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!
I get so much information from readers of this blog. The last post on Tom Mix caught the attention of John Flynn, who provided additional information about the train crew working with Mix in filming The Great K & A Train Robbery. Thank you for sharing, John!
James Joseph Flynn, born Oct. 7, 1903, was the youngest child of William R. and Catherine Flynn. William, a D&RG railroad employee, died in 1905, leaving Catherine with seven children. The family moved to Denver for a while but Catherine petitioned the railroad to move back to Kent. She supported them by cooking for the railroad employees housed at Kent and most of her children were employed by the railroad at one time or another.
James Flynn eventually became an engineer for D&RG’s California Zephyr. In 1926, however, he was the fireman on the train in the Tom Mix movie, The Great K & A Train Robbery. James must have had a picture of Tom Mix and the train crew as sometime in his retirement, he submitted the picture to the Green Light, a magazine for Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad employees. The magazine no longer exists.
The picture below is a copy of the clipping from the Green Light magazine that was among James Flynn’s things that were given to John Flynn by Blanche Tracy Kyes. Blanche Tracy Kyes was James Flynn’s wife, Frances Tracy Flynn’s sister. James J. Flynn died on August 27, 1977.
Colorado scenery is pretty spectacular. It’s not surprising that many films have been made with Colorado as the backdrop. The Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media is more than happy to assist filmmakers with locale. While Cougar Hunting may be Kathy Heicher’s favorite Colorado-made film (Kathy is president of the Eagle County Historical Society), I am enamored of The Great K&A Train Robbery, starring Tom Mix and filmed in our neck of the woods.
So many photos showing archives and archivists focus on well-clad hands sporting white cotton gloves. While Mickey Mouse fetishism is not on the rise [I've checked], there is a reason for white gloves when working with special collections…protection!
Wearing gloves protects photographs, negatives, and objects from body oils, hand lotions, dirt and grime, just about anything transmittable by fingertips.
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].
Happily, after my Shrine Pass post, Cheryl Santa Maria sent these great photos of the charcoal kiln closest to Red Cliff.
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!
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.
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).Read the rest of this entry »