In 1892, all of the interest in getting to Cripple Creek was at Florissant. Lots of adventures happened there. Thee following disappointing adventure brought up the sheriff from Colorado Springs, as there was no Teller County yet.

Two freight cars filled with goods consigned to A. Shilling & Co. and the Florissant Clothing Co. were broken into while en route from the east. The items had value of six or seven hundred dollars.

The loss was discovered one morning, when the doors of the cars were opened at the Midland station to prepare for unloading and hauling the goods to the businesses in Florissant. The cars, that had come all the way from Kansas City, had arrived during the night on the Leadville-bound freight run.

Numerous wooden boxes and barrels were found broken open and their contents strewn over the over the floors in careless confusion. Items included clothing, boots and shoes, lace and numerous items of household use. The owners of both firms sent over people to identify the orders, as the items were mixed up indiscriminately.

The Florissant Clothing Co. was probably the heaviest loser, not only in the amount of goods taken, but from the manner in which the thieves picked them out. They evidently did not care to have one suit of clothes as they took a coat of this, a vest of that and pants from some other suit. This made the loss greater, as it was impossible to tell the exact amount of loss.

Mr. Fitch, the station agent of the Colorado Midland at this point, told a reporter that the cars were sealed when they arrived at the yards, and remained so until the cars were opened and the robbery discovered. He was sure that the cars had been opened some time before they arrived in Colorado City. “The loss of the goods will have to be borne by the railroad companies over whose lines the goods were shipped.” He added that “It is hardly probable that the gentlemen who coveted and carried away their neighbor’s goods will ever be captured, as, let alone the possibility of a clue to their whereabouts, there seems to be no way to fix the scene of burglarious action.”

Curiously, a car loaded with intoxicants consigned for Florissant escaped being broken into.

E.M. “Mel” McFarland is an artist, historian and railroad enthusiast. He is a Pikes Peak region native and has written a handful of books and guides highlighting the area’s rich history. Contact Mel at mcmidland@yahoo.com.

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