Mining Museum Grant Helps With Collections
The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHF&M) announced last week that it has received a grant from a charitable organization to support its mission.
The Summit Foundation, headquartered in Breckenridge, is providing $6,000 to purchase a new server and PastPerfect collections management software. The grant will permit the NMHF&M to improve staff efficiency by networking its collections and membership databases. Eventually, records from the collections database will be available online so that the public will be able to learn more about the tens of thousands of mining artifacts, mineral specimens, photographs, and documents in the collections.
NMHF&M Executive Director Stephen Whittington commented, “Support from The Summit Foundation helps us to improve our operations and fulfill our mission. We are grateful that a foundation based in Summit County sees fit to provide grants to non-profits here in Lake County.”
The mission of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is to tell the story about mining, its people, and its importance to the American public. The museum is open year-round.
Information about the museum and its facilities can be accessed on the NMHF&M web site at www.mininghallofame.org.
HR & Assistant to BOCC – You’re HIRED!
Earlier this month it was announced that Whittney M. Smythe-Smith has joined the Lake County Government team as Director of Human Resources and Executive Assistant to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).
Smythe-Smith comes with experience in Human Capital Management and Organizational Leadership, with a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Creighton University and a M.B.A. from Mesa State College.
According to a press release issued by Lake County Government, officials view Smythe-Smith’s appointment as a sign of their commitment to attracting and hiring industry leaders to serve the citizens of Lake County. When asked about her appointment, Smythe-Smith stated that “it is with great pleasure that I return to Lake County to serve the citizens of this great community.”
The Lake County Government, founded in 1861, is dedicated to serving the community through encompassing, professional public service. Lake County employs 173 full and part-time employees and has offices located throughout the county including the County Courthouse, the Annex Building, and the Lake County Public Works Office.
Contact HR@co.lake.co.us for questions or further information.
Moolick Donation Improves Musuem’s Sustainability
The Board of Directors of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHF&M) announced at the 29th Annual National Mining Hall of Fame Induction Banquet held September 24 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, that Esther Moolick has donated a quarter of a million dollars to support the organization. Mrs. Moolick is the widow of Richard Moolick, long-time Board Chairman and 2009 Hall of Fame inductee. The gift kicks off a campaign to raise $6 million for a Permanent Sustaining Fund.
Chairman of the Board Frank McAllister made the announcement to an audience of 450 assembled to celebrate the induction of four new members into the Hall of Fame. He also announced that the formation of a Permanent Sustaining Fund Committee composed of former mining executives is underway. The committee’s charge will be to build upon the Moolick gift through nationwide fundraising to create a permanent fund, the proceeds from which will be used to support the mission of the NMHF&M and contribute towards strengthening the organization’s sustainability.
NMHF&M Executive Director Stephen Whittington commented, “Mrs. Moolick’s donation demonstrates her continuing faith in the mission of our organization and honors the important legacy Richard Moolick left through his years of Board leadership and personal financial support.”
The mission of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is to tell the story about mining, its people, and its importance to the American public. It is located in Leadville, Colorado, a historic mining center.
Vortex WorkSpace To Open In Leadville
While the concept of shared work space has been prevalent in urban processional circles for years, the idea has finally reached the mountain top, right here in Leadville.
Welcome Vortex WorkSpace! Located at 1205 Harrison Avenue across from the Lake County Public Library, this 21st century office complex is the creation of Jane and Dave Horning. The couple is hosting an Open House next Thursday, Sept. 29 as an opportunity for the community to check out the new digs and see what type of rental space is available. Come by from 4 – 7 p.m. for a tour of the facility and dinner.
So what is the shared work space concept?
Co-working space is a shared workspace where freelancers and other independent workers can go and get the basics of an office – desk, internet access, conference room, shared printers, and mail service. Members buy time in the space from a few hours a week to full-time, sometimes even having a dedicated desk or small office.
At Vortex, the daily and monthly rates range from a Daily-Table use at $23/day to the $525 private office space with conference room privileges. Monthly rates do include a professional mailing address, kitchen access including free coffee and tea, print/scan/copy availability and free high-speed wireless internet.
In fact, it’s likely that last asset that will bring in the millennials, in constant search for a connection. This summer Leadville’s standard wireless access points started to go black afterhours, as many reliable portals were shutting down their wireless internet access along with their businesses at night. And for the younger set who keep more non-traditional hours, huddling in their car on Harrison Avenue or at the Laundromat in the early morning hours, waiting for a connection to finish an online class or make travel plans has been getting old. The new Vortex WorkSpace is the answer! It’s these young entrepreneurs who will appreciate the availability of After Hours Entry, from the standard Monday thru Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. hours listed as standard business hours on their sales literature.
Typically, the shared workspace concept is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Co-working spaces also provide the positive attributes of social gatherings for a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with people who value working in the same place alongside each other.
Started by Dave and Jane Horning, the couple stated that they got the idea for the shared working space from Nicole Thompson, Director of the Leadville/Lake County Economic Development Corporation. While the building’s past had some issues that forced out a local charter school after several scares with gas issues, the Hornings have spent the past year addressing all of the pertinent safety issues that many older buildings in Leadville face. With a final seal of approval from the inspector the couple is ready to roll out their latest venture.
“We are confident that independent professionals will discover Lake County’s amazing assets,” said Jane Horning in a recent tour with Leadville Today. “Now they have the perfect place to work!”
So if you’re looking for a new work space or perhaps ready to move out of that basement home office, stop by next Thursday, Sept. 29 for the Votex WorkSpace Open House from 4 – 7 p.m. at 1205 Harrison Avenue.
Mountain Medicine: Practicing Meaningful Medicine
This is the third and final installment in Leadville Today’s series: Mountain Medicine. Part One introduced readers to Dr. Lisa Zwerdlinger, Leadville’s first female physician. Part Two reported about Rocky Mountain Family Practice (RMFP) and the healthcare services they provide in Lake County. Today, LT readers are given Part Three, which offers some insight into the future of healthcare in North America’s Highest City:Leadville.
by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor
Many seek the mountains for healing, whether physical or spiritual. Through nature, isolation, or a purposeful role in a small community, the high country offers an improved life – in more than silver and gold – for those who go looking for it.
Healthcare has changed through the last century, from survival to meaningful medicine. While mining and mountaineering continue today with their usual dangers, a 21st-century mountain town, vaccinated and kept mostly warm through the winter, survives to a different standard. Clean air, water, and a wholesome lifestyle, along with mental health, freedom from addictions, and a better, more organic diet are now the peak priorities. While it’s easy to fall into persistent cure-seeking, most of the above-mentioned ailments are best battled with a strong will, and an equally willful support system.
Dr. Lisa Zwerdlinger has been that support system for many in Leadville, who uses her growing relationships to make a round-table of service providers available to the people in her community. This year, RMFP celebrated ten years in business. And once built, it didn’t take long for it to blossom, and attract the other services that have gathered in and grown around it.
Aside from the practitioners at RMFP, both Cloud City Medical, providing medical equipment and supplies, and counselor Dr. Teresa Haynes are housed in The Leadville Professional Building which is anchored by RMFP. Solvista Health is located across the way on Highway 24 South. Continuing to develop a medical hub in the heart of Lake County that expands every year, is exactly what’s in store moving into the next decade. Click to connect to a list of all providers at RMFP.
Paralleling the life of her business, Dr. Lisa also starts a new chapter, personally. Like many successful professionals, her twenties were focused on her education. In her thirties, she worked to acquire wealth and adventure. In her forties she became a mother and learned about what it takes to raise a family. Now, at fifty, her focus shifts to peace and simplicity, heralded by a recalled memory.
In her formative years of practice, Dr. Lisa received some valuable insight:
“Patients were turned off, sometimes,” she explains, “I always thought, by my enthusiasm, but it was really about my aggression.”
