Love to Colorado

Dear Colorado, 

Here in Vermont, we send our love, support, sympathy, empathy, and help to those of you affected by the recent flooding. Tropical Storm Irene struck us in 2011. It’s tragic and shocking and something none of us would wish on anyone, anywhere. To see your homes destroyed; your roads washed away; to see your family, friends, even strangers in your own state suffering – it’s unlike anything else. It’s something that none of us understand until it’s our own backyard.

Once the shock fades, recovery begins (well, sometimes it’s concurrent), but you will survive because you are strong. We are Vermont Strong. And you are Colorado Strong. You do what you have to do. Take it hour by hour, day by day, task by task. Join with your neighbors. Accept help. Offer help. Take a deep breath. Know that everything you do is getting you closer to recovery. You will recover. It will take time, and for a while there might not be a light at the end of the tunnel. But you’ll get there. We promise. We know, because we’ve been there. It was two years ago, and there are still lingering recovery tasks, but overall we’re  a stronger state.

And you can lean on us for support. Our state officials and state agencies are already connected and talking about immediate response, followed by long term recovery. We’re two states so far away from one another, but we want to help. We feel your pain. Everything will be okay. You can do this.

Love, Vermont


Gold in Them Thar Hills: Part Four

SIA 2010 Overview. Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

The SIA tour led our group to the Mollie Kathleen Mine, the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad, and Victor, Colorado. Our last stop of the day was a part of the Cripple Creek & Victor Mine: American Eagles Scenic Overlook. It is an 1895 mine complex with a shifter’s office, a superintendent’s house, a blacksmith shop, and the headframe and hoist from the mine. The buildings are weathering away, in that picturesque sort of way. It provides an opportunity for visitors to see (a sort of) ghost town. It overlooks the continental divide, the wind blows strong, and the view is breathtaking.

The trail to the overlook is a long stairway.

From the overlook. The foreground is the currently operating open pit Anglo Ashanti mine.

Miles upon miles beyond the mine.

The superintendent's house.

Looking inside the superintendent's house.

Another view of the house.

Floorboards of the shifter's house.

Floorboards of the shifter's house.

Time at work.

As you can tell by the pictures, I spent most of my time around the buildings, as a true building lover would, but the industrial archaeologists, true to themselves, spent most of their time around the mine structures. Thus, I cannot explain much about the mine itself. This was the case for much of the day, which amused me.  However, we all gazed across the continental divide. How beautiful. Another must see spot.

Gold in Them Thar Hills: Part Three

SIA 2010 Overview. Part One. Part Two.

In order to not overwhelm one post with images, there will be three (or four) posts about Gold in Them Thar Hills.

So far our tour consisted of the Mollie Kathleen Mine and the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad. The giant tour bus ventured on windy Colorado roads to Victor, CO. Victor felt more authentic than Cripple Creek; with ghost signs, tired buildings, and that western feeling (without the Hollywood effect). In Victor we all ate lunch in the park and had some time to wander around the unique & interesting Victor Lowell Thomas Museum. The museum featured local history exhibits, mining history exhibits, and furnished rooms upstairs. Our visit was short, and I would have liked more time to wander around Victor.

Ah, I loved Victor, CO.

Neat signs and buildings on the small business strip.

Victor's streetscape.

Merchant's Cafe. Great coffee, great owner with entertaining stories, great atmosphere. It totally made my day. Go there and say hi to Alex, the baker in the back. In the 1970s, Alex owned an organic bakery in Putney, VT. What a small world! Visit the website.

The tour continued just outside of Victor, but that’s an entirely different set of photographs.One more from Victor:

Another shot in Victor; the town could use a spruce (but it's still lovely!)

Gold in Them Thar Hills: Part Two

SIA 2010 Overview. Part One.

In order to not overwhelm one post with images, there will be three (or four) posts about Gold in Them Thar Hills.

After leaving the Mollie Kathleen Mine, our tour group headed to the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad. The train departed from a historic depot for a four mile round trip to the ghost town of Anaconda, CO. Along the way the train stopped to allow us to gaze at the mountain scenery and experience Echo Valley. Enjoy this flood of images!

Historic depot at the Cripple Creek & Victor Railroad, the former depot of Anaconda.

Leaving Cripple Creek.

Such fun on the steam engine!

View from the train.

Just how many miles is that? Echo Valley.

Ghost town across the way!

The blacksmith shop in Anaconda; it is one of the few buildings that survived a fire.

Highway 67.

On our way back to Cripple Creek.

A water tank next to the train. The steam engine needed a water source!

A better view.

I thoroughly enjoyed this forty minute train ride; what perfect weather!

Gold in Them Thar Hills: Part One

SIA 2010 Overview.

In order to not overwhelm one post with images, there will be three (or four) posts about Gold in Them Thar Hills.

Friday June 4 was the tour day of the conferences, of which I chose to attend “Gold in Them Thar Hills.” (Okay, the title got me hooked and it’s fun to say.) The tour bus departed Colorado Springs at 7:30am and headed up Highway 24 and Highway 67 to Cripple Creek, CO. The scenery on the way was spectacular: mountainous, green, vibrant brown rock, shrubs, and Pike’s Peak in site for much of the time. Oh, and we saw the world’s highest ferris wheel (highest as in elevation, not tallest).

The aforementioned world's highest ferris wheel.

Pike's Peak in the distance, somewhere around Divide, CO.

