Semes Honored as Grand Marshals for Parade
The term Grand Marshal is a ceremonial title of very high honor. So it seems only fitting that Pastime Saloon owners Roy and Jerry Seme would carry the honor of Grand Marshals for this year’s Boom Days Parade. After all, when your family name has carried on the last operating business on old State Street for over 75 years, it should be worth a little feather in your cap . . . or boa!
For those unfamiliar with its history, the Pastime is the last operating saloon on old notorious State Street, now 2nd Street, where there was once 64 saloons. Built in 1878, the building served as a dance hall and gambling saloon and its early history cites numerous name and ownership changes, including Maxey Tabor, son of Horace Tabor.
In 1879, it was the Antheneum Theater. In those early days it was considered the most popular, most spectacular amphitheater in Leadville. During this short-lived entertainment craze, amphitheaters offered physical endurance contests – male and female running and walking matches. The races, the prizefights and the wrestling bouts were often special Sunday afternoon features. At the Antheneum (Pastime), one of the popular acts was a trapeze artist trundling a wheelbarrow back and forth across the tightrope which stretched out inside the building – above peoples’ heads!
Since the 1920s, the Pastime was been characterized by owners who did not buy and sell overnight, riding out the ups and downs of business in Leadville. During the Camp Hale days army officials had declared State Street off-limits due to its lingering “red light district” reputation. This made it perfect for local people to find an uncrowded place for dining, drinking and dancing, especially on Saturday night.
Over the years, old State Street was plagued by a series of fires, taking a building or two at time until most of the old bordellos and gambling halls vanished into history. The early 1950s brought the last great fire, which left standing only the Pastime and the Pioneer.
In 1938, Frank (Roy’s father) Seme purchased the building and business, renaming it the Pastime Bar and Café. The business’ hospitality and popularity continued into the 1950s. At one time, there were 13 girls on the floor and two bartenders.
The Pastime has remained in the Seme family ever since. Current owner Roy and his wife Jerry have kept up the family tradition, with their daughters Lorinda, Tina and Tammy for over 50 years.
Today’s Pastime is still one-of-a-kind. So stop in to see the family, grab a buffalo burger and cold beer and talk about the good old days!
Fall is Here . . . on the Community Park Mural
While most locals would agree that they don’t want to see the fall season come on any faster than it already seems to be, this “Fall” is a welcome sight!
The “Four Season” mural at the Community Park is now complete with the fourth “Fall” wall installed on July 29. As part of the ceramic mural which wraps the restroom building at the popular sports facility, the final season was installed by local artists, teachers, and students on Tuesday, July 29.
Project Directors Amanda Good, Ann Stanek and Erin Farrow have hosted an after school art class for Lake County high school and middle school students during the past couple of years. Students designed and produced the custom tiles that were adhered to the four walls, each side representing a different season.
The “Fall” or north side of the building was the last custom tile mural installation which is sponsored by the Leadville Arts Coalition and funded by the Climax Community Grant and the 21st Century Fund. The mural is beautiful and adds so much to the Community Park – thank you!
Celebrating 14 yrs of MBT and the Martin Bridge!
The Martin Bridge. Do you know where it is? If so, then you’ve been spending some time on Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail (MBT). In honor of the MBT’s 14th birthday, here’s the story of how the Martin Bridge got its name.
Now, for those who may not be familiar with where this structure is, it spans above E. 7th Street, connecting the MBT over the city road; it’s near the famous Matchless Mine.
And while many regular MBT users may be familiar with where the bridge is, not many folks know how the Martin Bridge got its name. It is one of those great, old-school Leadville stories. From the beginning, the decision was rooted in common sense; there were no committees, work sessions, studies or grants involved. Back in 1999, the city and county coffers were pretty slim, so those who had stuck around to “serve,” had to “make do”. They had to think smarter; do more, with less.
And what better place to think smarter than around a table of hard-working, beer-drinking guys at the legendary Silver Dollar Saloon. One of the regulars at that table was Jim Martin, a former Climax Mine Manager who decided to stick around, and was seeing Leadville and Lake County through some of its shakier days.
Martin was Leadville’s Mayor for 8 years, from 1983 – 1991; he then went on to serve two terms as Lake County Commissioner from 1992 – 2000. Martin also served on the Board of Education and was very involved with Skyline Little League, as both a board member and umpire during baseball season.
Jim Martin was a hard-core numbers guy. He was known to test people with a series of mathematical equations, to determine their mental prowess. The drill would usually go something like, take the number 6 multiple it by eight, subtract 7, divide by three, now take the square root of that number – and on and on he would go. This mathematical quiz was rambled off at a pretty good pace, and just when you were convinced that Martin himself wasn’t even following the equation, you were challenged to provide the answer. If you were spry enough to keep up with him and come to the same correct answer as Martin’s, then your “street cred,” rose considerably; maybe he’d even throw you a news tidbit.
Local leadership during this time, required that same kind of steadfastness. Things were still in a downward spiral, and most public meetings were held to discuss how to shave a bit more off the budget, rather than, what duplicated non-profit’s efforts should get more funding. Back then, it was a bit more “Shark Tank” and a little less “Kumbaya”.
A guy like Jim Martin was up for the job, and he did an incredible service to this community during that time. It was easy to respect his willingness to serve during the bust cycle. He earned it every day as he kept the Environmental Protection Agency on its toes, and away from encroaching any further onto local lands, an act which was slowly choking economic development in Lake County.
He was asked one time if it was harder to be Mayor or Commissioner? Martin retorted, “You know what was the toughest job I ever had in this town? Umpire for the Little League. Those parents were brutal! If they didn’t like a call, they didn’t hold back! They’d swear you up one side and down the other, right in front of the kids!”
During one of these famous beer-drinking work sessions – when Martin was absent – the rest of the guys discussed how they might be able to honor him. It was 1999 and Martin was coming to the end of his political career. While there wasn’t a lot of money in the coffers for some elaborate gesture, surely there was something they could do.
It was during this same time that the Mineral Belt Trail was reaching the end of its trail work and would soon be holding its Grand Opening on July 29, 2000. Before long, operation “Martin Bridge” was underway. In the spirit of, “just-order-the-signs”, “it’s-easier-to-ask-forgiveness-than-permission” ways of not too long ago, that MBT bridge was ceremoniously named The Martin Bridge!
Jim Martin eventually made the move down to a lower elevation and today, lives comfortably in the Denver metro area. He makes it up here every once in a while. Only now, you’re more likely to see him with a bottle of oxygen, than a bottle of whiskey. He’s still sharp mentally, even if the memory for names has faded a bit. And yes, the old beer-drinking sessions pick up right where they left off, although they don’t last nearly as long as they used to.
So the next time you walk, jog, bicycle, or ski by the MBT’s Martin Bridge, give Jim Martin a proper salute – cheers! And Happy Birthday to the Mineral Belt Trail, which celebrates 14 incredible years today!
Manuelita’s Expands with Bar, Grand Opening Tonight!
Their famous fish tacos might bring you through the door the first time, but Mauelita’s Restaurant friendly service will bring you back time after time until you’ve tried everything on the menu, glad that you did.
And now, you can linger a little longer in the evening in the new bar in the back of this downtown Leadville eatery. The bar will officially open tonight, July 25. To kick things off, Owner Federico Montes is giving away 5 free pitchers to the first five customers, starting at 6 p.m. They have Pacifico and Dos Equis Lager on tap. They will also have Grand Opening drink specials.
Starting tonight, Manuelita’s Bar will be open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until 2 a.m. And of course, you can still join them for lunch or dinner.
And yes, the fish tacos come highly recommended, and one of the best deals in town!
Felicidades Federico! Y Salud a Manuelita’s Bar!
Boomtown Music Festival in Lake County This Weekend
Have you heard the word? Maybe you’ve seen the small flyers up around town? Or perhaps the event has come up on your Facebook news feed?
There is a music festival going on this weekend in southern Lake County that could explode into the next big thing. The Boomtown “Beta Test” Music Festival is a three day “experimental” festival featuring local musicians, artists, and yoga! The whole thing is happening at the historic Smith-Parsons Ranch located several miles south of Leadville, off County Road 10 or what is more commonly known as Sure Pretty Drive.
“Our family ranch has owned and operated this hay ranch for 100 years, for three generations,” said Joseph Smith in an interview with Leadville Today. And while haying only takes place a few months of the year, the rest of the time the family spends enjoying the beauty which surrounds their private property at the foot of Colorado’s highest peak, Mt. Elbert.
“We decided that we wanted to share that with the greater community, because we find it to be one of the most beautiful places. And we want to open it up a little bit,” said Smith.
By “a little bit,” Smith means holding a three-day musical festival that will be capped at 300 attendees, this year.