She could have easily shrugged off the feedback and found success burning-and-turning patients in Aspen or Vail, but instead, it motivated her to change. Many of those years in her twenties she spent with an American Indian healer in her hometown of Conifer. Dr. Lisa recalls the task of long hours sitting by a stream, waiting for it to tell her something. As with any tenacious pupil, it took a long stretch of skepticism before she learned anything from the obscure lesson.
In fact, it was in 2015 when a long-time friend, reached out to Dr. Lisa after seeing her name pop up in the papers. The friend had a gift for her, something her son had made. It was a sculpture called The Healer. When Dr. Lisa saw it, she recalled what she had seen by that stream many years ago. It was an old woman with graying hair and a wrinkled face, who had already finished her education, raised a family, and tasted the clout of successful determination, but who continued her work for others, as a healer.
Today, Dr. Lisa still works every day at RMFP, but she also takes time to explore the world with her family. They have been to Nepal and Africa, learning about the way others in the world choose – or are forced – to live.
“I have a purpose in Leadville, and my purpose is to heal my community.”
Looking to the future, what does Dr. Lisa think the most pressing health issue is facing Leadville and Lake County?
“High cost,” she says promptly. And no one has battled that as fiercely as Dr. Lisa. Offering highly discounted rates for uninsured and under-served patients is what she’s known for. That, along with telling it like it is, and spending all the time that it takes to tackle a problem, to make that lasting connection with a patient.
And in a remote, mountain town like Leadville, where the quality of interdependence is magnified, practicing meaningful medicine is worth more than gold!
Brennan Ruegg is from Akron, OH, birthplace of poet Rita Dove and NBA Champion LeBron James.
Wagging Tails Mean Good News in Leadville Today
Dogs: No doubt they are a part of the family when it comes to high country denizens.
Most ride along in cars with their owners, or can be seen taking in a sunny sidewalk lunch on historic Harrison Avenue. So it would only be natural that visitors to Leadville Today would also be welcomed with their furry friends.
On Monday, Sept. 12 USA Today newspaper announced that the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad (LCSR) had been nominated for the Best Dog Friendly Tour or Activity in the country. As most residents know, pups who’ve been introduced to the conductor can embark on the scenic train ride with their owners.
The story outlines how dog-owners can give their pooch the vacation he deserves by taking him along to one of 20 attractions, tours and activities, hand-selected as the most dog-friendly in the nation by the team at BringFido. “You and your pup are sure to have a blast!”
According to the national newspaper’s post, readers and fans can vote for their favorite pooch-freindly destination. And judging from the social media posts from LCSR guests, they love being able to bring their four-legged family members long – free of charge – for a ride on the rails. In fact, earlier this month the train played host to a Meet Up Group of Colorado Bernses Dog lovers, and the photos say it all!
Vote for your favorite, once per day until polls close on Monday, October 10 at noon ET. Winners will be announced on Friday, Oct. 14. Stay tuned to see how the Leadville train ranked and don’t forget to vote:HERE.
Mountain Medicine: Giving Birth to Babies & Business
Last week, Leadville Today introduced the reader to Dr. Lisa Zwerdlinger, Leadville’s first female physician. Today, in the second of a three-part series, it’s about the business that she and husband Jeff Foley began: Rocky Mountain Family Practice (RMFP), which celebrates 10 years in 2016.
by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor
The sun rises over the Rocky Mountains ushering in a new day, and sometimes, new lives into the hands of its people. In the Pioneer days traditional birth in a remote community like Leadville implied little more than gripping a cross and biting down on the belt. Mothers and children often perished in childbirth , much like the businesses and ideologies they brought with them. Others not only survived, but thrived.
A business is born in much the same way as a child. It’s held and carried in gestation, an increasing weight, requiring its own share of nourishment. And while it grows, its true shape and size are hidden from view. Until the time comes, often unexpectedly, when it springs forth with new life.
Dr Lisa, as she is affectionately known to her patients, broke ground for Rocky Mountain Family Practice (RMFP) in 2005. She and her husband Jeff Foley, (or “president and vice president,” in her words), were pregnant with her first child Yakov.
In 2006, both Yaki and the business were born. RMPF had opened its doors “on a penny and a prayer,” says Zwerdlinger.
“We didn’t have a money tree growing out back. We really hawked everything we owned, because we simply believed in Leadville and in quality healthcare. We wanted this place to be a family practice,” Dr. Zwerdlinger explained.
For the first few years while raising her newborn son, Dr. Lisa was the only practitioner at RMFP. But when she became pregnant with her second child, Layah, she knew she wouldn’t be able to maintain the same level of service doing it all herself. So in 2007, two more members were added to the family: with the arrival of daughter Layah, came Amy King P.A.C., joining the practice as physician assistant.
Since then, RMFP has grown substantially, not only offering a varety of local services, but continuing to sustain positive working relationships with healthcare providers in neighboring communities, including Centura Health.
RMFP offers wraparound care, a term describing a collaborative effort which develops an individualized plan for a patient. In fewer words, Dr. Lisa and her team offer the advantage of relationships they have formed in Leadville, and beyond.
Molly Monahan, acupuncturist and massage therapist, Sally Ayote, dietician and nutritionist, Kevin King, chiropractor and husband to Amy King, and a mental health physician from SolVista Health all spend one day of their week at the Leadvilel medical clinic. Understanding that traditional, by-the-book medicine–Dr. Lisa’s forte–is not for everyone, these alternative practitioners attack a patient’s health issues from all sides to maximize their chance of success. And most private health insurance policies cover all of their services.
“We aren’t trying to market these things; there is evidence that these modalities work,” explained Dr. Lisa. But, she adds, “I don’t have all the answers!”
But if she doesn’t have the answer, she probably knows someone who does. Dr. Lisa has not only fostered relationships with her aforementioned colleagues, but has also been delivering Leadville’s babies at St. Anthony Hospital in Frisco, for years. Since the local hospital made the choice to no longer offer the option of giving birth in Leadville, Zwerdlinger continues to bring in the next generation of Leadvillites, albeit in a neighboring county.
And if defined, long-term partnerships are any indication, Dr. Lisa is consistently the physicians that private and public entities in Lake County look to for leadership. For years, Zwerdlinger has been the doctor selected to be the occupational health physician for Climax Molybdenum Mine, Lake County, the City of Leadville, High Mountain Institute, Colorado Mountain College, Lake County School District, and several rafting companies. And don’t forget Centura Health, the healthcare provider many in the Rocky Mountains look to for medical services; Dr. Lisa has been part of that team for years. With an ever growing circle of partners and relationships, Zwerdlinger and the RMFP team continue to prove that they are in it for the long haul.
RMFP serves all demographics: young, old, insured and uninsured. Dr. Lisa surveyed household income within the county and created a sliding-scale mirrored after that of the Public Health Department to offer affordable visits and care to low-income and uninsured patients.
“A regular office visit, if you were wealthy and to pay cash would cost around $170. I’ll give it to someone who really needs it for $40. And I do that because I care. If I can help, I will help,” Zwerdlinger said.
Yakov and Layah are now eleven and 9 years old respectively; RMFP is ten, with new members to the team constantly being adopted into the family.
When it comes to healthcare in a small town, Dr. Lisa and RMFP hit all the marks: medical integrity is in tact and working partnerships are in place. It’s truly a one-stop-shop to set the people of Leadville on the road to good health.
By the way, what does Dr. Lisa think is the most pressing health concern facing Leadville today? The answer may, or may not, surprise you. Look for it next week as Leadville Today takes a look into the future: the future of RMFP, of rural medicine and of healthcare in Colorado. Stay Tuned!
Brennan Ruegg is from Akron, OH, once known as The Rubber Capital of the World.
Mountain Medicine: Healthcare in Leadville
Colorado history buffs may have heard the name Doc Susie, an American doctor who tended to thousands of early settlers in and around the Fraser, Colo. area.
