Colorado History and Genealogy Project





Miners and Mechanics Institute, Central Colorado ~  1870

In the winter of 1866, the leading citizens of Central concluded, in view of the rapid growth of their city, to organize, is possible a public library and literary institute. The want of such an institution was felt keenly by the intelligent portion of the community and the initial movement, which has already brought about most favorable results, received the prompt support of all classes.

The first systemized action in the matter was taken at a public meeting, convened by a general all in the newspapers of the day, which was held on the 13th day of December 1866. The attendance at this first meeting for the public discussion of the advantages of a public library and the adoption of proper measures to speedily secure the desired object, was large and a lively interest in the matter was manifested by all present. The following well known gentlemen were called upon to act as officers of this gathering:

Present, H. B. Morse; Vice-Presents, L. C. Tooles, A. J. Vanderen, Charles W. Mather, George T. Clark, Secretary Frank C. Young.

The matter under consideration was discussed generally, and a copy of resolutions, urging the necessity of immediately organizing and liberally sustaining a public library, was submitted by W. R. Thomas. These were suitably amended and adopted. It was further resolved that a committee of seven be appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws, to be submitted to a subsequent meeting, which was to take place one week from that date. At the time specified, December 20, 1866, the friends of the organization again assembled, with H. B. Morse in the chair. The committee on constitution and by-laws reported, they believed, that to effect a regular organization, the granting of a charter was the first object to be accomplished; and, that in view of this, they had drawn up a petition to be submitted to the Territorial legislature, then in session. This petition was read before the meeting, and became the subject of spirited debate. Certain portions of it were extremely objectionable, and on motion of George T. Clarke, the committee was instructed to present a revised report of the proceedings at the next meeting. This was done; the charter was obtained; constitution and by-laws adopted, and the following gentlemen elected as first officers of the Miners and Mechanics Institute, at a meeting held in Washington Hall, January 21, 1867:

President, G. P. Buchanan;
Vice-President, S. P. Lathrop;
Secretary, Frank C. Young;
Treasurer, J. H. Goodspeed;
Librarian, C. E. Sherman.

This brief history of the initial steps in the organization of the institute conveys but a poor idea of the magnitude and importance of the work accomplished by the sturdy friends of science and literature, who have been active members of this association. But a visit to the institute to-day, and an examination of its shelves, laden with nearly 1,000 volumes of carefully selected and well bound works on art, science and literature (besides numerous monthly journals, and weekly and daily periodicals), and its rare and costly cabinets of ores, minerals, fossils, petrifactions and specimens of the precious metals, will give even the casual observer abundant evidence of the earnest and effective manner in which the live members of this association have conducted their arduous labors.

The charge of the affairs of the institute has always been entrusted to officers chosen from among our most intelligent and energetic citizens. In looking over the records, we find that James Burrell, Samuel Cushman, Hugh Butler, George T. Clark, A. J. Vanderen, Charles E. Sherman, and many others of Central's prominent citizens, have been especially active in promoting its welfare. Such efficient aid ensures success. As an assurance to the friends of the institute that its affairs are still under the control of suitable officers, we append the names of those elected at a meeting; held on the second Monday in October, at the rooms of the institute, in Odd Fellows building, Lawrence Street:

President, Samuel Cushman;
Vice-President, Thomas J. Campbell;
Secretary and Librarian, E. E. Burlingame;
Treasurer, T. H. Potter.

Rocky Mountain Directory & Colorado Gazetteer

Source: Rocky Mountain Directory and Colorado Gazetteer, 1871, S. S. Wallihan & Company, Compilers and Publishers, Denver, 1870.


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