“I’ve been going to music festivals for about six years now and it’s really changed my perspective on the world, the way that people treat each other,” explained Smith, referring to the way that “a temporary community influences human interaction.”
So from those experiences came the Boomtown “Beta Test” Music Festival. So why Beta Test? Well, by definition, beta testing is the last stage of testing; generally thought of as a test for a computer product prior to commercial release. In other words, if things go well this year, the event will become an annual Lake County event.
And even for a “beta test,” the Boomtown schedule of events is pretty impressive: 22 musical performances, yoga sessions, and artists displaying their creations. Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased online at the Boomtown Festival website, or you can also purchase them at the gate (cash only).
Admission includes on site camping. Rustic car camping sites and port-a-potties will be available on the private ranch land. No showers or electricity will be available. They can also accommodate RVs, but there are no hookups.
Of course, the event has gone through all of the necessary permitting processes and organizers will have a security detail in place as well.
“Lake County has been extremely helpful with the whole planning process,” said Smith. And yesterday county officials did visit the site to make sure all safety concerns and crowd control issues were addressed.
So there you have it, sounds like the base of Mt. Elbert is going to be the spot for great music and good times this weekend.
“Join us on the first step of our journey towards building a new festival venue and outdoor art gallery,” states the Boomtown website. “Our goal is to encourage creativity and expression in the local community while developing a unique venue in the Colorado high country!”
The Smith-Parsons Ranch is located at 1322 County Road 24A. Take Sure Pretty Drive south and follow the signs, turning off at County Road 24A. The Ranch will open at noon tomorrow, Friday, July 25 and will close at 8 p.m. on Sunday, July 27.
Leadville Fish Hatchery Marks 125 Years on Saturday!
The public is invited to the 125th anniversary of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery this Saturday, July 26. A fun, action-packed schedule of events is planned.
The day starts at 10 a.m. in front of the main hatchery building for welcome and remarks. At 11 a.m. the hatchery building will be open for tours, with guides stationed both inside and outside toprovide information.
At noon, the party will move up to the picnic grounds where you can eat a BYO lunch or purchase a pulled pork sandwich plate with coleslaw and beans for $6 from the Leadville Lions Club. Stick around, because free cake, ice cream and lemonade will be served at 1 p.m.
Afternoon activities include a horseshoe pitching tournament, a demonstration of Tenkara fly fishing at Evergreen Lake, adjacent to the picnic grounds, and a presentation on the history and use of labyrinths. Fun for the kids includes face painting, a bean bag toss game, and trying their hand at a fishing “pond.”
At 4:30 p.m. down at the main hatchery building there will be a Victorian costume contest and local band Leadville Cherokee will play out the celebration, starting at 5:00 p.m.
Leadville National Fish Hatchery History:
Construction of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery began in 1889. Initially the hatchery supplied eggs and fingerling fish to streams and lakes throughout Colorado, the western U.S. and even to Europe and Japan.
Currently, the hatchery supplies 10 inch catchable trout to Turquoise Lake, the Forebay, Twin Lakes, and Clear Creek in Chaffee County. The hatchery is also the location of one of three populations of the endangered greenback cutthroat trout. The federal hatchery system originated as a way to ameliorate the negative effect on native fish populations from mining, logging, ranching, stocking of non-native species and over-fishing.
The Leadville National Fish Hatchery still plays a role in mitigating the impacts of these activities. Additionally, it has become a well-loved destination for historical tourism and out-door enthusiasts. Reunions, school functions and special events are often held at the picnic grounds.
Pianist Cendejas to Raise Funds for Fire Department
What do you get when you bring together a concert pianist, a fire chief, an opera house and 100 miles of trail? An evening of incredible music, for an alarmingly good cause!
On Thursday, July 31 accomplished concert pianist Javier Cendejas will perform a benefit concert at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Tabor Opera for the Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue.
While Cendejas makes his present home in Kentucky, his accomplishments as a pianist are internationally renown. If you enjoy classical music, you are familar with the name Javier Cendejas. And if the renderings of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Arabesque in C Major, Op. 18 by Robert Schumann, and Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# minor, are to your musical taste, then don’t miss this special performance. For Cendejas’ full biography see below.
Now semi-retired, Cendejas is presenting this benefit concert to share his love for music and to support Leadville friend, Fire Chief Dan Dailey.
“I have known Javier for almost a decade now,” explains Chief Dailey. “He has become a good family friend,” often visiting with the Dailey family during his training runs, and races.
And yes, that’s where the trail part of the story comes into the picture. Cendejas will be attempting his tenth Leadville Trail 100 Run on August 16 -17.
“Unfortunately, I haven’t finished it,” says Cendejas quietly, as he plays the piano during the publicity photo shoot at the opera house. So will his tenth attempt seal the deal with a famous LT100 Belt Buckle?
“Who knows? We’ll see! I just like coming here and running. I just have fun,” he joked.
In fact, it was during one of his recent “fun” running visits, over lunch with Chief Dailey, when Cendejas offered to do a benefit concert for the fire department. From there, things came together quickly, and the benefit efforts to purchase a new fire engine were underway. Of course, it’s just the beginning of securing funds for new equipment, but any time the burden can be taken off the taxpayers, it’s a good thing, recognized Chief Dailey.
Of course, the concert’s venue and instrument should also be noted. If you have not attended a performance at the historic Tabor Opera House, or it’s been a while, DON’T WAIT! Owners Bill and Sharon Bland recently announced that this will be their last summer. Of course, the opera house remains on the market and they are still hopeful that the right buyers come along, but for now, this could be the swan song summer.
As for the piano that Cendejas will be playing, it’s pretty special. The Knabe Grand Piano which was originally purchased for the opera house by Horace Tabor, was recently returned to its rightful home through a donation of the most recent owners. It’s a one-of-a-kind and its sound throughout the opera house is nearly pure!
But this won’t necessarily be the first time Cendejas will be playing this Knabe. In fact, he has often been found “keeping his fingers in shape,” and thrilling afternoon tour visitors to the opera house.
Tickets for the July 31 benefit concert are $15/per person or 2 for $25 and can be purchased at the Leadville fire house on the corner of 9th and Harrison Ave. or at the Tabor Opera House. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the performance.
More About Javier Cendejas
According to online biographies, Cendejas was born in Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico. Before coming to the United States, he studied at the National Conservatory in Mexico City. His initial studies in the U.S. were with Angelica Morales von Sauer, at the University of Kansas.
His career and continuing studies took him to New York City, where he studied with Dora Zazlavsky at the Manhattan School of Music. He completed his Bachelor of Music Degree at The Juilliard School, as a scholarship student of Adele Marcus and Jacob Lateiner.
While living in New York, he served as both performance and rehearsal pianist with New York’s Joffrey Ballet Company, and participated in both capacities on several national tours with The Joffrey II ensemble.
After moving to Louisville, KY with his wife, Nancy, he worked with The Kentucky Opera Association, and served as a pianist in the Affiliate Artist program, traveling throughout Kentucky.
Javier continued his formal studies, earning a Master of Music Degree from the University of Louisville. His formal studies were completed earning a Doctor of Music Degree at Indiana University, where his major field of study was piano performance. He also served as a graduate assistant/opera coach to Indiana’s opera department. In 1976, he began 20 year association with the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado, serving as staff accompanist, opera coach.
Javier’s career as a performer includes numerous performances, with orchestras and as a recitalist, in Mexico, as well as in USA. He has performed with orchestras in Morelia Michoacán, in Monterrey Nuevo Leon and in Mexico City where he performed Rachmaninof’s First Piano Concerto which was nationally televised. He has participated in Piano Festivals in Monterrey and in the city of Querétaro.
Lupine, Columbines, Trumpets – It’s Wildflower Season!
And you don’t need to go very far to see all the color and variety. A simple walk along the Mineral Belt Trail or the Nature Trail out at the Leadville National Fish Hatchery should provide plenty of good viewing.
The recent rain, combined with the warmer temperatures predicted for this weekend, should make this peak season for blooms in Mother Nature’s high alpine garden. So make sure you take some time to stop and smell the (wild) roses!
Publisher’s Note: Please do not pick or use (medicinally) any wildflowers without knowing what you’re doing. The following is merely informational, not instructional. Don’t let the altitude clear your mind of good, old common sense!
Here are some of the beauties currently in bloom.
The Columbine: These majestic beauties are Colorado’s state flower and known for their purple spurred petals. In fact, it’s the shape of those petals that give this flower its name. The word “columbine” comes from the Latin for “dove,” due to the resemblance of the inverted flower to five doves clustered together.
