Category Archives: Town

Steeple Chasing Pt. 2

An interesting thing about churches is how the builders use architectural styles to proclaim the building’s purpose.  The first three examples in last post were all built fairly recently, but were all built to the same ancient template.  The buildings in today’s post all come from the local downtown, and are what the congregations dreamed up when they thought of building a church.

Not content with their church having a single steeple, this church features two steeples.

I’ve always liked the looks of this one, it puts me in mind of an ancient rocket, ready to blast off in case of apocalypse.  The giant phone towers that loom over it from the phone company building next door add to the futuristic vibe.

I’m not sure if this counts as a steeple, or is it just a pointy roof?  The building is of solid looking stone, it’s not going anywhere.

This one is the most impressive of the lot, with it’s tower crowned with spires.  And there is no mistaking it’s purpose.  What is impressive about all of these is that they were built in roughly the same time period, with each group seeking to proclaim that they were the ones to join.

Steeple Chasing

When you ask children to draw a house, they almost always draw a triangle atop a square, whether they actually live in such a building or not.  It represents the idea of ‘house’.   When I was in the South, I also discovered the template for the idea of ‘church’ and it is different from the sort that we have here in town.

Churches declare their identity with a pediment over columns on the front, and a complex steeple rising from the roof.  The building otherwise is just a large box, perhaps a bit like the idea of house.

They seem to also need to have the window in the pediment as part of the identifying features, although I can’t imagine it having a functional role.

Of course I wondered where the original models came from.

I’ve forgotten where I downloaded this image from, and also who the actual artist was that was inspired to immortalize this.  But I think it is a church somewhere in the New England states.

And then there is this London church, it has the columns in front,  but no pediment, with the round window and massive steeple.  I suppose the steeple was meant to make to building stand out against it’s surroundings.  And this church has the admonition written on the side (perhaps it should be the 11th Commandment) “Commit No Nuisance”.  Generally good advice.

Traces

I’m not sure why I like train stations, but I suppose taking an adventure on the train as a child left a favorable impression on me.   And many train stations are relics of the past and I like those too.  In the interest of completeness I took these photos this week of the third train station in town.   Formerly home of the Colorado Midland Railway, this was a local service, going from the gold mines on the other side of the mountain to the smelter in town.

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Now serving as a tourist trap, it doesn’t look much like the grand terminal of a passenger station.   It was strictly utilitarian, hauling mostly freight over a relatively short distance.   But still they built this building to last and it has, since closing as a railroad in 1945.

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The terminal was unimpressive, but the roundhouse (the place where the engines lived, just like Thomas the Tank Engine) became a local landmark.   When we first moved here it housed a local art pottery (also a sort of tourist trap).   It was renovated a few years back, on one end is a restaurant/brewpub and the other is an Urgent Care (handy in case one seriously over-indulges at the restaurant).

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This is a place I enjoy coming to because it allows dogs.   P and I always come here for her November birthday, and whenever we are in the neighborhood.

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She is sick again and may not make it until her birthday next month, so we decided to stop in while the weather was fine and so was she. So we shared a hamburger and Brussel sprouts with bacon on a glorious fall day.

 

Traces

I had never been to this little town before trying out to be a movie extra.   And it is an interesting place in a land-that-time-forgot sort of way.   It seems that the heyday of this place was from about 1890 to 1930, and they have the lovely architecture to prove it.  This town is not on the main highway, but it’s off to the side, so you have to want to go there.   As the main industry is Supermax, the federal maximum security prison,  you really don’t want to be sent there.

Me and Miss P did wander around a bit on the day before our movie shooting started just to have a look around.

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There is this lovely brick train station, I followed the tracks to find it and to see what sort it was. Trains no longer stop here, instead it’s been re-purposed as a Senior Center.

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I’m not sure why banks used to have pillars on the front, perhaps to denote a fortress-like security for your money.