Known as one of the foremost female Pioneer physicians, Susan Anderson, M.D. (1870-1960) practiced medicine in the rugged mountains, treating families, ranchers, loggers, railroad workers, and even an occasional horse or cow, which was not uncommon at the time.
Often paid in firewood, food, services and other items that could be bartered, Doc Susie never became “rich” practicing her skills, but she was beloved by her community who was grateful to have a doctor on hand in such remote, harsh environments, with danger lurking around every mountain pass.
Today, injuries and ailments incurred in small rural communities like Leadville might range from altitude sickness and mining accidents to gunshot wounds and car crashes. And while new highways of communication allow rural doctors access to pertinent medical information, miles of physical barriers still stand between Leadville, and the state-of-the-art medical equipment and expansive staffs that facilities with bigger bank accounts can offer. Therefore, when winter conditions close mountain passes, limiting road and air traffic, even today’s Doc Susie must be adept, adaptable, and available.
For nearly two decades, Dr. Lisa Zwerdlinger has been that doctor in Leadville. In fact when she arrived in 1998, she was Leadville’s first female physician. So in the spirit of Pioneer physicians, Leadville Today is bringing readers this three-part series about Dr. Lisa, as she is affectionately known by the thousands of patients she has served throughout her 18 years of practicing medicine in Lake County.
Leadville’s First Female Physician: Breaking Down Barriers
by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor
Lisa Zwerdlinger was raised in the small town of Conifer located in Jefferson County just off Highway 285 if you take the “back way” down into the city. Her father was a career military man of the United States Air Force who retired when his daughter was born, and died only twelve years later. Zwerdlinger’s mother carried no formal education and supported her three children working as a receptionist.
Zwerdlinger left for the city to attend the University of Colorado for eleven years, but she always knew she’d return to a small town in the mountains. She completed her four years of undergraduate studies in Boulder, graduate school and respective residencies in Denver.
In 1998, having graduated from medical school and ready to enter the workforce, Dr. Lisa was offered jobs in all of Colorado’s most affluent cities and mountain towns. But after attending a rural health fair and finding the greatest need for high-standard evidence-based care in Leadville and Lake County, Zwerdlinger decided to return to a place much like Conifer, much like home. Arriving in 1998 she became Leadville’s first female physician.
Dr. Lisa’s goal was to provide the same standard of care for the people of Lake County that anyone would receive in Denver or Aspen. She joined Dr. Wayne Callen and Dr. John Perna at the private practice of Lake County Medical Center, where for six years she formed relationships with the community she would continue to serve for nearly two decades now.
As Dr Perna motioned to retire in 2004, Zwerdlinger was pregnant with her first child and posed with decisions about her future and that of her family. She was once again offered a high paying position in the city of Denver, but already 1,000 feet higher and 100 miles away from the metroplex, Zwerdlinger reflected on the six years she’d already spent in Leadville, and again on its needs in healthcare.
Dr. Lisa recalls a heartfelt conversation with her husband, Jeff Foley, that year in the parking lot of the local hospital, where they weighed the decisions before them, against the future they wished to have for themselves.
“Jeff and I looked at each other and said ‘We love it here. We like Leadville. We don’t want to move to the city. We don’t want to raise kids in the city. We want to live here,’ So we hawked everything we owned, and built this.”
Dr. Lisa is of course, referring to Rocky Mountain Family Practice (RMFP), which she and her husband began in 2005, and which continues to operate today as Leadville’s one and only private healthcare practice.
Next week, in this three-part series, Leadville Today will bring readers Part Two: Giving Birth To Babies and Businesses. Stay tuned and stay healthy.
Rocky Mountain Family Practice is located at 735 Hwy 24 South, and may be contacted by phone at (719)486-0500.
LT Contributor Brennan Ruegg is from Akron, OH, birthplace of marbles and Judy Resnick.
Freeport Named as Top Community-Minded Company
For the fourth consecutive year, Freeport-McMoRan has been named to the Civic 50 list of most community-minded companies in the U.S., and this year also was named the top company in the materials sector. Climax Molybdenum, a subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan, owns and operates the Climax and Henderson molybdenum mining operations in Colorado.
The Civic 50 is conducted by the Points of Light Corporate Institute, a resource for companies looking to build and expand effective employee volunteer programs. The national survey and ranking initiative sets the standard for corporate civic engagement and recognizes companies for their commitment to improving the quality of life in the communities where they do business. Developed through a partnership with a group of researchers, community and industry thought leaders, the initiative reflects leading insight about how corporations can connect with communities in a twenty-first century economy.
Numerous community programs and efforts implemented by the company were evaluated as part of the process and overall ranking. As the No. 1 ranked company in its sector, Freeport-McMoRan was featured in the best practices section of the 2016 Civic 50 report for its University Teams, or U-Teams, program.
“The U-Teams program is an example of a successful partnership between our business and target universities, faculty and students to advance mining-related education and and increase the pipeline of new hires,” said Tracy Bame, Director-Social Responsibility and Community Development, Freeport-McMoRan Americas. “It engages internal leaders and personnel beyond the Corporate Social Responsibility department to use their expertise and one of the company’s core competencies bringing value to higher education partners and the company.”
One of the nine U-Team partnerships has been established with the Colorado School of Mines. Members of the UTeam work on strengthening relationships with administrators, faculty and students, helping to establish degree curriculum that is relevant for the current workplace. They also support the school in numerous ways, including funding mining-related degree programs. Recently, Freeport-McMoRan worked with the school to upgrade their underground mine training facility and classroom space used for hands-on training in the latest mining practices including safety and environmental stewardship. The company has also provided scholarships in the past, and currently provides an average of 150 paid summer internships each year to students who attend partner universities, including CSM.
Bame added, “We’re honored to receive this distinction for our continuing efforts to connect our business values to the needs of the communities where we live and work.”
Working on the Railroad: Improvements on the LCSR!
While the tracks of the Leadville Colorado and Southern Railroad that transport tourists through miles of alpine beauty haven’t changed much in their 28 years of operation, the popular Leadville attraction has made some noteworthy cosmetic and safety upgrades this summer. Plus there’s still lots of great fall foliage trips ahead. So here’s some train news!
For guests’ enjoyment, the scenic stop at the French Gulch Water Tower has undergone significant improvements. A popular photo stop, the old water tower provides a picturesque backdrop at the only disembarkment spot on the return portion of the 2 ½ hour train trip.
There is now an expanded viewing area with newly installed safety railings, giving those photo opportunities an extra special background for family trips. Closer to town, locals will notice the added signage at railroad crossings. The note basically give people a direct line of communication in case of any issues, as well as identifying licensing numbers for the RR. It’s safety first on the rails!
At the historic depot located on E. 7th Street, the north end parking lot has seen some upgrades, most notably the additional boarding staircase. No doubt the Leadville train’s popularity has increased bringing everyone from flatlander families, to high school reunions, to all groups in between, up to the high country for one of the most scenic rides on the rails. This summer the Leadville Colorado and Southern Railroad has seen record numbers as word spreads about this tourist train, particularly when it comes to staff!
“On a whim, we drove up to Leadville to ride the Leadville Colorado & Southern RR,” posted LCSR guest David Long on the train’s Facebook Page. “And we LOVED it!! The staff both on the train and in the station were extremely friendly and helpful. Got a history lesson in Colorado railroads and the mining booms that brought them here. Best of all — for a small up charge, we got to ride with Pat the engineer in the locomotive for part of the trip. Quite an experience and something you just can’t experience anywhere else!”
And the season’s not over yet. If you’ve rode the train before and looking for something a bit different, then consider their evening Stork Curve-Climax Special BBQ ride coming up on Friday, September 2. It’s an evening of award-winning BBQ,and incredible alpine views await your evening ride up the Arkansas River Valley to the end of the track, near the Climax Molybdenum Mine. Tickets are still available at $57/adults and $30/children. Please call to make reservations as seating is limited and this tour usually sells out. 719-486-3936 or 866-386-3936.
