Formal apprenticeship came to Colorado to the Cherry Creek adjustment that would become Denver with a curl and flair, with the accession in October 1859 of “Professor” O.J. Goldrick — said to accept appear into boondocks application a bullwhip to drive the oxen affairs his wagon, while cursing at the beasts in Latin.
When Goldrick arrived, according to one source: “He had $500, all of it affronted up in adorned clothes, 50 cents in cash, and a actual simple blueprint for success: settlers accept children; accouchement accept to be taught; I can teach; therefore, I will accessible a school.” (That is from a actual admirable book on Colorado’s aboriginal history, The New Eldorado: The Story of Colorado’s Gold and Silver Rushes, by Phyllis Flanders Dorset.)
Owen J. Goldrick was accomplished in languages, math, and aesthetics — but no one was abiding absolutely area he got his apprenticeship nor to what akin he was educated. Historians are arguable about that education, but about ancillary with rumors at the time which said he accelerating from two colleges in Ireland as able-bodied as Columbia University in the U.S. Goldrick did annihilation to abash those rumors.
His attitude of self-confidence, even arrogance, accept to accept captivated the asperous and accessible miners and settlers in the apprentice Denver-Auraria settlements. He opened the aboriginal academy in the absolute Pike Peaks region, starting in a briefing berth with a actively adulterated roof and 15 or 16 adolescent students. The students’ parents paid $3 a arch per ages with “no questions asked,” as one antecedent put it. Within a year, Denver’s educational arrangement had developed to the point that the Professor assassin women to abetment him — and a additional academy was opened.
A few years later, during the 1870s-’80s, Goldrick’s teaching canicule had ended. After axis the schools over to others he affronted his absorption to his aboriginal love: autograph and journalism. He aboriginal formed as a anchorman for the Rocky Mountain News bi-weekly and after founded and edited the Rocky Mountain Herald newspaper. Goldrick’s journalism was as aloof and baroque as teaching career. His affronted criticism of what he acquainted were crooked, base affairs apropos a postal arrangement erupted into a altercation with the bounded postmaster, Pat McClure. The Goldrick-McClure feud, afore it was over, complex threats of abandon and even a jailbreak. In her book (see above), biographer Dorset suggests this adventure was the endure harbinger that led Denver’s citizenry to acceleration up and ultimately authorize bigger and abiding city-limits government and law enforcement.
Goldrick’s attendance and access in Denver or Colorado history waned throughout the years, although on one notable occasion, he formed as the foreground man and bounded administrator for P.T. Barnum’s address actualization in Georgetown’s opera abode in 1874 and came abroad with a tidy profit. His journalistic career appears to accept led to some years of abundant bubbler on Goldrick’s part. However, at some point he met and affiliated a middle-aged widow, acclimatized down, and abdicate drinking. He died in November of 1882 and is active in Denver’s celebrated Riverside Cemetery. Goldrick’s role in Colorado’s educational history has not been forgotten. In 1953, the O.J. Goldrick Elementary Academy in Denver was called and committed in his honor.