Category Archives: Town

Sunday in the Park

We have had a string of rather fine days for this time of year lately.  First there was the day for the eating holiday, then there was the day for the shopping holiday, and then today was perfect for just being out strolling around and enjoying the sunshine.  There is a spectacular city park, so my friends and I, and several hundred other souls went out to pay the rocks a visit.

And it was a great day for taking photos of the rocks.  It was cloudy and overcast when we first arrived, but the sun broke through and lit up these beautiful rock formations.

The rocks are so photogenic, I would not be surprised to learn that thousands of pictures were taken this very day.   But wait, what is that tiny blob up there on the ridge.

Why it’s some girl, waiting to get to the top.

Here’s the gang at the top, no doubt contemplating getting down without killing themselves.  That part is apparently much easier (like falling off a log) than getting up, which requires grabbing on to the tiny handholds in the rock and pulling oneself up.   The ropes are just there in case you fall off the log rock.

Then it was goodbye to the rocks til next time (I do have jillions of pictures that I have taken here over the years), and onward to lunch and still more shopping.

Beer

Beer has been a popular drink ever since it was first invented thousands of years ago.  But for many years (at least during my life) there was only the standard sort of commercially produced beers from big manufacturers.  In more recent times, local craft beers have become popular, especially here (even our state governor used to be a brewer).  I was at a charity auction and bought a brewery tour of one of the more popular places for me and some friends so off we went on a beautiful Fall afternoon.

The brewery is located in a 100 year old schoolhouse in the south part of town.   There is something about setting foot in a school, that brings back memories of being 6 years old (but this school never had nuns as teachers at least).  And best of all, this school has beer instead of cafeteria food.  😉

It is full of high tech equipment to produce their five flagship types of beer, as well as the special seasonal offerings (this week had locally famous pumpkin beer on tap).   They produce every sort of beer imaginable, Scottish ales, India Pale Ales, Belgian beers, Stout (aged in whiskey barrels), wheat beer, Pilsners and barley wine.  And they are constantly doing community events and good things for local charities.   And they allow dogs to have lunch with one out on the patio (well it doesn’t get much better than this).

But it does get better.   Right now they have four beers that celebrate Nikola Tesla.  And who could resist a beer named World Peace Death Ray?  (It actually was a delicious high alcohol, hoppy beer).

So maybe we don’t know why this lab is laughing, but a good time was had by all (except for the bit where we had to find a place to park).

 

Touristing in the rain

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.

 

Local Icons

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.  😉

Touristing

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.   😉

Court

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 mountain.

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.

Art

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).

Another Village

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.

Downtown Sunday

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.

 

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.