; cycling club events and cycle shows. It faithfully recorded the closing and opening and sometimes net worth, of retailers throughout the US as well as the different models of bikes they sold. Champions of the sport of cycling were enthusiastically reported on by the publication.
Since the publication of the The Cycling West, the cycling industry has gone through many ups and downs. But what we presently experience with the sport of cycling in Colorado and the rest of the US is surprisingly not new— bikes are constantly being improved, we want to know the story of our best riders, we want our roads to be safe, we want an alternative mode of transportation and most of all we love our bikes.
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