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The faded paint on the side of the building proclaims that this building once housed a dry goods store.

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This building was most likely a small department store, but now it sells bits of the flotsam of the past.   The main street was a collection of these shops catering to the tourist trade.   The residents must go to the larger nearby town to do their shopping.

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Celebrating the movie crew working there, this former theater is now a community building.   The front windows had a display of vintage film projectors, possibly original to the building (1923).   Or perhaps as they were rather monstrous contraptions, they were from when films converted to sound.

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I loved this sign “Tipping, it’s not just for cows anymore.”   This is what I was reminded of the first time I saw a sign that said “no flytipping.”   And as the thought of flytipping did not make any sense,  it made me laugh at the absurdity of it.

 

Lounging about

I have always thought that the deer in my neighborhood have a rather sweet deal.   There’s not a lot of traffic (once they are on this side of the Interstate [motorway]).  There’s lots of delicious landscaping to eat.   And they can stroll down to the creek for a drink.   But then I saw these deer, and thought that they definitely have the best spot in town.

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They look so graceful and contented just lounging about.

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And why not?  They are lounging about on the premier estate in town.  Formerly owned by the founder of a luxury hotel, these grounds are part of the foundation that he endowed.   These deer live in splendor in a very exclusive and desirable neighborhood.

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He’s not really angry about anything (except perhaps the papparrazi), it’s just the way his eyebrows look.

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And here are some of his harem.  They don’t have to go to the creek for a drink when there is this lovely fountain for them.  It’s all pretty posh.   But when I woke up this morning, Bob the Stag was resting on my tiny front lawn, so perhaps my house is a desirable address too.

Traces

Once upon a time trains were the preferred mode of travel.   The Interstate (motorway) had not yet been invented, and train travel was smooth and easy (except when the train derailed and killed you).   I always knew that there are three train stations in town, but I never really thought about why this was.

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So I was reading this book recently and saw a picture of one of the train stations.  It also said that it had been destroyed, so I was rather surprised when I went to a meeting this past week and looked up.

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I was looking at the ceiling when I realized that this room was the original Harvey House restaurant.   It still exists, even though it has been many, many years since a train stopped here.   And the original tile work is still in place, it hasn’t been renovated out of existence.

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So I looked around some more at the building.   The bit that is visible as one drives by is actually the back of the building.

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This is the original front of the building, with the Santa Fe Railroad logo visible in the brickwork.   (Currently the company is BNSF, Burlington, Northern and Santa Fe, which does not sound as cool as the original.   And the BNSF trains use the Denver and Rio Grande tracks nowadays.)

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The rest of the building has been modernized, but they have included artwork so that you know it was a train station, in case you can’t recognize this.   This one is in the old waiting room which has been subdivided into meeting spaces.

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And this original hard bench and artwork are by what would have been the back entrance.   I have stopped in Raton and Las Vegas, NM looking to photograph these remnants of this chain of dining establishments that shaped the west, so I was truly astounded to find that this had existed the entire time I have lived here.   (Although this latest re-incarnation of the building is only a few years old).

Cars

Cars are a necessity of modern life, except in the largest cities.  Everything is spread out, and a car is the fastest way to get from place to place, as one could wait days for a bus.   So I got in my car, and went downtown to see this car show, miraculously finding a place to park.   At one time cars were made as works of art, rather than the generic sort of styling that passes for design in modern vehicles.

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This is an iconic bit of Western Americana, a non-standard paint job with wooden rails so you can haul more stuff, and the gun rack in the back window.

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Chrome is horrible for the environment and adds a lot of extra cost and weight to a vehicle, but it sure looks purty.

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And at every car show there must be a beer wagon.   I was born quite near this brewery and have always loved this eagle.

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My older brother’s first car was an MG from the late 50’s.   Cars like this used to be quite reasonably priced when I was a young woman, and I had several friends who had these.  You had to wear a tweed jacket and a flat cap to drive these as it is an English car (ascots are optional).  It became almost impossible to get parts and my brother’s car sat for years waiting on some important bit.

