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Welcome to Eagle County Local History

December 22, 2009

Welcome to the Eagle County Local History blog: You Can’t Use it if You Don’t Preserve It!  I will be sharing interesting bits of Eagle County history for your edification and enjoyment.  Sign up, stay tuned!

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Spelling Counts

September 5, 2014

I am frequently asked about the lake across from Squaw Creek, now a rest stop area on I-70.  The location is fascinating  in that various geologic layers of the hillside are running vertical.  Piecing together conversations and information from local manuscripts, we have some fascinating facts about Wilmor[e].

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Great photos!

August 22, 2014

Happily, after my Shrine Pass post, Cheryl Santa Maria sent these great photos of the charcoal kiln closest to Red Cliff.

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This kiln is still recognizable by form, despite graffiti and missing brickwork.  Thanks so much for sharing, Cheryl!

Charcoal is the product of pyrolysis, heating wood for a lengthy time with controlled access to oxygen.  The earliest charcoal production was done by stacking wood in a conical shape around a center vent or flue.  The pile was covered with dirt or clay, fire was introduced at the bottom of the flue and the pile was left to burn slowly.  Those attending this process were called colliers.

Eventually, kilns were constructed, making the process easier to control and providing a better percentage of charcoal to the wood involved.  100 parts of wood produce 60 parts of charcoal by volume, on the average.

The charcoal from this kiln was used by blacksmiths and iron mongers due to the high temperatures at which charcoal burns.  It was also used by the smelters in Leadville, central to this mining area, as it burns hotter and doesn’t contain the sulfur of coke.

Shrine Pass history is fascinating and I appreciate the close-up view!

 

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Art and History

August 18, 2014

The 17th annual Studio Art Tour & Invitational was August 16-17 in Red Cliff.  The weather outdid itself, the participants were superb, and the Red Cliff Museum (in the old school building) was open on Saturday.  Yes, Red Cliff has a museum, open by appointment, so this event is always a good opportunity to show off some Red Cliff history.

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Another Road Less Traveled

August 4, 2014

It is said that Colorado has two seasons—winter and Construction.  As we deal with Construction Season [“work faster, winter’s coming”], it is tempting to find alternatives to gridlock on I-70.  We’ve considered Cottonwood Pass in Can’t Get There From Here  and today I’d like to talk about the Shrine Pass road (FSR 712).

”Many long years ago when I worked for Paddock on Shrine Pass road [Eagle County project], we didn’t have that many controls to pay attention to but, of course, that grader was designed to be pulled by horses. Running the grader was quite a chore so he and used to trade off; he would drive the truck for about an hour while I ran the grader. Then I’d drive while he fought with the grader. It wasn’t heavy enough to do much good but at least we tried. Seems like most of our time we spent in either grading or tearing out beaver dams. After you got up to Wearyman there were no more beavers to worry about. We did widen the road up just above the water works; had to drill, by hand of course, and blast some of the cliff off.” -- Bud Beck Jan. 2010

”Many long years ago when I worked for Paddock on Shrine Pass road [Eagle County project], we didn’t have that many controls to pay attention to but, of course, that grader was designed to be pulled by horses. Running the grader was quite a chore so he and used to trade off; he would drive the truck for about an hour while I ran the grader. Then I’d drive while he fought with the grader. It wasn’t heavy enough to do much good but at least we tried. Seems like most of our time we spent in either grading or tearing out beaver dams. After you got up to Wearyman there were no more beavers to worry about. We did widen the road up just above the water works; had to drill, by hand of course, and blast some of the cliff off.” — Bud Beck Jan. 2010

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Cattle and Railroads and Prunes Redux

June 27, 2014

As we remember from  Cattle and Railroads and Prunes, Oh My, Eagle County acquired the rights to lead guided hikes across the Horn Ranch Conservation  & Recreation Project, completed in 2013.  There have been two tours of the ranch and quarry so far, the latest being on June 14.  What a delight to have a different perspective of the area as seen from the quarry.

Toby Strunk leading the tour

Toby Sprunk leading the tour

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A Nod to Equipment

June 18, 2014

It is a joy to have so many oversized ledgers in our collection [refer to Ledgerdemain from April 2013].  I am tracking businesses and mines and people, year by year, based on tax assessments.  Currently, David Abbott Strohm is the object of my attention so I spend quality time in the basement with ledgers.

Considering that each ledger weighs between 35 and 45 pounds and opens up to 51 inches in length, I can truly say I’ve been challenged.  Wrestling each to a surface that will accommodate the weight and girth has led to odd configurations of body parts and basement furniture in order to access what I need.  The goal is to get that information without causing injury to the ledger or to me.

Behold, an answer!  We are all familiar with book trucks, those tidy rolling shelves holding books to be reshelved or moved from place to place or even pushed in parades.  While very functional, they aren’t designed to handle the ledgers in the basement.  What I did find was an industrial example of the small book truck…a Book Beast.  The Beast supports up to 1,000 lbs., evenly distributed, sports 8 inch pneumatic tires, and has a water-resistant cover.  It can handle these glorious ledgers and I am much less fearful of being discovered, smashed under a ledger.  Excellent!

Library equipment…another excellent cocktail party topic.  Next time, we’ll chat about Book snakes !

Book Beast at left; Book Truck at right

Book Beast at left; Book Truck at right

 

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The War to end all Wars

May 23, 2014

 

As we approach Memorial Day 2014, a day to remember those who gave their lives in military service to our country, we also approach the Centennial anniversary of the beginning of World War I.  On  June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo, triggering the “War to end all Wars.”

“The war brought the collapse of three empires, hastened the demise of a fourth, and, it could be argued, gave rise to a fifth—the United States.  It shaped the boundaries of many of today’s nations, and gave birth to tensions that still divide them.” – Gerard DeGroot, “The Great War’s Lasting Bootprint,” Christian Science Monitor, May 26, 2014, p. 28

Once the United States became involved, Eagle County sent its share of young men overseas.  We have many photographs of these men in uniform in our collections.  [Remember to click on images to enlarge them.]

Eagle Valley Enterprise,  December 27, 1918

Eagle Valley Enterprise, December 27, 1918

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