8-8-88: The Story of Leadville’s Cosmos
This is the story of Cosmos, about the day he came to Leadville on 8-8-88.
No doubt, you’ve seen his house on historic Harrison Avenue. It sits front and center, in between Leadville’s City Hall and the fire house. Perhaps you’ve stopped during a morning’s stroll, to read the sign: “Divine Living God Cosmos.”
This is the home of Artin “Cosmos” Panosyan, the holy-man who can often be seen taking in the afternoon sun on his front porch. This Bulgarian native is hard to miss, even in a community where long-haired, bearded men are a common sight. During the winter months he can be seen moving about in the snow and cold, bundled in his native wool. In recent years, his gait has slowed a bit due to a broken hip, of which he continues to recover – without meds or surgery! (LINK).
But for the sake of this post, this is the story about the day Cosmos came to the Magic City. This tale was told many years ago, over beers in the Silver Dollar Saloon.
It was August 8, 1988 when Cosmos arrived in America’s highest city. Like many, he came for the fresh clean mountain air, for the health benefits. He also considers Leadville to be one of the most special, most spiritual places on earth. Cosmos and the Cloud City were about to intersect, as he looked for a new home on the same day he arrived.
As he considered his options, one rose to the top. It was an 1888 Victorian which had an asking price of $88,000. So, as any awakened holy man understands when the stars – and the numbers – align, the choice was somewhat made for him. That would be his new home.
“I want to buy that house,” he announced in his thick Bulgarian accent to Lake County Realtor Larry Anderson. Now remember, this was Leadville 1988 and the local real estate market had a wide array of homes and commercial properties; some people had simply walked away after experiencing the most recent mining bust, brought on by the closure of the Climax Mine.
“But it has to be today,” he stated, and placing his well-worn, over-stuffed backpack on to Anderson’s desk, Cosmos added. “And I pay cash.”
Of course in those days, most realtors were just glad to see a buyer walk in the door, but one that opened up a satchel filled with hard cold cash, well that was something else altogether. Anderson explained that it was getting late and that he wasn’t sure that the sale could be completed by the end of the business day. To which Cosmos replied, “It has to be today, and I’ll pay $88,000 – cash.”
No way, I remember thinking when I first heard that story. There’s no way that Cosmos came into town on 8-8-88 and bought an 1888 Leadville Victorian for $88,000 – in cash.
“Yah man, it’s true,” Cosmos recently confirmed.
“The bank had to stay open late, so that they could run it through the machine,” the holy man explained, referring to the cash counting apparatus that processed his backpack of bills.
I always felt like the tale was true. It’s such a quintessential Leadville story, and one I’m glad I was finally able to confirm was genuine.
But why would he be carrying around so much cash? Why would a Bulgarian holy man be traveling about with a backpack filled with bills? Just who is this Cosmos?
Ah, a different tale, for another time, about one more interesting character, living In The Ville.