E1: MURDERED! The Life and Bloody Times of Baxter Stingley
Baxter Stingley was one of Colorado’s most memorable law enforcement officers.
His legacy includes heroic shootouts bloodier and most exciting than any Hollywood movie. And the way he helped transform a dusty frontier camp to one of the most modern cities in the west can’t be denied. The man planted trees in a sage desert, stood toe-to-toe with some of the toughest men in the west, and he made Salida a place that hardcore criminals avoided. By any definition, the man was a hero.
But Baxter Stingley’s story also has a dark side, one that includes friendships with criminals, a failed political career, and participation in a vigilante gang that murdered settlers in the Arkansas Valley.
(00:12:20) The Mountain Mail, 1883 article about Deputy Bathurst's murder and Baxter Stingley wounding. Read the article, Read the article Murder Most Foul on page 3. Also on page 3 is the coroner's inquest.
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E2: PARTNERS! The Triumphs and Tragedies of Elias Webb & Edward Corbin
You’ve probably never heard the names Elias Webb and Edward Corbin, but their legacy still resonates in Colorado even though both men died over 120 years ago.
Webb and Corbin had a hand in nearly everything modern in the mountain town of Salida. They constructed iconic buildings that still stand. And the men helped establish a building & loan, church, private school, and a top-notch fire department. You can trace much of the city’s attitude of selfless community service and even the first use of electricity to Elias Webb and Edward Corbin.
Entrepreneurs, leaders, and builders, politically active and civic-minded, Webb and Corbin freely gave their time and money. Salida’s current citizens owe a debt of gratitude to these partners, almost certainly, without even being aware.
Yet, their friendship, a brotherhood, actually, ended decades too soon because of tragedy, leaving only one question: What would have been their impact on Colorado if both men lived out their natural lives?
Elias Webb photograph From the Salida Regional Library archives, Webb as a Mason.
Salida Hose Company No. 1 Photographs and newspaper articles from The Mountain Mail, 1880-1881.
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E3: LYNCHED! The Vicious Public Murder of Oliver Briley
In 1891, Salida, Colorado, is one of the most modern cities in the west. There is electricity, numerous multi-story buildings, a thriving economy, and the town is the center of the statewide railroad activity. Salida is the epitome of bootstrapping American success.
But under the surface is a not-so-secret truth—the people are among the most brutal in the mining region. The majority are rough-and-tumble railroad men who regularly settle differences with fists and knives and guns. And ropes.
Oliver Briley is a newcomer, working in the rail yard. Not understanding the difference between Salida’s surface beauty and the underlying violence leads to him pay the ultimate price.
E4: SCAMMER! The Amazing Rise and Devastating Fall of Wilbur Foshay
Before there was a Bernie Madoff, who conned hundreds of millions of dollars out of unsuspecting investors, there was Wilbur Foshay.
He was a dreamer and a doer who made a fortune in the utility industry while living in Minnesota. Unfortunately, his riches were the result of a pyramid scheme and when the scam collapsed, countless lives were ruined, and Foshay ended up in federal prison.
Wilbur Foshay began his path to redemption in Colorado, leaving a mark that is still visible on the mountain overlooking the town of Salida and is even part of the city marketing slogan.
E5: BATTLE! The Royal Gorge Railroad War
The 1800s were not only a time of conflict between individuals, but businesses also fought. Sometimes literally.
Led by a couple of hard-charging, unforgiving men, William Jackson Palmer and William Barstow Strong, two railroad companies repeatedly butted heads over territory in Colorado. The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad and the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Railroad clashed numerous times before a final conflict in 1879, a contest that shaped not only the State but the entire West.
The battle was over land near Canon City, Colorado, and involved hundreds of men, including Sheriff Bat Masterson of Dodge, City Kansas, Doc Holliday, over 60 hired gunmen and a competing force of 200. Forts were built, sabotage was frequent, and blood was shed—all over the direction of a new railroad line.
E6: ASSASSINATION! The Murder of Judge Elias F. Dyer (Lake County War)
By any measure, life on the frontier was full of danger in the 1800s. Violence usually won over reason, and those willing to kill often imposed their desires on the masses.
In 1875, in what was then Lake County Colorado, now known as Chaffee County, a war between newcomers and long-time locals exposed the lengths to which ranchers would go to protect their land and ensure the future would be written by them.
Historians refer to this story as one of the most vicious crimes in the annals of history. We’re talking about the murder of a sitting judge, Elias F. Dyer. The identity of the killer or killers was a public secret that has never been shared.
E7: HUMBUG! The Betrayals, Conflicts, and Struggles of Establishing Denver, Colorado
If you have spent time in Denver, Colorado, you may have heard the names Larimer, Wynkoop, and Stout, but you probably do not know why the surnames are honored.
Today, Denver is a thriving metropolitan city, the newest destination of tech companies, California transplants, and a place of noticeable wealth. But in the 1850s, it was a grassland, occupied only by Native Americans and virtually unknown to citizens of the United States.
Gold, rather the hopes for gold, changed all of that, bringing in tens of thousands of prospectors, land speculators, and those seeking to escape law and order. From that complicated stew, a city emerged at the base of the Rocky Mountains.