I have vowed to take a peek at the sorts of things tourists see when they visit here when I get the opportunity. I had been busy wasting time when I saw that it was free museum day, so off I went into the rain to check out a nearby museum. The museum is dedicated to professional rodeo cowboys. It’s not my thing, but I decided to go anyway to see what they are all about.
There is their iconic statue guarding the front, a cowboy riding a kicking horse. I always thought that the strap on the back went around the animal’s tender parts, but it is actually around the waist. The horse is trying to kick it off and if the cowboy goes with it, so much the better to the horse’s way of thinking. (Horses are not deep thinkers).
The profession (getting paid to do this) of rodeo cowboy only started in the 1920’s, although men did this for fun before that. This magazine cover from 1951 shows one of the first well-known rodeo stars.
Being named rodeo queen is an occasion to get dressed up in a sparkling outfit. Women compete in barrel racing (riding your horse around an obstacle course of oil drums as fast as your horse can go) and goat roping.
Besides having lots of display cases of saddles, belt buckles and other flotsam and ephemera, there are lots of western themed sculptures, mostly of horses and bulls except for this one.
There is also an outdoor sculpture area, and a catering facility, and a tiny arena for the bulls and horses to perform in when ever. This is a Hall of Fame, so to have one’s name enshrined here, one has to be voted in from a yearly ballot. And that applies equally to horses, bulls, and people, although I am not sure how they count the votes of the horses and bulls.
Every place brags about the famous persons who lived at or were born in the locale. And who wouldn’t want to be immortalized on art that covers up a street corner utility box? Located right next to the juror’s parking lot in downtown, we have this exemplar of civic pride which celebrates these local icons.
This writer (1830-1885) was born and lived in the east for most of her life. Coincidentally enough, she was one of the many tourists who came out to see the Falls of the previous post. And she met and married her second husband here. She did have a house in town and part of it is preserved in the local history museum (of course it was torn down). She wrote a scholarly book about the failure of the US Government to live up to the various treaties signed with native tribes. But she was more famous for a romance novel about the same subject. She was buried at the top of the Falls, but was later moved to a cemetery.
This well-known inventor (1856-1943) only lived here for a brief time in 1899 (the building is no longer standing). He came to do electrical experiments at high altitude (no word as to whether he visited the falls). After blowing up the electrical grid of the city, he returned to the east.
This silent film actor (1883-1930) shown here as the character he portrayed in “London After Midnight” was actually born here. His grandfather started the school for the deaf, and the family lived nearby (and the house still exists). Famous as “the man of a thousand faces” he only made one talking picture. The civic auditorium bears his name.
This woman (1918-2005), shown here in a demure pose ran a nightclub/bar about 2 blocks north of this spot starting in the 1950’s. She featured well known jazz musicians and “everybody” was welcome according to her sign. The club eventually became rather run down, so it was demolished and replaced with a parking lot in 1975. The city does have a festival in her honor every year (and you know how much I like festivals, so of course I go). And I think the others should have festivals as well. 😉
There are several attractions here in town for tourists, and as I am a resident, I try to avoid them. But a group I belong to wanted to go to this one, so I decided to give it a go and see if it was worth seeing.
And it has been a tourist attraction for a very long time. The donkeys are no longer available, so we parked over by a fancy hotel and took a shuttle bus. Then we took a tram uphill to the attraction, and then there we were at last.
So this is what we were there to look at. Those tiny ants are people walking up the 285 steps to the top. After walking up all these steps, one can go hiking (in case one is not tired yet), or spend $149 to ride a zip line down. Or if one is old, like myself, one can ride an elevator to this overlook spot and take a photo.
There were scads of tourists roaming about the place, even though it was a rainy, gray day. This tourist was taking selfies with the waterfall as backdrop.
It was a good idea to take the photos before the rain, because afterwards it was a waterfall of mud. Not nearly as scenic as the before.
Where there are tourists, there is an opportunity to take their money. This rather mangy looking stuffed mountain lion is at the entrance to the restaurant, run by the fancy hotel. The lovely thing about the park is that dogs are allowed (and I don’t think that they have to pay the admission fee) and so there were lots of pups there enjoying the place. I vaguely remember visiting over 30 years ago, I think I shall wait another 30 years before I go back. 😉
It had come time to do my civic duty, and report to the courthouse to potentially serve on a jury. Fortunately in Colorado it’s one day or one trial, so you don’t have to show up all week like in some places.