Next Saturday, August 27, the whistle will blow for a special fundraising tour. The Grapes and Grains on Rails Fundraiser for the Advocates of Lake County will be an evening ride and include some Elevation Beer, a sample of Colorado wines and appetizers. Tickets are still available at $40/adults and $30/children under 10 years and can be purchased by calling 719-486-3530. Proceeds benefit victims of domestic violence in Lake County. This special ride is one of many local fundraisers that the train partners with and another great example of local philanthropy!
One of the Leadville Train‘s most popular package is the zip and ride package. 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 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 is only the normal rate to ride the train! So grab your camera and other photography-loving friends and pick your date: Sept. 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25 with two different departure times of 10 a.m. & 2 p.m.
The last day of the 2016 Train season is October 9. Until then it’s All Aboard! Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad is located at 326 E. 7th Street in Leadville. Call 719-486-3936 or 866-386-3936; online at Leadville Train.
Leadville Liquors: Celebrating 20 Years in Lake County
If you hear some extra champagne corks popping down at Leadville Liquors today, it’s to mark their two decades in business! That’s right, owner Deann Skala has been bringing the Spirits of the High Country to Leadville and surrounding areas for twenty years today! Congratulations!
To mark the occasion there will be some great in-store specials, some extra-special giveaways (not your usual swag!) and some live radio broadcasts at the liquor store located at 1619 Poplar Street in Leadville.
“I want to thank all of my loyal customers for 20 years in business,” said Skala about the August 15 celebration. “It’s important to let people know that supporting a small local business like mine allows me to employ people and give back to the community as well.”
But the reality of running a successful liquor store, is that it’s the business of hard work. It all started for Skala nearly 20 years ago in Leadville Today when she bought the liquor store back in August, 1996. She wasted no time in getting to work on improvements.
“The first thing we did was pave the parking lot and put in a walkway in 1997,” recalled Skala during a recent interview with Leadville Today. “The (former) back door is now the front door.”
There were major upgrades to the interior as well. Today when you walk into Leadville Liquors, the inventory & selection, display cases and electronic sales system are a far cry from the really small old pack house with the plywood shelves.
Since then, it seems that Leadville Liquors has been constantly improving and expanding, making it the largest discount liquor store in the area.
Big Selection, Competitive Prices.
“I’m pretty much the cheapest guy around,” stated Skala. “And I try to keep my prices that way. We’re all hard-working, blue collar people and we deserve to have a break.”
In many ways, Skala’s business model is one that has worked well in Lake County. It’s certainly a thriving venture and not just because of its product! Skala’s hard work, determined growth, opportunity-seizing methods, and dogged determination make up a good play book for anyone considering to start a business in Lake County.
Today the Leadville Liquors building is four times the store’s original size, most of that being storage and refrigeration space. Because, in the liquor business, in order to stay competitive, you need to have the storage space to stock up on the good deals distributors can offer, passing the savings along to the consumer, motivating them to buy local.
Storage is king! Expansion = increased profits!
Ever the competitive business woman, Skala knows that there are options. “I get down to Apple Jack (Liquors in Denver) prices,” she states, knowing that some locals still pick up their moonshine down in the big city. “I can’t always beat their sales, but I meet their regular prices.”
Some would say it was the big renovation in 2002 that took Leadville Liquors to that next level. The subsequent expansion involved buying the property to the east of the liquor store. When the property came on the market, Skala seized the opportunity and bought the lots and the old, barnlike structure.
Of course there are always the unforeseen events that test a business owner’s mettle as well. In 2005, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) underwent a major construction project to widen Highway 24. That’s when the sidewalks and middle turn lane were added to that stretch of locally known Poplar Street. Skala was faced with another upgrade project, but not one she necessarily planned or budgeted for. But when your business is located adjacent to a major highway project, you roll with it and mitigate any negative impacts.
One bourbon, one scotch and lots of beer!
Unfortunately, by the time CDOT got done with their original plan, Leadville Liquors was left with a pile of “sand and cigarettes” next to the drive-up window. In addition, the reconfiguring of the highway at that juncture left people thinking that the drive thru window was a thoroughfare to wherever they were going.
Eventually Skala had to pull a building permit and spend thousands of dollars building a more welcoming entry way into her liquor store. Today the burm located east of the store provides a lovely burst of color in the summer, and pays tribute to Leadville’s mining heritage with an original ore cart perched in the center.
Today Leadville Liquors stands as one of the biggest discount liquor stores in the area.
“You don’t run a small business in a small town without living in it,” Skala states matter of factly when asked about some of her keys to success. When first starting out, it was Skala keeping the doors open during the day, and a couple of people working the night shift; now she employs 10 people as well as seasonal employees when needed. But Skala understands that as a business owner, the buck stops with her, when someone calls in sick or simply doesn’t show up for work, she often pulls the extra shift.
Community relations and involvement is another key factor to business sustainability, she believes. If you didn’t know, Skala was the creator of the annual wine tasting in Leadville. Not only did it provide Leadvillites with a fun winter event, showcasing the liquor store’s offerings and teaching folks about wine, but it also raised money for local organizations.
And while Skala officially passed on the “wine-tasting baton” a number of years ago, the Miner’s Masquerade Ball and Wine Tasting continues to be one of Leadville’s premiere winter events.
“My goal was to give something to the hard-working blue collar Leadville people: More choices and lower prices,” concluded Skala. Mission accomplished!
Twin Lakes: Dining at the Dayton, Drinks at Malamute
Residents who lived in Leadville 100 years ago had it right. They knew exactly where to head when their small mountain community got packed with Front Range denizens looking to get up into the cool mountain air. They headed south, to Twin Lakes!
And today Leadvillites are no different. So if you’re looking to get a little elbow room, and take in some incredible cuisine and views, then head south to the Twin Lakes Inn and the Dayton Dining Room.
This quaint historic dining room maintains its original name, dating back to 1800, while serving up the today’s freshest dishes and enticing wines.
“Our meals feature comfortable Colorado and American cuisine served just the way you love it!” explains Chef Andy, the guy at the helm of the Inn’s restaurant.
In recent years, this restaurant in the southern part of Lake County has continued to secure its reputation for serving up delicious dishes from salmon crab piccata to slow-smoked pork ribs. And while they focus on dinner service from 5 – 8:30 p.m. daily, they do offer some afternoon bar fare from 2 – 4:30 p.m., including a burger and some salad options.
Guests can relax in the Malamute Saloon with a cold beer or cocktail or outside on the patio overlooking Twin Peaks. You just might see someone you know or make new friends!
Please note that dinner reservations are strongly suggested at 719-486-7965. Chef Andy notes that once the August race season starts, weekend will be extremely busy, so plan ahead.
However, he added, in September as the season winds down they have some fall fun planned, so stayed connected with the latest happenings at the Twin Lakes Inn via their Facebook Page.
The Twin Lakes Inn, Dayton Dining Room and Malamute saloon are located at 6435 E State Highway 82, in the village of Twin Lakes, Colorado.
Johnny Canoe: It’s Good To Know Some Things Just Don’t Change
by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor
“It’s good to know that some things don’t change,” this comment gleaned from Facebook refers to Johnny “Canoe” Gwaltney, of Twin Lakes Village, who elaborates saying, “I’m the only guy that’s still around, and still doing what I’ve always done.”
He is referring to his canoe rental venture, Twin Lakes Canoe and Kayak Adventures (TLCKA), which in its sixteenth year of operation continues to thrive. Gwaltney was even able to escape this last winter season to sunny Buena Vista, all on paddle money.
The winds of change even sweep through Twin Lakes Village, gem of the Sawatch Range in the southern portion of Lake County; businesses change hands, and people come and go (usually ‘going’ in wintertime). But Johnny Canoe is proud to be as perennial as the aspens.
