The Waycott Opera House of Colorado City

The Waycott Building was built in 1901 at the corner of 5th and Colorado, two blocks north of the Colorado Midland Railway Depot.

Its first occupants were the First National Bank, Stewart & Tiger Bicycles in the basement, and the Waycott Opera House on the second floor. The third floor, billed as “the best dance floor in the state,” was the W. O. W. Hall.

The W. O. W. Hall was named for The Woodmen of the World, a popular lodge of the time. Among the other secret societies which shared this meeting place were:

Brotherhood of American Yeomen -mondays
Ute Council, Daughters of Pocahontas -mondays
Improved Order of Red Men, Ute Tribe #1 -tuesdays
Lady’s Auxillary, O. R. F., -tuesdays
Independent Order of Oddfellows #77 -wednesdays
Independent Order of Oddfellows, Naomi Lodge #50, Daughters of Rebekah -thursdays
Women of Woodcraft, Lodge #652
Woodmen of the World, Pacific Jurisdiction, Colorado City Camp #485 -fri-sat evenings
Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, Pikes Peak Lodge #218 -saturday afternoons

After the Great War the third floor was vacant until 1926 when it reopened as ROBY HALL. The records conflict, but interviews recorded in 1978 suggest that the Ku Klux Klan Auxiliary held clandestine meetings there through the thirties.

As WWII began the third floor became MAX HALL and hosted the People’s Bible School and the I. M. Assoc. Gospel Hall. In 1949 the West End Furniture Co. appropriated the space as a supplemental display room. Since the eighties the third floor has served as work or studio space.

Other prominent tenants of the Waycott Building included MACK’S CATERING AND CONFECTIONARY, whose “The Cream of Merit” signs still adorn the east and west walls. J. J. McCorkell started Mack’s in ’07 and two years later took over management of the second floor stage, renaming it MACK’S OPERA HALL.

The IDLE HOUR THEATRE is said to have hosted Vaudeville acts. The advent of motion pictures brought the GEM THEATRE in ’17 and the ISIS THEATRE in ’24.

The popular eatery and bar MEADOW MUFFINS has occupied the lower floors since 1980.

The Waycott Building’s street address at 431 Colorado changed to 2432 West Colorado in 1917. Fifth Street became 25th Street as Colorado City was absorbed into the City of Colorado Springs. Once a prominant thoroughfare, 25th Street was finally bypassed and truncated by Highway 24.

Colorado City commerce languished for decades as trolleys no longer ran along Colorado Avenue, the railroad lines closed, and locals and visitors alike travelled Highway 24 to Manitou and Ute Pass. Narrowly escaping demolition, the old buildings that comprised the one time capital of the Colorado Territories were renovated to form the Old Colorado City Historic District.

Reprinted from Old Colo History.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

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