The Lupine: This flowering plant is from the legume family, as in bean! Lupines are high in protein, dietary fibre and antioxidants, very low in starch, and, like all legumes, are gluten-free. Lupines can be used to make a variety of foods both sweet and savoury including everyday meals, traditional fermented foods, baked foods and sauces. The legume seeds of lupins, commonly called lupin beans, were popular with the Romans, who cultivated the plants throughout the Roman Empire; hence, common names like lupini in Romance languages.
The Purple Alpine Aster: Aster alpinus (Alpine Aster) is the only species of Aster that grows natively in North America; it is found in mountains. And here’s an interesting fact: The Hungarian Revolution of 1918, became known as the “Aster Revolution” due to protesters in Budapest wearing this flower.
The Fairy Slipper: This Calypso Orchid, also known as the Fairy Slipper or Venus’s slipper, is a perennial member of the orchid family. It has a small pinkish-purple flower accented with a white lip, darker purple spottings, and yellow beard.
These little purple blooms can be a pleasant sporadic sight on hiking trails like the one along Busk Creek, out by Turquoise Lake. The plants live no more than five years, and they are classified as threatened or endangered. The Fairy Slipper relies on “pollination by deception”, as it attracts insects to anther-like yellow hairs, but produces no nectar that would nourish them. Insects quickly learn not to revisit it.
Indian Paintbrush: This plant got its name from a Native American legend. In the legend, a young Indian wanted to paint the sunset, but became frustrated because he could not produce any colors that matched the beauty of a sunset.
He asked the Great Spirit for help. The Great Spirit provided him with paintbrushes with the beautiful colors on them which he used to create his painting. When he was done, the young Indian left his used paintbrushes scattered around the landscape. These paint brushes blossomed into plants and were thus named Indian Paintbrushs.
American Indians also used this plant for various purposes including as a hair wash, to enhance their immune system, as a treatment for rheumatism, and to treat sexually transmitted diseases.
Did you know that The Indian Paintbrush is Wyoming’s state flower?
Fairy Trumpet: Also known as a Skyrocket, or Rocket flower. It blooms throughout the summer, and is a favorite of hummingbirds and hawk moths. The petals are fused into a trumpet-shape with a long narrow tube and spreading lobes.
Medicinally, this plant has been reported to be boiled up as a tea, and heals everything from blood diseases to rheumatic joints. An infusion of the roots is also used as a laxative and in the treatment of high fevers, colds.
Leafy Cinquefoil: Also known as Biscuits, Five-fingers, and Flesh and Blood. Known as a real creeper, the stem runners of this perennial herb can often reach up to five feet in length.
That said, the herb is a rather pretty and dainty species of plant. The name of the cinquefoil is after an Old French word that means “five-leaf.” The five leaflets of the cinquefoil was a symbol for the five senses of the human body, and served as a motif for the Medivial man who had achieved mastery over the self. Have you ever noticed the cinquefoil’s five-fingered leaf symbol on a knight’s shield? The right to use this heraldic device could only be granted to knights who gained mastery over the self.
The cinquefoil was also linked to many other powers in superstitious medieval times, for example, the herb was supposed to scare off witches. Medieval lovers often used the cinquefoil in preparing love potions and as an instrument in romantic divinations. Medieval fishermen often fixed the herb to their nets to increase their catch of fish.
Herbalists through the ages have been familiar with the cinquefoil as a remedy to reduce a fever. It is also used as an herbal analgesic for alleviating the pain of a toothache and in a gargle for treating oral sores.
Yarrow: This aromatic perennial with its lovely, fern-like foliage is also called “thousand leaves,” because of its finely-divided leaves.
Introduced to North America by early colonists, yarrow soon became a valued remedy used by many tribes of indigenous people. Human relationships with this healing plant reach back to ancient times. The fossilized pollen of yarrow has been found in Neanderthal burial caves from as far back as 60,000 years.
Yarrow has also been associated with magic and divination, and is considered by some folk herbalists as a sacred plant with special spiritual powers to offer protection. The herb was also believed to be useful in love potions.
Yarrow accompanied soldiers into battle and was relied upon for its hemostatic action to treat wounds. Achilles, the Greek hero is said to have used yarrow in the Trojan War to staunch the blood flowing from the wounds of fallen comrades.
And for all you follicly challenged, infusions of yarrow have been used as a hair rinse in attempts to prevent baldness.
So there you have it – those are just some of the alpine beauties you can see in bloom this time of year! Colorado’s alpine meadows are home to some of the country’s most vibrant and colorful collections of wildflowers. And in Lake County, you don’t have to go very far to see any and all of them!
10th Mountain Huts Need Volunteers for Work Sessions
The 10th Mountain Division Hut Association is looking for volunteers for some upcoming work sessions on huts that are close-by Leadville and Lake County. It’s good, hard work in the spectacular outdoors for a great cause. And if that isn’t motivation enough, for each day worked, 10th Mountain will reward each volunteer with a free hut night (valid for 1 year). That’s quite an incentive for these popular huts!
The upcoming dates when volunteers are needed:
- July 25, 26, 27 at the Betty Bear Hut – LINK for location.
- August 4, 5, 6 at the Harry Gates Hut – LINK for location
Call at 970-925-5775 to sign-up.
Note to hut users interested in volunteering: Each year, 10th Mountain has a few returning volunteer groups that are assigned an entire volunteer period before the May 1st volunteer call-in. In the past, these groups have included a 10th Mountain Division veterans group and various youth groups. We appreciate the support and dedication of all volunteers, and regret any inconvenience caused by this lack of availability. Of course, if you wish to volunteer, but the scheduled volunteer periods don’t fit your schedule, there are additional volunteer opportunities available to either individuals or groups. Please contact 10th Mountain for more information or to schedule your volunteer period.
Work includes: processing 8 cords of wood (chain-sawing, splitting and stacking), painting, refurbishing stoves, cleaning, re-vegetation, trail work, etc.
You will need to bring a pair of work gloves, a sleeping bag if you are staying overnight, and meals for the length of your stay. 10th Mountain provides light snacks and soft drinks. After work, roughly 4-5pm, we generally go for hikes or enjoy a post work mountain bike ride, so bring your bike if you like riding. As on regular hut trips, dogs are not permitted.
We encourage as many people as possible to hike or bike up to the huts for the work weekends. If you do drive, a high clearance, four wheel drive vehicle is strongly recommended. Jackal, 10th Mountain and the Benedict huts have very steep, rocky, extreme four wheel drive roads. The roads to Uncle Bud’s, Fowler-Hilliard, Skinner, Benedict and Betty Bear are bumpy, steep in places, wash-boarded, and may require four wheel drive . Gates, Estin, and Eiseman huts can usually be reached without a four wheel drive vehicle, unless the roads are wet, in which case the roads can be extremely slippery and four wheel drive and chains may be required.
Please sign up only if you are committed to working. Our volunteer coordinators will contact you a few days before the weekend you have signed up for, to get an idea about when you will be arriving and to answer any last minute questions.
Again, if you are interested in working but the above dates don’t work for you or are already filled, please ask to be put on our list of “Other Interested Volunteers.” We often need volunteers for special projects and welcome your assistance.
Work will include stacking wood and cleaning the hut to get ready for the upcoming winter season. Please bring: Water, lunch, work clothes and gloves, rain jacket, sunscreen, insect repellent, and personal items if you plan on staying the night. You will be on your own for dinner. Each person who volunteers will earn a free night in the Hutmasters Quarters at a Summit Huts Hut. (Janet’s Cabin, Francie’s Cabin or Section House).
Several Bear Sightings Reported in Lake County
Leadville’s Hoop Forest: A Magical Mystery!
By Kathy Bedell, © Leadville Today
Look, up in the sky! Look, there, in those tree branches. What are those? And how did they get way up there?!
Welcome to Leadville’s mystical Hoop Forest. Located just outside the city limits, this portion of the woods, where barrel rings seem to perform a high trapeze act among the lodge pole branches, has fondly been re-named the “Hoop Forest.”
It may not be a tourist attraction that many residents would share with a visiting hiker, however Leadville Today went out to investigate this unique, little-known place in the forest.
Back in the day, before ground transportation and overnight delivery, things were primarily transported to Leadville by rail. In fact, it was freight, not passengers, that made Leadville railroads profitable. And a lot of that freight was transported in wooden barrels.
These watertight, keg-shaped containers were able to withstand the stress of traveling across country by rail and could be easily rolled and stacked with little friction, once they reached their final destination.
Often times, folks think whisky or wine when it comes to these wooden barrels. But, all sorts of foods and goods were stored and transported in these containers. Fish, meats, and some vegetables were dried, salted, then stored and transported. Fragile items such as eggs would be packed in them, among layers of straw to keep them cooler and in one piece.