In the summertime, you’ll find him lounging in his canoe hut, which is easy to spot just a half block off Highway 82 in the lakeside village. He’s usually picking away at his guitar, sandaled feet propped up in his office chair, the only indication that this even is an office. Old photos, paddles, Big Mouth Billy Bass, and signs reading “GET NAKED” cover the walls of the cabin, signs of a life lived in Jimmy Buffett style. An impromptu studio is set up in the corner with a few instruments, encouraging musical collaboration with the wayfarers and Colorado Trail hikers who often pass through Twin Lakes. In a way Gwaltney is the quintessential Twin Lakes Villager, making a lifestyle of what he loves to do, where he loves to do it. Ever smiling, welcoming, and ever challenging the traditional mode of success modeled in the big city.
If you can’t guess by his name, Johnny Canoe has got canoes, and he’s willing to share them. Twin Lakes Canoe & Kayak Adventures (TLCKA) offers canoe, kayak, paddleboard, sailboat, and rave runner rentals, for visitors and locals to take out on the pristine Twin Lakes Reservoir for a day or overnight. He also serves Turquoise Lake throughout the summer. TLCKA arranges fishing tours and group events by request as well.
Summer will find Twin Lakes Reservoir at its warmest (not warm at all), and autumn welcomes the turning of the aspens which are ubiquitous on the lakes. Schedule a time to go peacefully a-rowing on one of Colorado’s most hidden and precious treasures.
TLCKA is located at 6451 Colorado 82, Twin Lakes, CO, and the office phone number is (719) 251-9961. Visit their website for much more on the services they provide at http://www.twinlakescanoeandkayak.com
Eagles Nest Bought by Japanese Co. for $13.5 Million
By Kathy Bedell, © Leadville Today
After months of swirling rumors from local economic development pundits, it was NOT Vail Resorts, but rather the Japanese investor Masayuki Tsukada who quickly and quietly bought the Eagles Nest Apartments in Leadville for $13.5 million – cash.
And while the deal may come as a surprise to some, the purchase of one of the largest housing developments in the county, confirms what middle to low income residents have been talking about for years: affordable housing is getting harder and harder to find.
So when the news broke, it didn’t take long for the Leadville Today (LT) social media platforms to light-up regarding a real-life issue that up to this point, seems to only be a political talking point packed full of excuses.
“I hope rent doesn’t go up again,” writes Michelle White, an Eagles Nest resident. “Most everyone here is here because we are middle class and just can’t afford rent elsewhere – and we make too much to go into low income housing. I’m worried. I’ve already seen people move because of the cost of living issues for the middle class out here. Any chance this isn’t actually happening?”
In fact, residents should get used to the trend as Leadville and Lake County gears up for another historic Boom cycle. And while local officials continue to put their efforts, attention and lots of tax-dollars into go-nowhere economic development efforts, residents brace for another shift in trying to make ends meet.
“The rent for these people has gone up considerably,” writes April LaCome Fetters, adding, “I hope this new owner doesn’t raise it even more. I know people living here that are struggling as it is.”
For many weighing in on the Eagles Nest sale, nostalgia played a big role, recalling the apartment complex’s sorted and soiled past. Originally built atop Fremont Pass in the old “company town,” to house the hundreds of underground miners working at the neighboring Climax Mine, like many of those structures, it was relocated down to Leadville in the mid-1960s.
“I think Stonehenge was the actual name of the apartments in the 70’s/early 80’s,” chimed in long-time Lake County resident Sharon Lee Weatherall Galey on the LT Facebook page. Her comment continued, explaining the complex’s varied names from Miner’s Park, to present day Eagle’s Nest, which Scott Bradley re-named the 50+ year-old development when he purchased it for $3 million back in 2007.
But for many residents, it was the litany of nicknames that the designated low-income housing units garnered over the years that seemed to rise to the top. From Smurfville (during the years it stood as an offensive blue beacon), to cockroach city (as described by former resident Gloria Ennis, although other readers refuted this claim, offering that cockroaches can’t live at 10,000 feet, as well as other former residents that indicated cockroaches were not part of their experience), to the more distasteful “Knife and Gun Club,” referring to the criminal activity the units were known for during the 1990s, there’s no doubt that Eagles Nest has its own special history.
So what about the future? Well, in a deal that was closed within thirty days, according to Jason Blevins’ story in The Denver Post, it’s the type of trend residents are expecting, as another Boom cycle for Leadville and Lake County begins to ramp up. As history lovers know, it’s simply part of the Boom and Bust heritage of this mountain community, rather than a “new historic era,” as recently touted by one local official. Unfortunately, the “need for affordable housing” seems to be more of a political talking point than a substantive plan as things head into the November election season. And the truth is, that at makes a large percent of low-middle income renters more than a little nervous.
“Why would a holding company that specializes in high end event planning and resort spas, guest houses and hotels buy Eagle’s Nest?” wrote Jeanette Jones. “It’s going to be interesting to see what the developer has planned.”
Why yes, yes it is, and Leadville Today will be here to keep you informed.
What the Politicians are Saying About Affordable Housing
Alpine Furniture Company: Ten Years, New Location
After ten years making beautiful custom furniture in Leadville, the Alpine Furniture Company has rolled at a new welcome mat at its brand new showroom at 1609 N. Poplar Street.
Now celebrating its 10th year in business, the Alpine Furniture Company (AFC) was born in the spring of 2006 and is owned and operated by Jason and Jill Hall. They have been slowly moving from their former location at the corner of Poplar and 9th Street to their new-build location in between Parker Physical Therapy and Leadville Liquors.
The Leadville furniture company is showcasing its new digs with a variety of special events to be held throughout the summer, according to owner Jill Hall. But the business is now open seven days a week and the new digs provide a fresh, new-construction space to showcase all of the interior needs for your mountain home.
“We’ve brought in some fun new gift ideas, like the GoVino bottle openers and decanters,” explained Hall, adding they have some wonderful design accents for any room made by Leadville artists.
With the updated design center, customers can come in and select their own fabrics for headboards or sofas and then move on to select the perfect wood or stain to compliment that design.
“All of our manufacturing is done here in Colorado,” the couple describes on their company website. “Our designer and builder have years of experience in making fine and rustic furniture, and have been together since day one. We are passionate about using local re-claimed, and recycled materials.” They can accommodate custom orders. Ask for a free quote!
Their summer hours are Monday thru Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and on Sundays 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. So stop in, or keep your eyes and ears open for a Grand Opening sometime over the Fourth of July Weekend, including light refreshments and give-aways.
The Alpine Furniture Company is located at 1609 N Poplar Street, Leadville, CO 80461. They can be reached by phone: 719-839-1683, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or check them out online: HERE.
Women’s Mining Coalition Wins NMHFM Award
The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2016 Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award will be presented to the Women’s Mining Coalition at the 29th Annual National Mining Hall of Fame induction banquet on September 24, 2016 in Las Vegas, NV.
Every year, the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum (NMHF&M) selects an individual or entity that has demonstrated ongoing, innovative work educating the public, policy makers, educators, or related institutions about the importance of the mineral and mining industry to our everyday lives. The awardee is selected from a pool of nominations reviewed by the National Mining Hall of Fame’s Prazen committee.
After an unprecedented election of women to Congress in 1992, geologist Kathy Benedetto saw an opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. and educate these newly elected women lawmakers about minerals exploration and mining. Kathy recruited the help of two other female geologists, Ruth Carraher and Debra Struhsacker, and together they organized what would become an annual Fly-In to meet with our nation’s policy makers. Women’s Mining Coalition (WMC) evolved from that first Fly-In in 1993 and its membership continues to actively educate and advocate for the mineral and mining industry.
The Fly-ins garner the attention of our legislators and federal agencies and send the message, “A strong mining industry is vitally important to our nation, our communities, our families, and our livelihoods.” WMC members emphasize that many jobs all across the country depend on mining and practically everything we use in our daily lives is the direct result of mined products.