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These show cars are beautifully shiny and polished, unlike my cars.   I don’t remember when the last time I polished them was, but I do wash them from time to time.  (Since I wrote this I will have to polish them now).  🙁

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For some the car body is the art, but for others it’s all in the details and paint.   This lowrider is totally tricked out with hydraulics and a rather demure paint job.

More cows

I do love cows and before I die I would love to have one as a pet.   I envy Shreve over at “The Daily Coyote” because she has several pet cows, and one pet bull (Sir Baby).   Unfortunately this dream is never going to happen, but I did get to enjoy the spectacle of real cows on parade in the annual “strolling through the streets” of longhorn cattle.   It’s done to promote a rodeo.  While I admire the skill of professional and amateur cowboys, none of the horses, bulls, sheep or goats have volunteered to participate, so I will never attend another one.  But I do love the cow parade, so me and Miss P went down to watch (and someone was rather obnoxiously barking,  it was not me).

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It takes a lot of cowboys to keep these cattle in line and moving.  And the horses have to know their job too.

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Git along little dogie.

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What a lovely set of horns!

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Keep em moving.   This was the last of the group heading down the street, so we jumped in the car and headed down to the final destination, over at the local history museum.

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The lead animal never changed throughout the parade (and no it is not a 6 legged cow).

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Here’s a better shot of him strolling along with an old cowboy.

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The babies are so adorable.

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And the tail end of the parade featured these two pulling the wagon.  Wagons are a really uncomfortable way to travel, so I’m glad they’re obsolete.  I overheard a young cowboy saying that he had to get up early to check on a cow that got snakebit yesterday, such is the real life of a rancher.

Traces

I love looking at the marks of time passing that are left on buildings.   Things change, but these buildings still bear witness to the past.   Our past has been mostly swept away, but there are a few survivors.   I decided to photograph these bits, and the very first building on my intended list was already gone!   Long ago (1920’s or 30’s, but before 1937) there was a Duesenberg dealer in town and they had proudly painted the side of the building with the price of this fabulous car.   It was a plumbing supply place in recent memory and they kept re-painting the sign as it faded.  But now the entire building was gone, replaced when I wasn’t looking.

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But this lovely building still exists, and it has been recycled and updated.   For actual auto parts one must go to one of the chain stores, which are all located in huge purpose-built modern buildings.

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The building next to it is in the process of renovation, no longer a  moving-garage.  (Which if you think about, is an impossibility).

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Imagine having a dairy downtown.   There were cows in the city limits when I first moved here, which was a feature in the town’s favor to my way of thinking.  Now they are far out of town, out on the prairie beyond the newest subdivisions.

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This is the view of the front of the former auto parts store.  Just a pile of bricks to remind us of the life and times of those who came before us.

Downtown today

It’s Sunday again, so of course that means we have to drag ourselves downtown in search of the world’s most delicious sausage rolls.   The weather has turned hot so it is more like one would expect from summer.   So we tried to go fairly early, both so we could find a place to park and to beat the heat.   And of course to find something of interest to photograph.   This is what caught my eye today.

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I like some bad habits, especially those involving food (yes I am talking about bacon, lots of bacon).   I wasn’t sure what was on offer.

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She doesn’t ever say much about being hungry, but when she is bored she selects items from the trash that need to be chewed into multiple tiny bits and then proceeds with the plan.

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This bit sticks out from the building behind it, and it seems to be quite the magnet for stickers of bands and hipster products.

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The circus is coming to town, only instead of elephants it has cats!  Yes cats, those famously independent creatures have apparently been trained to do tricks.  This might be worth seeing, just for the novelty of it.

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It’s nice to know that ” it’s going to be o.k.”. There is always a lot of strife in the world, but I felt much better after seeing this sign.   We’ll see if it’s true.