So this is the new and improved courthouse, the vintage courthouse can be seen in the reflection. The table out front had volunteers who were ready to pray with you, in case you had doubts about the efficacy of your attorney. 😉
I was reminded of something Liam said after he spent time drawing another courthouse “The rich get justice, the poor get the law”.
After filling out paperwork designed to elicit our views without actually asking (what does “where were you born or what radio station do you listen to” have any bearing on being a juror?) we were marched off in line to the courtroom. Perhaps on seeing our motley crew, the attorneys decided that they had better settle the case and not depend on us for a verdict (I was already in favor of hanging). 😉
So we were free to go having discharged our duty for the year. There is such a lovely view from the courthouse that I decided to take a few snaps. (No cameras are allowed in the courtroom).
The view to the north.
The southern mountain. And notice the empty street.
And because I was already downtown, and had a place to park in the juror’s lot, I walked over to where they were having a major bicycle race. The streets were blocked off, and these courageous cyclists were racing through our potholed and pitted roads. We cheered for them as they whizzed past, then I was off in search of a way out of the blocked streets.
Yesterday was First Friday Art Crawl, so in spite of the rain and traffic, off I went in search of Art, free wine and nibbles.
First up was the fanciest gallery in town. I have been near it before, I knew it was there, but I had never actually walked in through the door. As it was gloomy and raining I was the only one there, so I had a chat with the young woman who works there about selling art (she had just sold a painting and was looking for another one to display). Their prices were mostly in the 2K range for a small work, and 5-6K for a large painting. In the sister gallery on the other side of the hotel, some Texans were trying to decide between the picture of the Longhorn or the buffalo, so another sale racked up for the gallery.
They also sold lawn ornaments. But I saw nothing that said “buy me” to me, so I was off to the next stop, hip galleries in the alley downtown.
What could be hipper than a wailing saxophone? (at the hotel I heard distant bagpipes, definitely un-hip). There is a secret sort of hipster bar hidden across the alley, I knew I was not among my people. 😉
This gallery was next door. This artist’s work was much more interesting that the stuff I had seen earlier, and was much more affordable at about 1.2K for a large skillfully painted portrait.
I did not get a picture of the artists who were flogging their work at the comic book store. But their pictures of aliens and outer space were quite reasonably priced at $30, and I am somewhat sorry that I did not buy one. It was an interesting evening of art appreciation, perhaps next time I will find something I can’t live without (but no more books, really).
My town started out as a village, the nice place to live without the rowdy saloons and brothels near the mountain. And as it grew it swallowed up the nearby villages to become a city. But if a village is distant enough to the city, it stays a village, like this one I visited this past week.
The retired horse-drawn farm implements of the past reinforce the bucolic setting.
I don’t know if this was a livery stable, garage, or store, but I look at it and think that it would do admirably as an artist’s studio. If only it was nearer to town. Although if it was nearer to town, it would probably have already been torn down and replaced.
This former store is still full of stuff, saved for a rainy day perhaps? Or perhaps it was just too much work to get rid of things.
This village is still here, but the train that served it is gone. I suspect that some of the residents make the long commute into town to work. And at some point in the distant future, the city will come to swallow this place up as well.
I really can’t resist street festivals and the like, so this Sunday found me in our tiny downtown area. So I started off in the park, at the Farmer’s Market, with the families, couples and sleeping homeless people.
In summer, the Uncle Wilbur fountain provides a place for children to frolic and get drenched (this is what it looks like at it’s apogee when it is hardly spraying). Usually Uncle Wilbur is hiding under the dome, but he comes out once an hour or so. (The fountain is named after an early resident who liked to play the tuba to “entertain” people).
This stand is named after one of the famous crops grown in our fair state, although it does not contain any actual dope, I hope.
And there was a band in the park, playing in the bandstand, singing soft rock songs about peace and love. But over on the next street there was a festival of a different sort.
They had a band playing covers of hard rock music, to a crowd of black leather wearing, tattooed biker types.
It was all about the motorcycles: preferably loud, decked out Harley Davidsons, but there were other sorts of bikes there too . This young woman and her similarly dressed cohort were there to flog Indian motorcycles. She looks quite knowledgeable about the product, I’m sure the guy was asking about technical specs.
As with last week there were all the elements of a successful festival: music, food on sticks and beer, as well as this fellow wearing a furry helmet as a bonus.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.