Rockvale (Santa Fe) Depot

Santa Fe Depot

The above picture (above the guys at the Santa Fe Depot) is a view of the mine including the hoist, boiler house, tipple, and dump. In the center, the large building is the Santa Fe Depot. The smaller building is the Colorado Supply feed and grain building. In the background center is the Catholic Church, which is still in excellent condition. To the left of the church are the Tom Orecchio Saloon, the duplex type company houses, and the brick home of Tom Orecchio. In the left center are the Post Office and the company store with the folded awning. Only part of the W. H. May cabin is seen. In the old picture, on the left is the two story town hall and the John Kile Livery stable and the ice house.

The railroad tussles, the mine buildings, the company houses, and the depot were removed years ago. Only the foundation marks the site of the large coal mine for many years. After the closing of the mine, the town lost 50% of the houses, some by fire and others were moved to all parts of the county.

At its peak, Rockvale had a population of 1,500 people. The town had businesses such as the Colorado Supply Company store, Colonel May’s drug store acquired by Joseph Powell after Colonel May’s death, A. P. Easton’s general store, and Mazzetti general store and bakery. There were several candy stores and small notions stores; several barber shops, two livery stables (Kile’s and Goodhead’s), two churches (Methodist and Catholic), Agard’s blacksmith shop, 13 saloons, the Paradox newspaper, and a two-story town hall.

Joseph Powell Family

The first postmaster was Colonel May. Gertie, Joseph Powell’s daughter, who, at his death, succeeded him. Annabelle Dewhurst Swindon held the job of Rockvale postmistress for a number of years. The original post office building is still standing and posts mail daily. The new fire station has a small room used as a meeting place for the town board of trustees, and a clubroom.

Hazel Powell and her sister Gertie as Red Cross workers

 

Colonel May had one a sister living with him. Her name was Fanny, and according to papers found by Beverley Kissell Harris at the town hall. Fanny also donated land to the town of Rockvale. Greenwood Cemetery was Colonel May’s last resting place. There he joined other Fremont County pioneers.

Soon miners and out-of-town persons with money to invest built small houses and business buildings as rental property. One Canon City family named Bowen owned the two business houses adjacent to the post office. Charles Vezzetti bought them and rented one building to the Paradox Newspaper and the other one to Dom Ottino’s barbershop. Saloons occupied the remainder of the block to Savant’s small store. Rockafellow & Baker’s Emporium occupied the building on the other side of the post office. The Colorado Supply Company Store later occupied this.

Across the street was located the Colorado Supply Company’s meat market, Amos boarding house, several saloons, and Mrs. Doran’s Hotel. Opposite the hotel were Kile’s and Goodhead’s livery stables, the town hall, the firehouse, and Ed Agard’s blacksmith shop behind the stables.

Next door to the fire station and town hall was Jessup’s store. He soon moved to Florence and delivered to the coal camps with horse and wagon. Some years later in the same block were Ottino’s Barber Shop and Joe Bailey’s Barber Shop.

Extending down the street from the Big Hill was the two-story frame house belonging to Tom and Mary Payne. It was previously Dr. MacDonald’s home and office. Later Dr. & Mrs. Williamson occupied it but moved farther up the street toward the town reservoir. Next to the two-story house was a smaller frame building which for a time was Dr. Williamson’s office. Near this building was Champion’s Shoe Store which sold and repaired shoes. Adjacent to this was Mrs. Louis Camerlo’s store which sold candy and notions. Across from these and serving the railroad was the depot with the telegraph office.