Friday, September 30, 2011

Taking donations to get gold cap repaired




Times are tough, but thanks to the mine and the casinos, at least we can afford gold for the roof over our head.
Last week, Cripple Creek & Victor Mining delivered a 72-ounce, solid, gold button that will be used to produce gold leaf for Colorado the Capitol Dome. At current prices, that is nearly $130,000 worth of gold.
“The dome now needs $17 million in urgent repairs that the state doesn’t have to spare, and gold is once again booming, with prices near all-time highs,” according to a Sept. 23 story by Kirk Johnson in the New York Times.
“It’s your gold,” Mark Cutifani, the chief executive of AngloGold Ashanti, the parent company of CC & V, was quoted in the Times. Cutifani handed over the gold to Governor John Hickenlooper at a ceremony at the Capitol. The company has owned CC & V Mining since 1999 and averages as much as 700 ounces of gold a day at its operation between Cripple Creek and Victor. It is the largest private employer in Teller County.
“But in another twist of history, much of the real money for the building’s broader repairs could also come, indirectly, from the once-moldering old mining towns themselves.”
The Times piece cites the gambling tax that goes to a statewide historic preservation fund that state lawmakers used to begin the restoration process last year. Colorado Preservation, Inc. is pushing to restore the fund, which they say will be exhausted if it has to pay for the entire project. The effort has already raised $1.3 million (including the mine’s contribution) in mostly in-kind donations and some small cash collections.
The repairs will concentrate on the painted and gilded metal-clad areas and is expected to be completed in mid 2014.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wherever Gard went, newspapers sprang up



In my earlier life as a newspaper publisher, it seems to me like I followed around in Ernest Chapin Gard’s footsteps – just about 100 years after he first made his appearance in Colorado. I published the Cripple Creek Gold Rush, which was a direct descendent of Gard’s Cripple Creek Crusher. I managed the Tri-Lakes Tribune in Monument and the Palmer Lake area, a century after Gard’s Palmer Lake Herald and Monument Register. I had worked at papers that covered Mono County in California that had ties, and had a friend that edited the paper in Gardnerville, Nevada with links to Gard.  All were temporary haunts of the bombastic journalist, newspaper publisher, and mining promoter. For a while there, I thought there was some sort of weird Ju-Ju between me and the guy, 100-years-displaced.
Then I figured out that this fellow started or promoted a paper in most every promising mining camp in the West.
“E. Chapin Guard was at Palmer Lake much of the time between 1888 and 1895,” wrote my friend Daniel W. Edwards in a paper for the Palmer Lake Historical Society in July of 2010. Edwards recently retired from the U.S. Department of Comerce in Washington, D.C. and authored the book Dr. William Finely Thompson: Dental Surgeon and Founder of Palmer Lake.
“He published Palmer Lakes first newspaper, served on the first town council, was town attorney, a justice of the peace, filed claims to local mining properties, and wrote a booklet boosting Palmer Lake. Yet, being a restless and ambitious man, Gard could not stay put for long. He established, published, or edited 11 Colorado newspapers in during his career, and his articles appeared in at least six others. As a roving journalist and newspaper editor in Colorado, Gard often resorted to poetry, humor, and sarcasm in his writings and fully exercised his right to freedom of the press. He did contribute to the dialog of democracy by criticizing public officials, but his unrestrained enthusiasm and often bombastic, intemperate rhetoric also provoked strong opposition. Many newspapers of that era practiced a similar style of journalism.”
The Mountain Democrat of Placerville, California, had this to say about E.C. Gard, near the end of his colorful career in its June 4, 1926 edition.
“Thirty years ago, when new mining camps were constantly springing up in the state of Colorado, each new mining camp had a newspaper that boosted everything from the skies above to what was expected to be found thousands of feet underground, and in most cases the name of the editor was E. Chapin Gard. There were two things that Gard could do more of and do better than anyone else in camp, one was write boost articles and the other was to drink good whiskey. He did both constantly and consistently, and helped many men become wealthy but never saved any money himself …
E. Chapin Gard, still boosting, with more pep than half the men we meet every day, who has probably been compelled to forget his age in order not to become old, an example of what it means to always look on the bright side, to look for sunshine instead of clouds, to side-step gloom and cultivate happiness and contentment.”
Of course Gard made enemies, often with his own rhetoric.
“Don’t send your pennies to India,” Gard is quoted in the Pagosa Springs News on July 1, 1898. “The Hottentot can get along for awhile without your contributions … We need missionaries and money and tornados of prayers and rivers of tears to civilize the heathens in darkest America. Turn your gospel machines loose on Denver’s gates of Hell. Batter down the stone walls of Capitol Hill and see Satan and his imps scamper. Go into the big department stores and offices, where physical serfdom cringes and moral ruin crouches and weeps, and rescue the perishing. Lift the mask from some of our courts and begin to get to your work of salvation as rapidly and vigorously as possible. Pry up a few boards under the altar in front of some of our pulpits and see if we don’t need several tons of saving grace right here in Denver.”
E. Chapin Gard was just getting warmed up.
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Photo info: men and women pose at the Golden Eagle Mine, possibly near Palmer Lake in Colorado. A stuffed golden eagle is mounted on a piece of wood above the opening. The woman wears a long dress with a velvet panel, a jacket, a flat-brimmed hat and fingerless gloves. Horace Swartley Poley, photograpeher, estimated creation date between 1892 and 1901.  Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library. It is possible the bearded fellow on right is E. Chapin Gard.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A kiss goodbye, and may I take a photo