WMC has recruited its membership such that it has representatives from coast to coast and from all aspects of the mining industry including geologists, engineers, metallurgists, miners, environmental experts, attorneys, mining vendors and suppliers, energy producers, and other related fields. WMC members advocating for the varied mineral and mining sectors are able to provide policy makers with first-hand information about the technological advancements and environmental stewardship of today’s mining industry. Particularly effective among policy makers is the fact that WMC members are not typical lobbyists; they are daughters, wives and mothers as well as highly qualified mining industry professionals.
“The Women’s Mining Coalition embodies the spirit of the Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award through 24 years of ongoing mining advocacy and education activities,” Frank McAllister, NMHF&M Board of Directors Chairman commented. “Their membership has had a tremendous influence and impact on promoting all aspects of the mining industry and spreading the message “Everything begins with mining. Everything!” We are proud to recognize their efforts and bestow WMC with this prestigious award.”
More information about the Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award, this year’s inductees into the National Mining Hall of Fame, and the Annual Induction Banquet to honor them can be found at http://www.MiningHallofFame.org or by contacting Francine Webber, Events Manager, National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum at 719-486-1229 or via email at Francine@MiningHallofFame.org.
The National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum located in Leadville, CO is the only federally chartered mining hall of fame and museum in the United States and is the premier showcase of American mining, telling the story about mining, its people, and its importance to the American public.
Mining Museum Receives Grants for Signs, Project
The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHF&M) announced that it has received grants from three charitable organizations to support its mission.
The Summit Foundation, headquartered in Breckenridge, is providing $5,000 to fabricate and install permanent interpretive signs at the Matchless Mine. The grant will provide essential support to create interpretive signs that will enhance visitor experiences at the historic Matchless Mine and will increase sustainability for the NMHF&M. The project will improve how visitors learn about the significance of Leadville’s mining and its impact on the history of Colorado and the United States.
The Denver Foundation’s Greenwood Fund has granted $1,500 for a collection rooms storage improvement project. The NMHF&M will use the grant to purchase museum-quality shelves and boxes to reduce crowding of mineral specimens and mining equipment currently in storage.
An anonymous trust also donated $1,000 for interpretive signs at the Matchless Mine. Visitors to the silver mine, once owned by Horace and “Baby Doe” Tabor, could carry mock-ups of the signs with them on self-guided tours during the summer of 2015. The NMHF&M plans to install permanent signs before the start of the 2016 tourist season.
“Philanthropic support is critical for museums such as ours to undertake projects that improve visitor experiences and collections stewardship,” said NMHF&M Executive Director Stephen Whittington. “We are grateful for the confidence these organizations are showing in us by sending project support our way.”
The mission of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is to tell the story about mining, its people, and its importance to the American public. The museum is open year-round. The surface structures of the Matchless Mine are open from late May through late September each year.
Information about the Matchless Mine can be accessed on the NMHF&M web site along with additional information about the museum and its facilities.
Good Times, New Times at the Historic Pastime Bar
By Kathy Bedell © Leadville Today
One of the truly unique things about Leadville is that its history is still very much alive. It’s not fabricated, or imitated, or re-created. The same brick buildings that once saw such notables as Doc Holliday, Horace Tabor and the Unsinkable Molly Brown cross their thresholds, are still standing. You can walk right into those same old saloons, and order up a beer and a burger, in the very spot that these Leadville Legends once stood.
So it’s important to note that a new chapter is being written in the history books of The Pastime Bar & Cafe at 120 W. 2nd Street in Leadville. And if history repeats itself – as it has over and over again in this legendary mining town – the odds are favorable that the last operating business from Leadville’s notorious Red Light District on old State Street will continue to shine its neon lights, beckoning folks in for good times.
This Thursday, Dec. 31, at the stroke of midnight, as party-goers ring in the New Year, the Pastime will officially change hands from Roy Seme, to Dawn Todd and Nathan Fisher. Congratulations! And as tradition would have it, in such a town as this, there’s a big party planned. But before you hear about the new plans, it seems good order to take a look back.
Chapter One: The Beginning
For anyone who enjoys a bit of entertainment with their suds and spuds, the Pastime Bar was unmatched at the height of Leadville’s rebel-rouser days. When the joint first opened back in 1878, it was a dance hall and gambling saloon on infamous State Street (now 2nd Street), the former Red Light District. The Pastime’s early history cites different names and owners for the business, among them Maxey Tabor, son of Horace Tabor.
In 1879, it was known as the Atheneum Theater. In those early days, it was considered the most popular, the most spectacular amphitheater in Leadville. During this short-lived entertainment craze, theaters offered physical endurance contests – male and female running and walking matches. The races, prize fights, and wrestling bouts were often special Sunday afternoon features. At the Atheneum, one of the most popular acts was a trapeze artist trundling a wheelbarrow back and forth across a tight rope, which hung directly over the heads of patrons, enjoying the merriment below.
And while the new owners are more likely to continue with the dollar-bills-stuck-to-the-ceiling tradition (ask when you visit) to honor the bar’s heritage, they also plan to bring some new flavors to the historic cafe.
“I’ve always wanted to be a chef, to have a restaurant where I can cook some of my famous BBQ,” said Fisher who hails from Michigan, but has lived in Leadville for 8 years and currently works in the flood and fire restoration business. “So when the conversation came up with Roy (Seme) to buy the Pastime, we were like ‘Yes, let’s talk!’”
Chapter Two: Good Times on Old State Street
Since the 1920s, The Pastime has 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 (1942+), Army officials had declared State Street off limits, due to its lingering reputation. This made it perfect for local folks looking 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 a time, until most of the old bordello and gambling halls vanished into history. The early 1950s brought the last great fire to the street, leaving only The Pastime and The Pioneer, located next door, which presently operates as a condominium complex.
But if there’s any kind of fire that the new owners need to be concerned about, it’ll be from the heat coming off the BBQ smoker, trying to keep up with the demand for Nate’s famous BBQ. Even the smoker itself is one-of-a-kind, made locally by Mike Abeyta.
So what can BBQ aficionados look forward to? Nate’s BBQ will be dry rubbed with those special flavors smoked right into the meat. Fisher has family recipes that he has been perfecting since he was a young boy. Those seasonings will be rubbed into the same first class Scanga beef and pork that Pastime regulars have come to expect. So look for some brisket, pulled pork, and beef back ribs on the rack, in addition to those famous Pastime burgers.
As for BBQ sauces, Fisher has three recipes that diners can add – to their liking – at the table: a green chili sauce, Nate’s famous BBQ sauce, plus a slightly hotter version of that same recipe, which Fisher kicks up with some cayenne pepper and of course, a couple of secret ingredients.
If it’s making your mouth water, then head down to The Pastime this Thursday, Dec. 31 at noon when the new menu will be unveiled. One of the other things that locals will notice right off is the expanded homemade side dish options the new menu will offer: baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw and baked macaroni and cheese, to name a few. In addition, The Pastime will now offer a children’s menu. And don’t worry, those famous burgers aren’t going anywhere . . . except in your mouth! Why mess with success, explains Dawn, when the Pastime has repeatedly received the best burger in town award among locals for the past nine years.
Chapter Three: The Semes on Second Street
In fact, the last operating business on historic State Street has always pulled in the crowds. It was back in 1938, when Roy’s father, Frank Seme purchased the building and business and renamed it The Pastime Bar and Cafe. The business’ hospitality and popularity continued into the 1950s. At one time, there were 13 girls on the floor, and two bartenders. The Pastime remained in the Seme family, as Roy along with his wife Jerry, kept up the family tradition with their daughters Lorinda, Tina, and Tammy, until Jerry’s recent passing in March 2015.
Yes, it was this family that made sure that the last remaining saloon from Leadville’s notorious Red Light District, where there once were 64 saloons, kept its doors open during Leadville’s most recent bust cycle. And while the place won’t be the same without the Semes, especially that fiery red-head, the Pastime’s historic significance to Leadville will be maintained. The beautiful back bar with its oriental style, different from any bar – old or new – in Leadville, has its roots in Oro City. The booths are reminiscent of the Gay 1890s decorating style, complete with large hand painted mirrors over each table that pay tribute to Leadville’s colorful past.