They were also good at keeping out the vermin. Which was important, because these containers were often buried in the ground, acting as refrigeration units. The barrels were often “re-purposed,” cut in half to serve as a cradle for a child, to water livestock, or as a large mixing bowl. No doubt, it was a barrel bonanza, back in the day.
But once a barrel had seen its last ride down the rails, and was no longer of use as a storage container, it was most likely taken apart, with any salvageable wood used for cooking or heating.
But what about those hoops, the rings that held the wood together? Many old barrel rings were left behind in stacks, piled high around what was then a fledgling lodge pole pine. It’s these series of trees huddled together in a small patch of woods on the edge of town, that make up Leadville’s mystical Hoop Forest.
Way up in the branches of 50-60 ft lodge pole pines are nearly 100 (and counting) old barrel hoops, clinging and swinging as if performing some elaborate trapeze act. The rusty circular fasteners seem to blend into the dark branches of the pines. Others sit at the base of a centurion tree, as if its trunk simply stepped into the center of the hoop just yesterday.
So how did those hoops get way up into the trees? And what about the ones lying on the forest floor encircling the trunk of a 60 foot pine tree?
Like most mysteries, there are a few theories. The first has a lot to do with location. The Hoop Forest sits on the edge of town, not too far from an old train stop where the barrels came off freight cars by the hundreds. Many of these barrels were unloaded right there at the scene. The goods unpacked from the barrels were then placed onto the shopkeeper’s wagon and transported into Leadville.
Like any shipping and receiving center, that part of the forest also became a “dump” for the containers of the day: wooden barrels with hoops. The good barrels were re-used; the broken containers, left to sit and rot in the woods.
Another theory is that the site is an old whiskey or brew operation. That would account for the sheer number of hoops still hanging in the trees, as it’s hard not to image there were hundreds, if not thousands, stored there at some point. Either guess is as good as the next, because it’s really the “how” they got up there – some nearly 50 feet off the ground – that begs the question.
When you look up, way up into the tree tops and see the old rusty hoops, entangled in the centurion’s branches, you can imagine their journey. They started out resting on a low branch, and begin being lifted up, up, up by the growing tree, foot by foot, reaching higher, ever higher into the sky, year after year.
You can imagine their long, cold winters, blowing about in the freezing weather. How many hoops started out on the journey? How many made it through the winter, still intact in the boughs of those evergreens come springtime?
Clearly, the hoop remnants on the forest floor indicate that some may have fallen from the tree along the way, or perhaps, never got to take the journey in the first place. But the hoops that survived, the ones that remain in the treetops, are just one more reminder of Leadville’s history and the folks who made it! Are YOU tough enough to hang?
All things considered, there’s really no better place for the Hoop Forest than Leadville! Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to come across it one day.
Writer’s Note: Where is the Hoop Forest? Well, if you don’t know, I can’t tell you; I’ve been sworn to secrecy. Some locals may be familiar with where this unique forest feature lives, but for the others, the only clue I can offer, is a quick video shot which may offer a hint – if you’re good at scenic bearings!
If you have an interesting story for Leadville Today, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leadville’s Magical Hoop Forest
All Aboard for Wild Flowers, Wildlife and a Flash Mob?
A choo-choo and some BBQ! Now what can beat that?!
Sure there’s the award winning BBQ from Del Anderson of Breckenridge, Colo. And you really can’t beat the views from the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad (LCSR) as it travels up the Arkansas River Valley through lush aspen and lodge pole pine forest. But this year, the Annual BBQ Train ride might be remembered for what happened at the very end of the trip.
Maybe it was the tang from the BBQ sauce, or perhaps the bit of wine with dinner, but just as the train was pulling back into the station, as the sun was setting over the two highest peaks in the state, a flash mob broke out.
Yes, complete strangers from Tennessee, Arkansas, and Kansas, heard the call of the dance craze “The Cupid Shuffle” over the train’s intercom system, and jumped up, joining the train staff in a memorable, spontaneous performance.
That’s just one of the things you might experience riding the Leadville train. Now in its 26th year, the railroad is offering some incredible package deals, many still left in the season. In fact, their zip and ride package has become one of their most popular ever, according to LCSR Marketing Director Kirstin Ayers. In the morning your group will ride the train up high above the valley floor, letting you off at the Top of The Rockies Zipline crossing where you’ll be picked up and taken zip your way through the San Isabel National Forest down to base camp. This four hour tour is perfect for adults and children giving them an opportunity to see untouched wilderness and is available throughout the train season website.
If an evening dinner and train ride sounds more your pace, then there’s still time to take advantage of the LCSR two new Stork Curve-Climax Specials including a light supper as the train goes to “the end of the line.” These will be 3 and 1/2 hour trips travel over the Arkansas River at its headwaters and see the beauty of the sunset in August. Take your pick of dates: Aug. 22 or Sept. 5, but do it quick as these tours are likely to sell-out. The train departs at 4:30 p.m. Cost: $55 for adult and $25 for children.
This time of year, the majestic mountain views from the train compete with what’s happening on the valley floor – wildflowers! And here’s your chance to see it on The Wild Flower Special train rides, but act quickly, as one of the tours is already sold out! There is still room on July 19 at 10 a.m. and on the Aug. 2, 10 a.m. ride.
See the alpine flowers at their peak, splashing the mountain world with vibrant color! Riders on this special train will join the LCSR’s experienced tour guides for a 20 minute hike through pine forests, aspen groves and open meadows. View a multitude of varieties of wildflowers at the water tower. Some flowers sighted include Indian Paintbrush, Lupine and wild strawberries. You may find anything from our “local” deer to a mushroom in a wet marsh. Remember hiking shoes, a water bottle and camera. This hike is for people of all capabilities and interests please call for more information: 1-866-386-3936.
And why no extend your day’s experience and add-on the Healy House Museum Tour! After the railroad wildflower tour, enjoy a catered box lunch on the lawn at the Healy House Museum in downtown Leadville, where you will also have time to enjoy a stroll through the unique heritage gardens. The gazebo frames the view of Colorado’s highest mountains, Mount Elbert and Mount Massive. The lawn is a good place to view Harrison Avenue and you can see why August Meyer chose the “capital hill” area for his home. Following lunch there will be a private guided tour of both the Healy house Museum and James Dexter’s cabin. Add-on cost is $20 per person and reservations are required.
The Wild Flower Train tour is $52 per adult and $26 per child; add-on the Healy House Lunch and Tour for an additional $20 per adult and $15 per child (under 12)
And if taking pictures is more your thing, then you don’t want to miss The Photo Special Train Rides which take advantage of Colorado’s autumn beauty! This tour goes all the way, an additional mile and a half, allowing you to see the full beauty of the Arkansas River Valley and will take 3 hours. Bring your camera and your jacket! And the best part? The cost s only the normal rate to ride the train! So grab your camera and other photography-loving friends and pick your date: Sept. 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28 with two different departure times of 10 a.m. & 2 p.m.
So take your pick, but whatever you do, don’t let summer go by without heeding the call for All Aboard!
It was a Grand Olde Time, A Glorious Time!
It was an action-packed Fourth of July weekend in Leadville. From foot races, to fireworks and markets to marches with nearly perfect weather to match! When it comes to 2-mile-high Independence Day Celebrations, this was one to remember.
Friday, July 4th kicked off with the Firecracker 5k, attracting about 150 runners for a fun, festive race through the west side of town. This year’s male and female winners had an interesting connection, as Logan Goodwich, 20 and his mother Elizabeth Goodwich, 56, both of Louisville, took first place in the male and female divisions.
“I’ve never won anything,” said mom Goodwich as she posed proudly with her son, who took top honors overall with a time of 17:58.
Filling out the podium were two Leadville residents: in second was Dustin Moore, 27, and Charles Bedfore in third place. The race is a fundraiser for the Leadville/Lake County Sports Hall of Fame.
Right after the race, people headed downtown like it was Boom Days! All to watch the Annual Fourth of July Parade sponsored by the Leadville/Lake County Chamber of Commerce. It was a sea of red, white and blue as businesses, events, and of course, local politicians marched down historic Harrison Avenue.
Independence Day ended with another spectacular fireworks display put on by the Leadville Lions Club. The Tony Hren Memorial Fireworks show is one of the group’s many summer events. This pyrotechnic show is sponsored in part by a generous memorial donation from Hren, who was also a former owner of the Sayer & McKee drugstore. And it seems that Hren’s former business, is putting on a colorful display of its own, as Leadville artist BA Dallas completed his mountain-inspired mural on the boards in front of the collapsed building (see photo above).
Summer is definitely underway in the high country – get out there and enjoy it!
Last “Rocky Mountain High” at Opera House?
