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!
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.
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 !
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.]
I work in Eagle, Colorado. I live between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, Colorado. My commute begins along the Roaring Fork River, to the Colorado River through the scenic Glenwood Canyon, and then to the Eagle River by means of Interstate-70. I’m not complaining. It is probably one of the most beautiful 38-mile routes one could hope for in order to get to a job I love.
That is, beautiful until I can’t use the Interstate due to snow conditions, flooding, rock fall, or, as in the case today, “police activity.” While I may be whiney as a result, there are restaurants, hotels and even Costco should I need to pass some time once the library closes at 8PM. Earlier inhabitants weren’t quite as comfortable while waiting for transportation kinks to work themselves out.
What better way to recognize National Preservation Week (April 27-May 3, 2014) http://www.ala.org/alcts/confevents/preswk than to celebrate Local History in Eagle County. Since 2001, the Eagle Valley Library District, in cooperation with the Eagle County Historical society, has recognized individuals whose work has helped preserve the history of Eagle County by the Nimon Walker Award [Jim Nimon and Louise Walker being the first recipients].
Our award winner for 2014 is the Nottingham Family of Avon. William Nottingham moved from Red Cliff to homestead on the Eagle River at what is now Avon in 1890. The generations since then established a major ranch and devoted time to community service. Allan and Mauri Nottingham accepted the Nimon Walker award for the entire family. As we celebrate the Nottingham’s contribution to local history, it’s a good time to look at Avon in our historical photo collection.
Let’s talk ephemera. From the Encyclopedia of Ephemera by Maurice Rickards, we see that: “Ephemera is the plural form of the Greek word ephemeron. Literally, it refers to something that lasts through the day, which is the case with some winged insects. … Among several definitions of ephemera that Maurice Rickards proposed, the one that has gained widest currency is the ‘minor transient documents of everyday life.’”
Don’t we all have those transient documents! Tax season keeps us looking for many of them. Not surprisingly, there are many such documents here in the archives.
Posters have been collector’s items since the end of the 19th century. Posters were originally pasted in place, so that collecting them made it necessary to turn to publishers’ files. “The origins of the poster may be traced to the printed Proclamation and Public Notices of the 15th century. Caxton’s printed advertisement for a newly-published prayer book, posted up at Westminister in 1477, may be described as one of the first commercial posters.” [Encyclopedia of Ephemera p.250]
On May 12, 1939, the Eagle Valley Enterprise published an article thanking local firms that helped build Eagle County. After ten years of Depression economics, businesses were hard-pressed to stay open. Of particular interest is the acknowledgement that local merchants support the communities in which they’re located:
“Do mail order houses to that? Do peddlers or out of town business interests of any nature do it? They take but never put, and you can’t keep on taking from anything without eventually impoverishing it and have nothing left from which to take for either you or the merchant. Isn’t it good logic and common sense then for you to patronize these local merchants who have helped and will continue to help make this a finer community for you and your children and their children also?”
Almost 75 years later, it’s hard to disagree with that sentiment. There were over 40 businesses listed and, happily, we have some historical photos to add to the paper’s text.Read the rest of this entry »