Skip to content

Search the site

photos of two men, one dressed as an officer with sword and pistol, one as a World War I soldier
Two photos from the Golden History Museum collection – Left, George West, Civil War, and Right, Sam Baker, World War I


107 Years Ago
The May 31, 1917 Colorado Transcript captured Golden at a turning point. The members of the pioneer era were fast dying out, and the 20th century was coming on with a vengeance: on April 6 of that year, President Wilson had asked Congress to commit America to “a war to end all wars” (World War I).

The issue included an article about how Memorial Day had been observed by the remaining veterans of the Civil War (“With thinned ranks and stepping a little more feebly than last year, the few veterans remaining of the once proud company…”). That article ended with bracing talk of the next war, praising the patriotic young men who had signed up to serve.

Patriotic or not, the men who had not signed up might still be drafted. The town was planning a parade for Registration Day, when every man in the county between 18 and 30 would be required to register. There were already 300 recruits in town, ready to begin training.

In the meantime, the local bank bought a large advertisement, urging citizens of German birth to forego expressions of loyalty to the fatherland. Other articles described “Wonderful Patriotic Sermon Delivered by Rector of Golden Calvary Church” while warning young men not to skip college in favor of the military: “Need College Men to Develop Resources.”

political cartoon showing man and horse trampling a man dressed in German uniform

On the other hand, the paper included a political cartoon showing Uncle Sam on horseback in cavalry attire, knocking down a suspiciously Kaiser-looking guy who holds a sign about the “Volunteer System.” Uncle Sam has a pennant on his rifle, supporting “Selective Conscription” (the draft).

old man, young man, and little boy dressed in military attire
Harley West (standing), George West (seated), and Neil West Kimball (child) - Golden History Museum collection. George West died in 1906.

The Transcript of this era strongly encouraged military service. Founder George West had been a Civil War veteran. His son Harley--who was the publisher in 1917--was a veteran of the Spanish-American War. His grandson Neil West Kimball would soon be serving in Europe in World War I.

Thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!