When Chris Collins showed up at the historic Tabor Opera House (TOH) last week, to touch base about tonight’s show, volunteer Sally did a double take and thought she was seeing a ghost, wrote owner Sharon Bland on the TOH Facebook Page.
And if that’s the case for the artist, then Leadville can only hope to return the favor by showing off how glorious “Rocky Mountain High” summers can be. Collins and the Boulder Canyon Band won’t have to look very far off historic Harrison Avenue for inspiration to sing Denver’s poetic lyrics about natural beauty and how it helps transcend the human condition.
So if you’re a fan, the show starts tonight at 7:30 p.m. General Admission Tickets are $20.
Oh, and there’s one more reason you may want to catch this show – or some other event at the opera house this summer. Recently, owners Bill and Sharon Bland went “on the record” concerning the Tabor’s future. While they are still hopeful that they will find the right owner for the historic venue, “this will be our last summer,” said Bill Bland at a recent volunteer dinner. So, if you’ve been putting off seeing a show at this incredible Leadville gem, time’s a wastin!
Video of Chris Collins Singing Denver’s Sunshine on My Shoulder
Community Market Continues Saturdays Thru Sept. 6
Also tomorrow, the Leadville Community Market continues from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the First Mountain Bank parking lot in downtown Leadville. This weekly market will be held every Saturday thru Sept. 6 and features goods and services from local residents and companies. Included among them are Leadville’s “secret” gardeners and bakers, goodies from the Daring Chocolate and locally made Purdy Yummy Soaps.
They are also providing a Kids’/Young Entrepreneurs’ table. In fact, local youth Sam Frykholm, a 12-year-old crepe-maker was recently featured on 9News. Other money-making projects included Allie Collin’s Lemonade stand.
It’s Time to Sparkle Red, White & Blue, Leadville!
Happy Independence Day! Leadville will be celebrating the country’s 238th Birthday in its usual two-mile-high style!
Please note that there is one slight caveat, regarding the fireworks (see post below), otherwise, here’s the run down of events:
9 a.m. – Firecracker 5K
This fun community event usually has folks dressed in their most patriotic attire as racers follow the course which does a small loop through town, ending where it begins at the Lake County courthouse.
Cost is $15. Race day registration on court house lawn from 7:30 til 8:45 a.m. Race start is 9 a.m.
Proceeds support nonprofit Leadville/Lake County Sports Hall of Fame.
10 a.m. – July 4th Parade.
Sponsored by the Leadville/Lake County Chamber of Commerce this old-fashioned parade will sparkle with hometown pride!
Line up begins at 9:30 at the top of capitol hill and the parade will proceed down Harrison Ave. at 10 a.m., with Leadville’s finest all decked out in their red, white & blue!
After Parade – FREE FOOD take your pick – or do BOTH!
The Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue will hold its annual Ice Cream Social at the fire house directly after the parade.
Meanwhile, across town up at the Leadville/ Lake County Airport, staff will also be serving up some hot dogs and hamburgers from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. No one should go hungry, take your pick!!
Silent Auction Fundraiser for Mural at Art Gallery
New this year, is the Leadville Arts Coalition and Leomyka Gallery’s Silent Auction to raise money for a new mural. Many local artists have donated artwork, jewelry, and ceramics for the silent auction, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be available from 2-6 p.m., just in case you didn’t get your fill from the other celebrations!
Legacy Quartet Performs at Historic Tabor Opera House
Strike up the band; well, make that a quartet! Regardless, The Legacy Quartet will have the crowd tapping their toes and clapping their hands as they perform at the historic Tabor Opera House on Friday, July 4th at 7:30 p.m.
“The songs they sing come from the heart in a professional, but very enjoyable concert,” touts the opera house promotion. General admission: adults – 15, special family rate – 25.
Or better yet, make a night of it and add dinner, with the VIP package, including a delicious catered dinner, reserved seating, and a meet and greet with the performers. Price is $45 for adults, and $25 for children under 12. The historic Tabor Opera House is located at 308 Harrison Avenue in downtown Leadville.
Dusk – July 4th Fireworks
IMPORTANT: This year the Lions Club is asking the public to keep in mind that the high school is under construction and therefore parking in the area of the football field is limited. Plan ahead, and consider watching the show from a different vantage point, or make a night of it with green chili and margaritas on The Grill’s patio!
Let’s Go Fly A Kite! Up Where the Air is Clear!
Theater and Music: A Leadville Friday Night!
One of the best things about summertime is all the great live entertainment! And tonight, Friday, June 27 is a great example of that.
Original Plays Performed by Local Actors – Tonight!
In the mood for some original, live FREE theater? Then head on over to St. George Church at 4th and Pine Streets. A local group of writers and thespians have come together to form “Leadville Theater.” Tonight (June 27) will be there first presentation, consisting of An Evening of Short Plays. The show starts at 7 p.m. and admission is FREE.
The first play, “Vestiges,” tells the story of lovers who are given one hour to finish a conversation left undone for 25 years. The work is written and directed by Leadville’s Carol Bellhouse and stars Laurel McHarge and Curtis Imrie.
The second play is “Snow Scent,” which tells the story of a man and woman who find a way to heal a wound from the past on a trip to the Colorado Rockies. This plays stars Donna Schaefer and Jeff Harlow and will be directed by Susan Fladager. This play was also written by Carol Bellhouse.
Live Music at The Scarlet in Downtown Lead Vegas!
Treat yourself tonight to some live Soul, Rhythm and Blues by Johnny Rawls. And it sounds like Rawls has the street cred to back up some good jams.
He began playing professionally while still in high school with such stars as ZZ Hill, Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex and the Sweet Inspirations. In the mid-70’s, Johnny went to work for OV Wright as Wright’s band director. After Wright’s death in 1980, Johnny led Little Johnny Taylor’s band until 1985, when he began touring as a solo artist and made his first solo recording under the Rainbow label.
And tonight, the legendary Johnny Rawls will find himself on the corner of 4th & Harrison in downtown Leadville. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. and there’s no cover. The performance will also feature Glen Sherill and members of local band Stonefed. Sounds like The Scarlet is where it is happening tonight in Lead Vegas!
Johnny Rawls Singing Some Down Home Rhythm and Blues:
Visiting Groups to Clean Cemeteries, Summit Elbert
The summer season is in full swing, which mean lots of visitors, and taking the back streets through town to avoid all the additional traffic. But welcome one and all, especially those groups doing something extra special while they are here in Leadville and Lake County.
Annual Jewish Cemetery Clean Up This Weekend
Leadville is known for its cemeteries. People actually come to town specifically to spend time walking or driving through the Evergreen, Hebrew and St. Joseph Cemeteries.
This weekend will be no different. However, this group will also spend time cleaning up gravesides, as they’ve done every year since 1996. The 18th Annual Leadville Jewish Cemetery Cleanup project gets underway this weekend, June 27 – 29. Sponsored and B’nai B’rith Denver, the Young Leadership Network will be cleaning up on the grounds at Leadville’s Jewish Cemetery, located next to Evergreen Cemetery in Leadville.
Their weekend celebration will kick off Friday night, June 27 with a Kabbalat Shabbat and a kosher-style dairy pot luck at the Silver Dollar Campground at Turquoise Lake.
On Saturday, June 28 activities begin at 10 a.m. with a Shachrit service, followed by an oneg at Temple Israel (at the corner of 4th & Pine, 1 block west of Harrison Avenue). Rabbi Debra Rappaport, from B’nai Vail Congregation and Rabbi Eliot Baskin from Jewish Community Chaplaincy & Rafael Spiritual Healing Center of Jewish Family Service of Colorado will lead services.
During the early evening, the group will serve a non-dairy pot luck dinner and join the Community Meal at 5 p.m. served at St. George Episcopal Church (directly across the street from Temple Israel). Please bring canned goods to support the church’s ongoing meals program. A communal Havdalah Ceremony will follow the pot luck.
On Sunday, June 29, the muscle work begins with the annual clean up of the Leadville Hebrew Cemetery at 9 a.m. Free breakfast will be available for early volunteers. The group’s goal this year is the general clean up of the grounds, which will include cutting weeds, pruning tree branches, cemetery picket fence painting, and sprucing up soiled grave markers.
A graveside memorial service honoring those early Jewish pioneers buried in the Leadville Hebrew Cemetery will be conducted at 11 a.m. Each year the service is held around a different grave site that has been researched regarding the history of the deceased.
Following the memorial service, B’nai B’rith will provide a kosher lunch to thank all volunteers for their hard work and devotion to this annual mitzvah.
Clean up will continue throughout Sunday until approximately 4 p.m.