Our first stop was the Mollie Kathleen Mine in Cripple Creek, which is a family owned active gold mine in the winter months with tours open to the public in the warmer months.  The surface of the mine overlooks the town of Cripple Creek. At the mine visitors travel 1000′ (10 stories!) below the surface. Hard hats and closed-toe shoes are mandatory and warm jackets are recommended. To enter the mine, you have to squeeze into the mine shaft cage. The descent takes about two minutes during which time you cannot see your hand in front of your face. A guide takes about 8-9 people on each one hour tour, where the guide tells and shows the history of mining at different exhibits, demonstrating the tools and techniques used. It is such an interesting tour! On the surface there are cars, machines, mining cars and other vehicles to explore (not to mention an awesome giant hat). The views are also incredible.

Welcome to the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.

View from the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.

In the mine: miner's tools, railroad tracks, and the homemade rail bicycle (no brakes!)

In the mine!

Miner's hat!

Uniform bell signals were invented for all of the Colorado mines to insure safety and understanding when workers changed mining operations.

"View from the top of the world only 25 cents." This sign was just sitting on the ground, but I loved it.


Side note: This is post #500 on Preservation in Pink!

Preservation Photos #35

Dust blown, worn by the climate, and left to deteriorate at the American Eagles (abandoned) mine overlook near Victor, CO. One of my favorite pictures from the SIA tour.

SIA Conference

View of the Teller County, CO sky and Highway 67.

SIA report part 1: overview

Colorado Springs: June 3 – 6, 2010. What do you get when you combine archaeologists, engineers, physicists, preservationists, software programmers, and others? A cross-section of the attendees at the Society for Industrial Archeology conference. It’s a diverse group, some involved professionally and some only in terms of avocation (or perhaps obsession). Some are working in the field, a few of us are students, and some are retired and remain active members.

The SIA studies, protects, and advocates for the machines and the environment that has propelled the industry of our culture: power sources, functions, machinery, waterwheels, railroads, mining structures, geology. Perhaps an unlikely combination (preservationists and engineers are friends?!) but the strength of the SIA lies in its diversity of knowledge and expertise.

An SIA conference is different from others that I have attended in that there is only one day of papers and the other days are spent touring and studying the areas. In fact, a day of tours is included in the registration fee. Additional days of touring incur additional costs. Thursday and Sunday are such the case, but the Friday tours and Saturday papers are generally attended by all.  For those on a budget like myself, you will be happy to know that many meals are included: a welcoming reception, a breakfast, lunch on the tour, and the luncheon member business meeting. (The food was delicious, for anyone concerned.)

It’s a smaller group than organizations such as the National Trust, so it feels more personable. This was my first experience traveling alone to a conference where I didn’t know a soul. I spent the 2 1/2 days sitting at tables and on buses with strangers and meeting lots of interesting people. It’s probably something that I would not have done as an undergrad, but now (older and braver) the experience was very good. SIA members are friendly and welcoming and all have good stories to tell.  It didn’t take long to feel welcomed by the SIA veterans.  I am grateful for the friendliness and the conversation. (Side note: for any students interested in industrial archaeology, you should definitely join and get involved. Members are looking for young newbies!)

Paper sessions ranged from railroads to bridges to historic forts to waterwheels to iron structures to international industrial archaeology and so much more. I presented a paper on the Lake Champlain Bridge as a case study for preservation policy, and thoroughly enjoyed sharing it with conference attendees.

In addition to talking to people on tours and at meals, the paper sessions prove just how dedicated these members are to their research and interests. What I’ve learned about the SIA members is that they all want details and more details! They want to know, in full, how something operates and its history. And those who have been studying this for a while have an incredible bank of information. The SIA conference is definitely a wonderful place to meet people, to learn about the area you’re visiting, and to hear exciting research. It is truly one of the fun conferences.

Check back for SIA Tours (and pictures) Wednesday.

Industrial Archaeology in Colorado

These past few days here in Colorado Springs for the Society for Industrial Archaeology 2010 conference have been filled with mining culture and operations, mountain views, scenic roads, never-ending blue skies, and of course a wonderful day of paper sessions.

The expansive view from the Cripple Creek & Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Of course, we did talk about more than mining; I just happened to go on the mining tour. I couldn’t resist; it’s title was “Gold in Them Thar Hills.” That’s just a teaser for now. This is, too:

Again, how could I resist? I may have been the only to take a picture of this sign. You can't keep me away from the kitsch, but, yes there were burros at play (just not near the sign).

Sunday is a very long travel day for me with shuttles, layovers, and flight connections back to Vermont, so I’ll be preparing posts on the SIA conference experience – tours and beautiful Colorado pictures included.

A Dog & A Solar Panel

Every day is Earth Day! A photo from reader and fellow preservationist, Jen:

Jen says, “I don’t know if it is entirely preservation related, but this is a picture from when we lived in our camper in Colorado. Bomber is sitting on a solar panel, which we hooked up to our parked camper. It is a reminder that we can live with a lot less. We lived like this for almost six months and I’d do it again!”

Souvenir Postcard Booklets

For Christmas, a few years ago, I received a wonderful collection of souvenir postcard booklets from Jen G. She found them at a neighborhood antique store in Boston and knowing how much I love United States travel, she so thoughtfully gave them to me. It’s been a while since I looked at them, but I picked them up over the weekend and once again attempted to date them. There aren’t any dates at all and so far my internet searching has not been fruitful. Some of you readers must know; please share any clues. These souvenir books are so much fun and all quite different in terms of font, captions, and layout. I’ll share them individually in the coming weeks for anyone who may be a postcard dating extraordinaire.  For now, enjoy the intriguing covers.

One method I’ve used so far is by considering surrounding facts. For instance, the Badlands were designated a National Monument in 1929, and not a National Park until 1978. (Of course, I would have given that date range as my guess anyway.) And now after looking at these again, I need to go take a western road trip … how about you?