That heritage will be preserved. In fact, one of the advantages of passing the ownership baton to a former employee is that the old stories will be passed along to visitors, not in guidebook fashion, but rather in the tradition of oral histories, and tales told over cold beers.
As most locals know, new owner Dawn Todd has worked for the Semes on and off for years, mostly between 1999-2009. While Dawn was born and raised in Leadville, it wasn’t until June 6, 1999 that she stepped foot in the Pastime, it was for dinner with her family, which today includes 23-year old son Brandon and (almost) 5-year-old daughter Madison, who she has with Nathan.
It was during that first meeting, that Jerry announced she was looking for a new bartender, and asked Dawn if she had any experience.
“I told her ‘No,’” said Dawn, recalling one of their first conversations. “And Jerry said, ‘well, good then you’re not ruined!’” Sounds about right for anyone who ever had the privilege of working for the former owner and one-of-a-kind redhead, who notoriously ran the front half of The Pastime for more than 30 years. The stories of fallen employees were legendary, as Red ran off more than her share of barkeeps and kitchen staff who could not live up to her stringent work ethic and meticulous cleaning methods, still talked about to this day.
During her time working for the Semes, Dawn was fired twice and quit twice, she recalled as she shared a recent discovery in the PT’s office. The Semes had kept rudimentary human resources records which they maintained over the years, to note any infractions, especially those that resulted in termination.
“On the back of my card,” laughs Dawn, “it says in Roy’s handwriting: DO NOT rehire unless she changes her attitude! Jerry and I had our ins and outs! So many times, we’d fight and make up, and fight and make up.” Not a terribly unusual situation among Leadville watering holes, of which Dawn has worked just about all of them, from the Manhattan to the Dollar to the old La Cantina. But come 2016, she’ll be running her own show at one of the most notorious saloons in Leadville!
The Next Chapter: From Bordellos to BBQ
So, to celebrate the change in ownership, The Pastime will be throwing a New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball on Thursday Dec. 31. DJ Dawn, as she was known back in the day, will be throwing down some good dancing music, there’ll be drink specials and a midnight toast, as well as some giveaways for party-goers wearing a masquerade mask. The party starts at 9 p.m. and will ring in the New Year until 2 a.m.
Then starting in 2016, The Pastime Bar & Cafe will be open 4 days a week: Thursday thru Sunday. The bar will be open from 11:30 a.m. and the kitchen, as follows: Thurs – Sat from noon – 9 p.m.; Sundays noon – 8 p.m. (maybe later on game days). Remember it’s cash only, at least for now, so hit up the ATM first.
The couple plans an official “Grand Opening” during Leadville Ski Joring weekend on Saturday, March 5, promising an Old West good time down on historic State Street. Stay tuned for details but until then, the neon lights will continue to burn bright at The Pastime Bar & Cafe.
The Pastime Bar & Cafe is located at 120 W. 2nd Street. Readers may connect with them on Facebook at: Leadville’s Historic Pastime Bar & Cafe. Phone: 719-486-9434.
Mt. Massive Liquors Open, Ready to Serve in Leadville
It seems like every street corner in Leadville has a story to tell. And the southwest corner of Poplar and E. 11th Street is no different. For months, residents have watched as the lot that stood empty for years, was finally seeing construction. Now, as another new business in Leadville opens its doors, residents can literally see the glass as half-full . . . of beer! Welcome Mt. Massive Liquors!
What It Really Takes to Start a Business in Leadville
“There’s going to be more things in life that you’re going to regret not doing, than doing,” said Philip Matsen, who along with his wife Becky, own the newly constructed building, as well as the liquor store. Last February, the couple who lives in Eagle County, bought the property from native Leadville residents Kenny and Beth Donoher, owners of Silver City Printing and Office Supply.
“We had originally looked at the old High Country Restaurant which is now Earl’s, but we kinda got cold feet and the economy was a little rough,” explained Matsen when asked how the process of opening a business in Leadville came together for him. “Then we looked at this property again and said ‘let’s do it!’ So we went for it and this is where we’re at right now.”
And so, on the SW corner of Poplar (Highway 24) and E. 11th Street you can find Mt. Massive Liquors. Construction of the new-build began in April, clipped along all summer, and saw some fairer Fall weather, propelling the project to the finish line. The new business officially opened December 9. The liquor store will be open Monday thru Saturday from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The store boasts an ample wine selection, as well as the standard micro-brews and liquor specialties consumers have come to expect. That selection, combined with Manager Katie Langdon’s extensive knowledge should be able to meet any specific needs or requests from Lake County residents.
Langdon, who lives in Eagle County, has years of experience working in the restaurant business and for a liquor distributing company, which should add to the overall customer service experience. In addition, the store opens with a full staff ready to sell you the libations you serve to others!
“We’ve been lucky to have found a really amazing staff of people to work with us,” said Langdon. She added that the Leadville Workforce Center was an invaluable asset. In fact, “every one of our workers came as a direct response of our work with them (workforce).”
What other kind of support did the new business get locally during the project? Clearly, the team saw the value in joining the Leadville/Lake County Chamber of Commerce, as there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on Monday, Dec. 7.
“The City of Leadville was great to work with, although I did run into a few little hiccups here and there, but nothing major,” concluded Matsen.
Listed among the new-build assets is that original concrete slab that Kenny and Beth poured years ago. “We did sand it, and finish it, but thought it’d be fun to leave that in the store,” explained Matsen. In additional the store has 100% LED lighting and much of the building blocks for the freshly painted, purple building were reclaimed materials from different projects Matsen has been involved with over the years. So, stop in, see it for yourself, and pick up a six-pack!
Mt. Massive Liquors is located at 1017 Poplar Street, kitty-corner from The Family Dollar. Upstairs, the building has two commercial office spaces which are currently occupied by Independence Realty and Property Management, and Stewart Title.
Periodic Brewing Opens Its Doors in Leadville
By Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor
A new brand of Leadville brew has made its way into town. Periodic Brewing, claiming the title of world’s highest craft brewery, holds its Grand Opening this weekend, Nov. 14 & 15 from high noon until 9 p.m.
With over 25 years of collective brewing experience, brothers Chris and Evan Labbe, along with Tim Lesiczka, have been at work for the past several months, writing recipes and fine-tuning them to the demands of altitude, perfecting a wide selection of original craft beer. Now they are ready to open the doors, and taps, to the public.
A newly remodeled location at 115 E. 7th Street, where Rosie’s Brewpub once resided, features two levels, a horseshoe bar, twelve taps, a fireplace, couches and televisions, a banquet room, and brand new shiny brewing equipment, visible from 7th Street.
“We want this to be a family joint,” said Chris Labbe, when asked what people should come to expect of the new business. “We want to resist competition, work with the other local businesses, rather than against them.” Periodic Brewing will be a place of its own in Leadville, different from the late night bar scene, and operating as a commissary, which means a range of possibilities as they get their foothold in the community.
Expect to see some of these new beers on tap at your usual Leadville hangout, or bring your hangout to the brewery. All outside food is welcome, so order to go and bring a deck of cards along with the kids and have a place to hang in a well-lit, spacious, friendly environment.
The Grand Opening will feature at least seven original brews, some of which are made with locally foraged ingredients like juniper berries and spruce tips. Selection includes an IPA, Imperial Brown Ale, Barrel Aged Stout, and Amber Ale, alongside several guest beers from nearby breweries (who have been more than helpful to Pb with high-altitude brewing tips), and a host of fine wines. Periodic Brewing won’t be stopping there however. With plans for better self-sufficiency and new beer as original as Maple Bacon Barley Wine and Mint Chocolate Porter, these guys are just getting started and are anxious to find out what Leadville thinks about their beer game.