Starting in 1995, B’nai B’rith Denver has partnered with the Temple Israel Foundation to restore the cemetery after decades of neglect. The cemetery was re-consecrated in August 1999 and is currently accepting new interments. The partnership has remained and annual volunteer clean ups have been continued every summer.
Here’s a great video about the Leadville Jewish Cemetery Clean Up
Reaching the Top of Elbert for Fallen Heroes!
Is summiting one of Colorado’s 14ers one of your summer goals? Well, consider joining Cops on Top for their Mt. Elbert ascent this Saturday, June 28 to honor of the law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Every year on the last Saturday in June, Cops on Top teams from across the country set out to summit their state’s highest point. Last year, a team of 23 volunteers summited Mt. Elbert and they are looking for others interested in joining them this year.
Cops on Top has a mission of never forgetting the life, memory and sacrifice of our nation’s law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Whether the team is attempting to climb the tallest mountain or hike the highest hill, each team member carries with them the memory of the tremendous sacrifice the officers made to protect and serve that State. Certainly something to remember with memorial Day just around the corner. Thank you to all law enforcement, but especially the Leadville/Lake County officers for keeping the community safe.
Governor’s Summer Job Hunt for Youth Underway
Ah, that summer job of your youth. What was yours? Cutting grass? Bussing tables at the local restaurant? Babysitting? No matter what it was, someone probably helped you get that job. And now Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper can lend a hand as well.
Each year, Colorado’s longest running and most successful youth employment program helps tens of thousands of young people prepare for the uncharted territory of a first summer job. Since 1981, the Governor’s Summer Job Hunt program has connected high school and college students with Colorado employers willing to give them a chance to learn, put skills to use and see firsthand how a business operates.
“The program has a proven track record,” says Department of Labor and Employment Executive Director Ellen Golombek. “The Governor’s Summer Job Hunt has assisted more than half a million teens in the last three decades and this summer, professionals at our Frisco Workforce Center are ready to work with another generation of young job seekers.
As much as it is an employment program, with a wealth of job openings geared toward youth, the Governor’s Summer Job Hunt is also a training program. Workforce Center staff know that getting a summer job takes initiative but getting the job is only half the story. There are a lot of things a young person needs to learn in order to be successful and the Leadville Workforce Center provides assistance in résumé writing, interviewing skills and job search strategies to help young people gain a competitive edge in their job hunt. The Workforce Center’s commitment is to teach the youngest job seekers how to be successful, how to establish a solid work ethic and how to build the groundwork to their future careers.
For young people who are comfortable in marketing themselves to employers or want to do a self-directed job search, Workforce Centers offer an online job bank called Connecting Colorado (www.connectingcolorado.com). Registration at the website is quick and easy to use and Connecting Colorado has a listing of job opportunities for all job seekers including those who are making their first foray into the job market.
For teens who would like some help in their job search and for employers who would like more information about the Governor’s Summer Job Hunt, the Leadville Workforce Center is located at 115 6th St and can be reached at 719-486-2428.
Tabor Grand Hotel Undergoes $7 Million Renovation
By Kathy Bedell © Leadville Today
“Wowser, looks like they’re serious this time!” That was one of the comments made when this picture of the Tabor Grand Hotel’s renovation project was posted on the Leadville Today Facebook page.
Yes, they are serious. And while the Tabor Grand Hotel’s history is well-known, it’s present-day condition is even harder to miss, once you turn the corner onto Harrison Avenue. The scaffold-encased, historic beauty is undergoing a $7 million renovation. So, yes they are serious!
So who exactly are “they”? The Overland Property Group (OPG) out of Kansas City, Kan. bought the property in mid-Match of this year, after hearing that the historic gem was for sale, and in need of major renovation work.
“We came into the conversation in December of last year,” said Matt Gillam, OPG’s Vice President of Development. “But the opportunity to own and work on such a project was hard to pass up.”
And so far, most locals would agree that the new owners are the right people for the job.
The Tabor Grand’s last renovation was completed back in 1992. But for those who’ve been around long enough to remember, a lot of that work was a band-aid fix for what is considered to be one of Leadville’s crowning gems on historic Harrison Avenue.
And in recent years, the old gal was looking a bit worse for the wear, deteriorating one brick at a time, out onto the sidewalk at an ever-increasing rate, and danger to the public.
“Our intention is to thoughtfully preserve the building. To have the renovation done correctly,” stated Gillam, adding that this method would ensure another 50-70 years of life for the building.
The plan is extensive and includes a complete interior and exterior renovation of the building, nuts to bolts. On the exterior, that will include installing a new roof, sealing the brick, restoring all of the unique cornices, and bringing all those windows back to their original state, including the old ropes used to open and close them. Unfortunately, not a lot of the window panes are original, so OPG is working with the historic commission and a specialized window refurbisher to get double paned, energy effiecient windows milled into the current shape. And yes, the “Baby Doe Box” window will remain!
On the interior, it’s a complete overhaul for the 37 residential, one and two bedroom units. At present, work is already underway on the 6 top floor units. This includes all new appliances, tile, cabinets, paint, all of it! The OPG kept tenants in mind when developing the plan. In fact, 31 of the 37 residential units are still occupied. The plan is that once the top floor units are complete, some of the tenants will move up to those units, vacating the next round of interior work for the apartments.
“We worked hard in not having to displace any tenants during renovation,” said Gillam. And the low-income housing qualifications will remain in place for residential tenants as well.
So what about the street-level commercial tenants, who seem to be encased in scaffolding and signage these days?
“They all plan on staying on,” said Gillam. However, the renovation does not include the interior to commercial spaces, that’s up to each business, although several are considering a remodel.
Some of that interior commercial space will be the leasing office for Overland Property Group, including a new community lounge room.
“We are trying to make that space as historically relevant as possible, “explained Gillam. “We feel like we’re stewards to this building and want to remain true to the time period the building represents.”
One of the things that won’t be changing is the property managers, Terrence and Deb McNicholas. “They are great people, so we’re excited that they are going to stay on with us,” added Gillam.
So what’s the timeline from here? Obviously, weather is a primary concern. The roof is currently being replaced. Next is the brick and cornice work. The public can expect to see the scaffolding remain in place until Oct/Nov, or once the exterior work is complete.
It is actually two cameras, the live web cam and a time-lapse camera, which takes a picture of the project every 15 minutes. The end result will be one of those high-tech, time-lapse videos of construction from beginning to end. Leadville Today will bring that to readers when it’s available.
“Our goal is to be completely done by the end of this year,” concluded Gillam. “We want to make sure that the renovation that is done this time, preserves that building, which is such a dominate piece of history, not only for Leadville, but the entire state of Colorado. Once the project is complete, we believe, that it should win national awards and continue to be a pride for Leadville and Colorado.”
It’s good to know that historic Harrison Avenue will see one of its Grande Dames of architecture made over, just in time for her 130th Birthday. It’s time to party like it’s 1885!
It’s a good thing when you can get out and have some fun AND raise some money for local charities. So Leadville Today rounded up a list of some upcoming “fun”raisers. Take your pick, enjoy the summer, and thanks for helping raise some money for local non-profits!
All Aboard to Support Victims of Domestic Violence
The Grapes and Grains on Rails fundraiser for the Advocates of Lake County might be a new event, but no doubt it’ll coming round the mountain year after year. How can you go wrong when it’s good wine or beer and cruising on the Leadville train, taking in the evening sunset? This tour isn’t even offered at any other time. It’d be great to see it sell out! Here are the details.
Enjoy a selection of Colorado wines and beer from Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, and hors d’oeuvres while taking an evening ride on the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad. Tickets are $40 for adults which includes 2 drink tickets and $30 for children under 10. Boarding starts at 5:30 p.m. and the train leaves at 6 p.m. Reservations required by June 23, 2014. Call (719) 486-3936 (Leadville, CO and Southern Railroad) or (719) 486-3530 (Advocates of Lake County) for tickets.
Proceeds benefit the Advocates of Lake County whose mission is to assist any victim of crime, violence or other traumatic event. The Advocates work for positive change, seeking to promote a safe and healthy community.
Hospital Foundation Golf Tournament Returns
The St. Vincent Hospital Foundation is bringing back its annual golf tournament fundraiser with the Thin Air Classic next Friday, June 20. The tournament will be run in a 4-player team Scramble format. You can put your own team together or get matched up with other players. Registration opens at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start at 9 a.m.
Entry Fee is $75 per person with golf cart – $50/pp without cart and includes a continental breakfast, BBQ lunch, snacks, awards and giveaways.
