Daniel J. Penno


Written by Genevieve (Penno) Arzich. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”


Daniel J. Penno was one of the early newspaper men of Trinidad, CO. Daniel J. Penno was born in 1876 which was the year the United States celebrated its Centennial. He worked summers at Detroit Free Press and the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. He graduated with a degree in law from Ann Arbor University in Michigan. He married Hattie Handy in Blenheim, Ontario, Canada. Their son Glenn was born in 1903.

A doctor told him that he had a spot on his lung and should go west before he developed Tuberculosis. T.B. was a killer in those days. He left his wife and son with his parents in Michigan and took the Santa Fe train to Colorado. He got off near Trinidad at El Moro. El Moro was the county seat in 1905. His first job was a conductor on the city street car which kept him out in the fresh air all day. By fall his lungs were all cleared up, so he sent for his wife and son, having rented a small house at 516 W. Baca. It was the only house they ever lived in that had been occupied before them; for after that he built many houses. He built ten houses on Baca Street. They would live in a new house while he would sell the old one.

In 1911 a daughter, Genevieve, was born at 1221 Alta. She still resides in the last house he was to have built. It is called “Oaknoll” at 700 block of Topeka Ave. She lives with her husband Thomas Arzich, a well known area business man. They still attend the church that her father attended. In fact Daniel donated the land in which now houses the parish hall for Trinity Episcopal Church. Daniel Penno taught school during his first year in Trinidad, and made acquaintance

of Senator Barela. The Senator took a liking to this young lawyer just out of school, and asked him to come to Denver with him, and be Clerk of the Senate for a year. So off the little family went to Denver, where in his time off he took a part-time graduate course at Boulder. While there he rented three railroad cars and sold excursions to a Boulder football game in Lincoln, Nebraska. He sold a lot of the $5.00 round trip tickets to Denver business men and alumni. He approached a banker named Mr. Mackey who refused to buy a ticket, so he gave him two free passes for him and his wife. This was instrumental in getting him interested in Boulder football and upon the death of Mr. Mackey he bequeathed a million dollars to build the Mackey Auditorium which still stands. In 1940 the college at Boulder had a special banquet in Mr. Penno’s honor; thanking him as they gave him credit for the donation.

Returning to Trinidad, Senator Barela, who owned the Spanish paper “El Progresso”, influenced Daniel into starting a paper for labor called “Trinidad Free Press”. By the time of the 1913 coal mine strike, Mr. Penno had 40 newspaper boys and was one of the largest papers in Trinidad. He continued until 1950 when Senator Barela died. The Free Press was then expanded to include the weekly El Progresso. Daniel Penno passed away in 1952 and his wife followed in 1968.

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