Category Archives: Town

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.

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.

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).