And while the “golf” is always good at America’s Highest, Mt. Massive Golf Course, the prizes for this tournament should draw in good participation. Every golfer gets a $10 Golfsmith gift card, a golf club certificate, and if you’re good enough to score a Hole In One (LOCALS!) there is a $10,000 cash prize Sharp LCD Flat-Screen TV, set of Calloway Irons, Roundtrip Domestic Airfare for 2.
Strike Up the Band! The Knights of Columbus are sponsoring a Polka Dance on Saturday, June 28 from 7 – 11 p.m. The dance will be held at The Elks Lodge, 123 W. 5th Street in Leadville. Cost is $10 per person or $12 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased from Knights members or at the Holy Family Parish office at 609 Poplar Street. Call 719-486-1382 for more information.
It’s Films, Fun and Friday Night Theater Try-outs!
Who needs an air-conditioned cinema when you have Ice Palace Park? Well, for now, as long as the weather holds, no one!
That’s right, the Community Movie Night series is back and they’re kicking off the season this Saturday, June 14, showing The Lomax in Ice Palace Park. This loveable Dr. Seuss book hits the big screen as the tale of a young boy who encounters a cantankerous forest creature after venturing outside of his artificial city in search of a tree.
The show starts at dusk, which is generally about 8:30 this time of year. The movie is FREE. Ice Palace Park is located north of the Mining Museum (E. 10th Street Entrance). And be sure to check out the “Get Outdoors Celebration” (story below) for a list of all the other activities happening all day, before the first film in the Community Movie Night series.
This series of movies is funded entirely with private donations from the community. Here’s a full line-up of this summer’s movies, as well as some information about how you can become a sponsor of this great community event: INFO.
It’s Summertime – Join the “Get Outdoors Celebration”
Saturday, June 14 should be an action packed day in Leadville, including the “Get Outdoors Celebration”.
This is the first year for this event sponsored by the Lake County Recreation Department. All of the action takes place at Ice Palace Park, located just north of the Mining Museum (E. 10th Street Entrance).
Starting at 12:30 there will be a variety of kids events held throughout the day until the movie at 8:30 p.m. Below is the schedule of FREE events for the entire family. All events will start or take place at Ice Palace Park.
- 12:30p.m. – Bike Ride on the Mineral Belt Trail with Natalie LaVoie
- 1 p.m. – Qui Gong with Diane Mrkvicka
- 1:30 p.m. – Zumba with Jaden Skinner
- 2:30 p.m. – Story Time with Anita Harvey from the Lake County Public Library
- 3 p.m. – Kite Flying and Crafts with Felicia Roeder
- 4 p.m. – Tag and Other Games with Sarah Wells
- 5 p.m. – Free BBQ Dinner
- 6:30 p.m. – Kickball
- 7:30 p.m. – Music and time to relax
- 8:30 p.m. Movie in the Park featuring The Lorax
Kids Theater Program (and more) Returns to Leadville
Remember the theater programs for kids that Susan Fladager used to put on at St. George’s Church? It was back in the early 2000,. Well, good news, Susan is back in town and has teamed up with Leadvillite Carol Bellhouse to provide a bunch of Friday night events this summer. They will be mixing it up from poetry readings and slams, to reader’s theater and music. To kick if off, they’re having auditions for the theater portion tomorrow Friday, June 13.
Here’s the info:
Leadville Theater’s Summer of Fun will be held Friday, June 13 at 7 p.m. at St. George Church (W. 4th & Pine Streets). The try-outs are open to all ages (children and teens especially welcome), no experience necessary.
Reader’s Theater is minimal theater with no memorization, sets or costumes. Characterized as a joint dramatic reading, the time commitment required for rehearsals and performance will be under five hours. For information, call Carol Bellhouse at 719-486-1282 or Susan Fladager at 719-293-2287.
Celebrate the Red, White & Blue on Harrison Avenue!
Even though Flag Day isn’t officially until this Saturday, June 14, the replacement of a Harrison Ave. flag will hopefully inspire people to get out Old Glory and wave her proudly. It’s time to celebrate the red, white and blue!
Leadville Today readers may remember last September’s story (LINK) about the new flag hoisted up the 50 foot flag pole atop the Tabor Opera House in historic downtown Leadville. The new 10 x 15 foot banner was hard to miss and created a renewed sense of patriotism on main street.
Unfortunately, Old Glory met up with Old Man Winter this year, and the huge flag was a bit worse for the wear by spring.
“Sad news!” reported Tabor Opera House owner Sharon Bland on the venue’s Facebook page on April 28. “Our huge and beautiful flag fought through the winter, but March and April came in like a lion with winds that broke the cable.”
However, with feet of snow on the roof, it would be a while until the helpers were able to get to the pole for repairs. The flag had to be removed and replaced but first the tangled cable wire had to be straightened out.
Finally, last Saturday, June 7 a core group of citizens rallied once again and got the job done. And it was the Leadville/Lake County Fire Department to the rescue for the most delicate part of the task. The fire rescue team turned the repair into a training exercise, extending their ladder truck to its very end to reach the top of the flag pole.
“We couldn’t have done it without them,” explained Tabor Opera House owner Bill Bland. “No one else could have reached the top of the flag pole to get the cable untangled.”
Great job! The Thank You list also includes – among others – Leadville VFW Post No. 859 – who donated the flag, Donny and Deb Miller, Sharon and Bill Bland, Heather Kovalaski, Manager at True Value – who donated the new cable. and of course, the Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue. Three cheers for the red, white & blue!
Summertime Blooms: How Does Your Garden Grow?
And Now that School is Out for the Summer . . .
Library Summer Reading Program June 17 – July 31
Readers of all ages will explore all things scientific this summer as Lake County Public Library presents “Fizz, Boom, Read” during its summer library program. Activities include science experiments, robot building, Grossology 101, nature exploration and more.
The 2014 Summer Reading Program is open to young people, preschool through young adult, with programs, prizes, reading club, and more. The Summer Reading Program takes place Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from June 17 through July 31.
The reading group will also be participating in the Boom Days Parade on August 2. Registration for “Fizz, Boom, Read” begins on June 17. For more information, stop by the Library, or call (719) 486-0569. Download a brochure below, from the Library website, or pick up a paper copy at the library.
Four Weeks Until the Fourth – Join the Parade!
What are you doing four weeks from today? Well, if you’re typical patriotic Leadvillite, you’ll be celebrating the USA’s 238th Birthday! That’s right the Fourth of July is only four weeks away, so better start making your plans.
And if you’re smart enough to be staying in town and having friends and family come to Leadville, why not do it up right and march in the parade? Here are all the details from the chamber:
The Leadville/Lake County Chamber of Commerce is seeking any and all businesses, organizations, and community groups who would like to submit an entry in this year’s Fourth of July parade, to be held on Friday, July 4th at 10 a.m.
As our country celebrates its 238th birthday, Leadville will dress up in flags and patriotic colors and host a classic 4th of July parade straight down Harrison Avenue. If you or your organization is interested in joining this parade and celebration, contact the Chamber of Commerce to get signed up.
The parade will begin at 10 a.m. All entrants will be lined up by 9:30 a.m. in front of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum on 9th Street.
Immediately following the parade the Independence Day festivities will continue with various community BBQs and ice cream socials both here in town and out at the airport. The day’s public events will wrap up with one of the best high altitude fireworks displays in Colorado. Please contact the Chamber of Commerce at (719) 486-3900, email at email@example.com, or stop by the Visitor Center at 809 Harrison Avenue for more information or to get signed up for the parade!
Leadville Business Celebrates 20 Years on the Avenue!
Mining Hall of Fame Inductees Announced
The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHF&M) announced the 2014 inductees last week.
Representing the domestic and worldwide metal production, education, and health and safety sectors of the industry, this year’s four inductees cover a diverse cross-section of the mining industry.
Harry M. Conger III, Günther Franz (Frank) Joklik, Ellen Swallow Richards, and Dr. Alfred Weiss will join 223 other mining industry pioneers at the 27th Annual Induction Banquet and Ceremony on September 13, 2014. They were selected for being visionaries, leaders, and ambassadors, both within their own sectors and across the industry at large.
Harry M. Conger III Harry M. Conger was a great role model and strong advocate within Homestake Mining Company and among his industry peers on behalf of environmentally responsible, safe, profitable, and high-performance operations. As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Conger was instrumental in revitalizing and rebuilding Homestake into an industry leader in technological advances and environmental protection. Full Biography.
Günther Franz (Frank) Joklik Through his contributions in exploration, project development and operations management as Kennecott President and Chief Executive, Günther Franz (Frank) Joklik did much to strengthen Kennecott as a company and assisted in restoring the competitiveness of the U.S. mining industry. Full Biography.
Ellen Swallow Richards Ellen Henrietta (Swallow) Richards is generally recognized as the woman who founded ecology. She was the very definition of a pioneer in such diverse fields as chemistry, geology and mineralogy, mining and metallurgy, environmental science, public health, home economics, and education. Full Biography.