Thanks due to the Labbe wives, Pam and Bethany, and big poppa, newly christened Mayor Greg Labbe for being in town to help when duty called elsewhere.
Leadville Today Contributor Brennan Ruegg is a dreamer, but he’s not the only one.
In a town like Leadville, it’s hard to know exactly what will incite the local villagers to light their torches and head down to the county courthouse. But back in 2010, it was clear that Ski Cooper, its staff and Board of Directors was taking its turn in the “hot seat,” as more than one hundred Lake County residents showed up and demanded to know: “What was going on up at that ski hill?” and did management think “it was their own private ski resort?!” Tensions ran high back in 2010, but after all the yelling and screaming subsided, the result was an agreement that Ski Cooper would hold an annual community meeting to report on the business and financial operations of the privately held ski area.
Fast forward five years to last Saturday’s Annual Community “Gathering,” where 50 enthusiastic folks filed in to hear Cooper’s Chairman of the Board John Clapper, President/GM Dan Torsell, and Vice President Tim Kerrigan give presentations on the status of the 400-acre, 39-run ski hill.
But where were the “Friends of Ski Cooper” or the “Friends for Change at Cooper Hill?” None of these groups were present at last Saturday’s meeting, while just a few years ago they were pushing Lake County Commissioners to open the bidding process to see how another group might manage the ski area, located north of Leadville.
Fortunately Cooper’s board and management stayed the course through the storm of 2010, while also keeping their commitment to transparency. So for all you “friends” whose torches have dimmed, as well as the thousands of Cooper fans, here’s what was reported on October 24 out at the ski lodge.
A New Branding: Probably the most notable change for residents and guests is the new branding, including a shortening of the ski area’s name to simply Cooper. While their legal entity remains the same -Cooper Hill Ski Area, Inc. – for marketing purposes, Cooper will be used. New Director of Marketing & Sales Patrick Torsell, who took the position when Bob Casey retired at the end of last season, has combined “something old” with “something new,” by incorporating the old deer image with the new tagline: “The Heart of Skiing in the Heart of the Rockies.”
Upgrades, Repairs and Maintenance: Bathrooms – Upgrade! Tri-Lift – Repair! Katie O’Rourke’s Pub – Upgrade and Expansion! Trail Signs – Upgrade! Snowcats – Maintenance & Upgrade! The list goes on from there, demonstrating Cooper’s commitment to its pay-as-you-go financial model. VP Kerrigan’s presentation about the inside world of Cooper equipment repairs or what he tongue-in-cheek referred to as “Why I feel I have to justify my employment at Cooper during the summer” speech was fascinating. Clearly Kerrigan’s team is first rate when it comes to keeping machines in good operating order and upgrading/replacing aging equipment in a staggered budget-conscious manner is a clear, sensible operating plan. But as most understand, this necessary work is generally done when the mountain isn’t covered in several feet of snow!
A Deck with a View: Food service at Cooper continues to see some noteworthy changes. The recently created Katie O’Rourke’s Pub is building on its success gained over its inaugural season last year, leading to an expansion, with on-deck seating to enjoy those bluebird Colorado days. It also allows the lodge’s seating capacity to grow. This season, to help ease congestion in the cafeteria dining area, enormous picnic tables made from beautiful pine beetle wood. This change in the primary dining area, will add more seating, albeit in a picnic-style manner, which did raise one concern with the audience. So for those guests who prefer to gather around the old round plastic tables and lean back in their accompanying plastic chairs (with backs!), those can still be found upstairs for in the lodge.
What’s for lunch? Cooper fans will still see Scott Camp’s smiling face out at the ski lodge, but this year in his new role as Director of Food and Beverage. Ski Cooper choose to bring food service operations in-house in order to streamline operations; Camp choose to stay on in this new position. Scott’s got a great crew ready to serve you, however his lovely wife Steph is taking the winter off to “enjoy being a housewife and mother” (now, THAT sounds like a story!) Guests will also be pleasantly surprised to see some of their favorite items back on the menu, but at a lower price!
Plans for New Lodge: One of the more exciting in-the-works items presented was a new on-mountain lodge facility, slated for the 2016-17 season. Management hopes to begin the work next summer at the top of the 10th Mountain Double, near the current on-mountain restrooms. The new lodge would include additional food service. Last year, the ski area began experimenting with an on-mountain food cart offering a limited number of hot menu items. The results were positive and the idea will continue this season, weather permitting.
Time to Hit the Slopes: It’s time to get down to the meat and potatoes – the reason that you go to Cooper – skiing and boarding! GM Torsell opened the Annual Meeting with a glowing report about the new Ski Board and Cross Board Training and Race Course. While last year’s dipping of the ski boot into this growing sport was slow and cautious, the results were robust and beneficial for the mountain and the Leadville community. So the program will be back, but on a different trail – the course will move from last year’s Trail’s End to Sitzmark. When you’re out on the mountain be sure to check it out – Leadvillite Jeff Maddex and the Cloud City Ski Club team have done a great job with this new program, providing many opportunities to local skiers and boarders as well. Oh, and if you’ve got the time, they could always use an extra hand or two to help with the races. INFO.
The terrain park will be back again with few changes, as the reviews from the 2014-15 season highlighted the park’s “non-intimidating” nature, keeping the ramps and jumps to a reasonable combination of fun and skill.
But what will probably have skiers and boarders chatting it up in the lift lines, is the proposed expansion of skiable terrain. Cooper is considering a new trail pod and lift that they hope to install within the next 4 years.
According to management, the lift (probably a T-Bar) and trails would be in the “Motherlode Chutes” area, to skiers’ right of Motherlode. It would offer 5 new trails, of which 4 are consistent, legitimate advanced-expert level pitch (averaging 24-30 degree slope). That would really help to round-out Cooper’s terrain offerings. Now, a word of caution: this is what they hope to do. It is in the master plan, and management is taking all of the necessary planning and preparatory steps. However, the expansion is completely dependent upon approvals and permits from the United States Forest Service, since Cooper operates on federal land via permit.
Opening day at Cooper is slated for December 12, however management might consider opening earlier on weekends, depending on snow conditions. Stay tuned to Leadville Today for all the latest news and upcoming events on Leadville’s lovable ski mountain.
So there you have it, highlights from the 2015 Annual Cooper Community Meeting. There are some exciting upgrades, and expansion plans in the works, but nothing that should change the hometown feel of the area . . . or cause the villagers to light their torches and head on down to the courthouse!
Top 20 Leadville Businesses With 100+ Years Honored
On September 30, the Leadville Workforce Center (LWC) recognized 20 Lake County businesses who have kept their doors open for more than 100 years!
The idea to recognize these centennial giants came from Kim Rodriquez, LWC Employment Specialist, who was looking for a way to celebrate Workforce Development Month when her research came up with 20 businesses – and one honorary – that have been operating more than 100 years in Leadville!
So to mark the occasion, there was a special program hosted by the LWC last week to celebrate these entrepreneurs and the business pioneers who came before them. The program included some very interesting remarks from local historian Howard Tritz, regarding the Climax Mine – for instance, at one point in time Summit County tried to move the county line to “take the Molybdenum coming out of Mt. Bartlett.” A situation that, with hindsight and lots of tax revenue, thankfully never happened. Check out Tritz’s Climax overview in this video of his presentation.
Any idea what establishments made the centennial list for Lake County? Well, here they are – 100+ years in business, now that truly is something to celebrate! Congratulations!
First Presbyterian Church, The Healy House, Leadville City Government, Pastime Bar, Annunciation Catholic Church, Lake County Government, Herald Democrat, Parkville Water District, St. Vincent Hospital, Tabor Opera House, Western Hardware Store, St Georges Episcopal Church, Tabor Grand Hotel, Temple Israel, Delaware Hotel, Elks Lodge, Leadville High School, SL Smith Lumber (honorary), US Post Office (80461), Lake County Public library, Climax Molybdenum Mine.