Edward Affolter was a man who was completely invested in Louisville’s future. He not only represented Boulder County as an elected state senator in the Colorado legislature, but he also served for a long time as the town attorney and had a law practice located in the back of what is now the Huckleberry Restaurant building. Moreover, he bought and sold property in Louisville and raised his family in a home on McKinley Avenue. So he was expressing his sincere concern about the ability of the town to survive when he said, “If anything ever happens to the mines, weeds will grow in the main street of Louisville.”
Affolter died in 1952, at a time when having weeds growing on the streets was actually a very likely possibility, as Louisville’s streets were still unpaved in the early 1950s and most of the area mines had already closed. The Louisville Times newspaper reprinted Affolter’s quote in 1961 and noted, “By all rights, Louisville should have followed the course of numerous mining towns in the state,” pointing out that once their mining economies died, the towns headed “straight downward.”
The 1950s represented a boom decade for many communities in the United States, but this was especially the case in Louisville. The changes that took place in this town during this time, particularly with respect to infrastructure, are astonishing. At the beginning of the decade, when most of the mines were closing or had already closed, Louisville homes still had outhouses and the town lacked a sewage system; homes were heated with coal; streets were unpaved and lacked curbs and gutters; the telephone system used operators and hand-cranked telephones; the streets were not well connected with highways and other towns in the area; and there had been no significant growth for decades. People grew concerned that Louisville would not be able to survive without taking many steps forward, including taking action to ensure a good and continuous supply of water.
Article by Bridget Bacon, Museum Coordinator
Photo: In 1956, a 12-mile pipeline to bring water to Louisville was completed. This photo shows the dedication, believed to be in Eldorado Canyon, with men ready to turn the valve. Kneeling, L to R: Town Clerk Ring Dionigi and Mayor Henry McHugh; standing, L to R: Town Trustee Andy Deborski; Town Attorney Joe Morrato; and Trustees Ray Caranci, Frank Rizzi, Lloyd “Bud” Brown, and Gene Madonna.