Dr. Alfred Weiss Dr. Alfred Weiss was a true visionary in using quantitative methods and digital computers to aid mineral exploration, plan and design mines, operate mineral production facilities, and integrate the disparate information resources throughout a mining company into a modern management information system. Full Biography.
By Kendra Kurihara, Melanzana
Amazing! It’s been 20 years since Fritz Howard moved to Leadville with two sewing machines in the back of his two-wheel-drive Nissan pick up. He soon found an office upstairs in the Bank Annex building on East 5th Street.
We were called “Eggplant” back then, and there was no Polartec fleece to be seen anywhere. Our earliest products were GORE-TEX gaiters, overmitts and custom bibs for climbing and skiing. Since those dreamy days in 1994, Melanzana has slowly and cautiously evolved into a downtown Leadville institution.
Join us between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. for a community-wide downtown sidewalk sale (look for the balloons), free Lions Club hot dogs, groovy acoustic music by Local Honey, and a gigantic pile of half-price Micro Grid Hoodies.
Wear your oldest Melanzanas for the Vintage Melly Contest, take a factory tour, and check out our Melanzana History display. Cool! And THANK YOU to everyone that has ever supported us in any way, we could not have made it this far without Leadville’s wonderful community.
Local Memorial Day Services Well-Attended
Memorial Day Services were held at the Tenth Mountain Division Monument at Tennessee Pass and the Lake County Veterans Memorial on Memorial Day, May 26. Both services were well attended, with a standing room only crowd.
It was commemoration #55 of “Remembering Our Fallen Comrades” as Tommy Thompson with the Tenth Mountain Division Foundation directed the program as the Master of Ceremony. The keynote address was given by Lt. General Benjamin Freakley, a former Commanding General, 10th Mtn. Division. It was an all-round community event, including the Lake County High School Band playing some patriotic music under the direction of Jonathan Cole.
The ceremony also made note of the recent bill (HB-1089) signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper in Leadville concerning the Tenth Mountain Division commemorative license plate (see story) . The ceremony was concluded with a 21-Round rifle salute and the retiring of colors. Visitors enjoyed a nice BBQ lunch at the Lodge at Ski Cooper afterward. It was a beautiful day for the service.
Just a couple hours later, a second ceremony in Lake County commemorating Fallen Heroes was taking place on Highway 91, and eventually at the Veteran Memorial at Evergreen Cemetery.
The 3rd Annual “Killed In Action Recognition Ride” along Fallen Heroes Memorial Highway (91) saw 26 riders this year. No doubt, the snow on Saturday and Sunday might have scared a few people away, however those that rode in honor of military killed in action were treated to an awesome bluebird Colorado day.
Motorcyclists rode into the Lake County Veterans Memorial joining a good crowd of community members for the official ceremony, emceed by Leadville Mayor Jaime Stuever. The program included speeches USMC Staff Sergeant Joshua M. Buck, Leadville Judge Neil Reynolds, and Justin Van Natta, who served with Nick Palmer in Iraq.
The new names etched on the Veterans Memorial were revealed and the Laying of the Wreaths by the Elks Lodge #236 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars 2 Mile High Post # 859, rounded out the service. There was a reception at the Elks Lodge after the ceremony.
Widow Left Behind from Fire Needs Help
This one’s a real heart-breaker, so be advised. But Leadvillites always pull together to help out their neighbors!
Many LT readers may remember the May 15 fire at the Lake Fork Mobile Home Park south of Leadville. If not, here’s the LINK to the original story.Well tragically, it turns out that this was the home of Dale & Jeanine Bowers, described as a “dear elderly Leadville couple,” on the First Baptist Church of Leadville’s Facebook Page. In the initial report from the Lake County Office of Emergency Management, it was stated that a male was removed from the smoke-filled unit and eventually transported to the St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco in serious condition. The following update was posted on the Church’s page, including a crowd source funding link where people may contribute to the deceased’s services as well as his widow’s dire situation:
Hello church & community folks. Just over a week ago, a dear elderly Leadville couple, Dale & Jeanine Bowers were struck with a tragedy as their home was destroyed by fire. After being rescued and resuscitated, Dale passed from this world to the next last Saturday, and Jeanine is now left with virtually no resources. We are praying that God would provide the funds for Jeanine to properly say goodbye to her husband and find a new place to live. FBCL will be doing what we can to continue to love this lady and help her to carry the burden that she now has. If you’d like to help, feel free to designate a gift for her at the church on Sunday and/or give through Paypal through the following link that a lady in the church has set up: LINK.
Dr. Wayne Callen to Retire, Effective July 2014
After thirty five years providing family medicine in Leadville, Wayne Callen, MD will retire on July 11, 2014.
Dr. Callen came to Leadville in 1978 to be employed with a medical group which included Dr. Kehoe and Dr. Philbin. In a short time he joined their practice and has been a dedicated health care professional in Leadville and Lake County ever since.
Callen was as passionate then as he is now about rural medicine. In the late 70’s rural family doctors were involved in a broader spectrum of care then they are today. It was an exciting time for a new doctor.
“It is rare these days that a physician cares for generations of family members. Caring for the children and grandchildren of my initial patients has been very rewarding,” said Dr. Callen.
Currently Gary Petry, MD and Jackie Duba MPH, PA offer family medicine at the SVH Leadville Medical Clinic and will continue to do so. The hospital does plan to add an additional provider to the clinic medical staff in the near future.
“Everyone comes to retirement age at some point. And though I truly value my patients, the family practice, St. Vincent Hospital staff and my time spent here, it is my time to retire,” remarked Callen “My immediate plans are to travel overseas extensively and find some palm trees in the warmth of the sun.”
Peggy Frank, SVH Leadville Medical Clinic Director is available to answer any patient questions at 719-486-1264. Frank stated that “Doctor Callen will surely be missed, it is my goal to carry on his commitment and dedication to patient care.”
LCHS Lions Career Fair To Be Held This Thursday
This Thursday, April 24 over 500 students will get a chance to talk with invited professionals from a wide array of occupations at the 16th Annual Lake County High School/Leadville Lions Club Annual Career Fair.
“This year, students can look forward to speaking with an Astronaut as well as a Professional Sports Agent,” said Carol Glenn, the Career Fair Chairman. “And of course, all of our Lake County business people will be sharing their career advice as well. We’re grateful for the strong support this event receives from the Leadville community; it’s incredible.”
The Fair begins at 8 a.m. at Lake County High School and is offered to LCHS students as well as students from surrounding high schools and Lake County Middle School students. The format allows students to spend approximately 50 minutes in their areas of interest where they can interact with a variety of presenters and get a chance to ask questions. Over 90 presenters are expected to attend. The Career Fair presentations will be done not only by business people from Lake County and surrounding areas but also by professionals from other parts of the state.
“The point is to give students as many chances to ask questions and explore possibilities in a healthy and safe environment,” said Bob Deister, a community volunteer for the Career Fair. “And, we hope that by exposing the students to a new range of choices and dreams, they will also bring new questions and focus to their current education.”
One of the changes that presenters can expect deals with parking logistics as a result of the renovation underway at the high school. Since space is already at a premium under present construction conditions, Career Fair organizers will be shuttling presenters to nearby parking at the Community Field as well as the Presbyterian Church. Presenters will be allowed to drop off supplies at the back doors of the gym as usual, but then will be asked to park off-site at the two nearby locations where they can pick up a shuttle bus back to the high school.
Colo. Scenic & Historic Byways Celebrate 25 Years!
No doubt, you’ve seen the signs. For most local commuters, their relevancy flies by like the many other roadside signs declaring highway memorials or cleanup crews. But this year, Colorado’s Scenic and Historic Byways program is celebrating its 25th anniversary. It has arguably earned a “pull over and check it out” status, even for locals.
It all started back in 1989, when Colorado began the Scenic and Historic Byways program to promote the state’s exceptional travel opportunities. This month, March 2014, actually marks 25 years for the program, an anniversary recently marked by Governor John Hickenlooper signing the proclamation last week at the State Capitol.
In fact, eleven of Colorado’s 25 byways are designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as America’s Byways®, which gives Colorado more national designations than any other state. All of these scenic highway routes have names highlighting their unique attributes and sights. For Leadville and Lake County it’s Top of the Rockies. That designation was established in 1998 by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation making it one of the eleven America’s Byways® designated in Colorado.
So be sure to take notice of these highway markers and enjoy your ride on the Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic Byway.
Want to find out more? Want to read all of the great scenic and historic information about the Top of the Rockies route that passes through Leadville and Lake County? LINK.