It must have been sometime in the fall back in the early 1980s when I took my little Honda motorcycle up Dunlap Hill and out through the old roads and bean fields until you come out on the rim of the Dolores River canyon below town.
There was also a rough trail that dropped down into the valley as it overlooked the gravel pits. I was very purposeful that day because I had an epiphany of sorts.
For years we had archeologists from Washington State, and University of Colorado, and probably other places, sifting through the sand and dirt down river – poking in the oak brush, photographing the old buildings. We called them ‘bonediggers.’ There were also Bureau of Land Management folks, and dam contractors clearing brush, and moving cemeteries – all documenting this and documenting that. The place was busy on a global scale with contractors and subcontractors, like Obayashi Gumi Corporation, and other multinationals working on multi-year projects.
My sudden realization was that some day soon, all this is going to be underwater.
Of course we had talked about it for years. Some of my friends worked on portions of the project. Big Mark Thompson ran a mucker in the hole down there. Others moved dirt around outside, or worked as EMTs (emergency medical technicians), or cleared oak brush for subcontractors.
We had big parties in the abandoned buildings and at the Big Rock where we dived off into the swimming hole. We stumbled upon great secrets in the caves below town and ran wild over the rounded rocks. We poked around the headgates of the old dam and recalled when the raft races dangerously finished there.
We parked our cars down in the gravel pits and worked on our night moves, or drank beer in brown bottles, or green barrel-shaped Big Mouth Mickeys (grenades), or Miller ponies, if we were in a hurry.
Huge piles of road base provided impromptu parking lots for muscle cars like Lynn Leavel’s ’69 Roadrunner, Brent Hamilton’s ole’ Chevy pickup with the short bed and headache racks, Joe Scrivner’s Javelin, Bob Coleman’s Cutlass, Rusty Hector’s and Marvin Tabor’s Camaros, Rick Markguard’s ‘Cuda., and Kent Nielson’s Cobra. I envied them because I drove a beat-up 1974 green Vega, and later the motorcycle.
Which brings me back to my epiphany, my realization, and my purpose. I rolled up though the oak brush and out on to the canyon rim. I could see the gravel pits below, the burner out at the sawmill, the power lines dropping into the valley below, and off in the distance of this expansive vista was the Sleeping Ute and Mesa Verde. You could tell where the river – over how-many-ever thousands of years had cut through red dirt, grey clay, and sandstone – to carve out a bed for itself to rage, and gurgle, and trickle, and meander.
But soon the lake would be sleeping in that bed.
I snapped a photo, and rolled back away from the rim, never to see her again.
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Friday, September 9, 2011

Saint of 9/11 didn't need a thing, I didn't know


I didn’t know a thing about it until I made it to work. Oblivious.
Almost always, I would listen to the news stations on the 45-minute commute in, but for some reason, that day, I was spared the panic and chaos. The minute I walked in the office door, however, it was obvious that something was terribly wrong.
I’m sure most of you have your own Sept. 11 moment … or a series of them.

The stories and images of 9/11 stand out in all of our minds.
Ten years later, I try to focus. Father Mychal Judge, comes to the forefront in mine.
They have called him the Saint of 9/11.

Father Judge rushed to the World Trade Center that morning. According to multiple press reports, he was met by the Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, who asked him to pray for the city and its victims. Judge administered the Last Rites to some lying on the streets, then entered the lobby of the World Trade Center North Tower, where an emergency command post was organized. There he continued offering aid and prayers for the rescuers, the injured and dead.
When the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 AM, debris went flying through the North Tower lobby, killing many inside, including Judge.
According to Judge's biographer and New York Daily News columnist Michael Daly, in his last moments Judge was repeatedly praying aloud, "Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!"
A NYPD lieutenant, who had also been buried in the collapse, found Judge's body and assisted by two firemen and two civilian bystanders carried it out of the North Tower lobby to nearby St Peter's Church. This event was captured in the documentary film 9/11, shot by Jules and Gedeon Naudet. Shannon Stapleton, photographer from Reuters, photographed Judge's body being carried out of the rubble by five men. It became one of the most famous images related to 9/11.
Mychal Judge was designated as "Victim 0001," recognized as the first official victim of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Other victims perished before him including aircrew, passengers, and occupants of the towers, but Judge was the first certified fatality because his was the first body to be recovered and brought to the coroner.

From Dick Cheney’s new memoir about his “Meet the Press” appearance on the first Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001: “Tim Russert closed the interview with a remembrance of Father Mychal Judge, the chaplain of the New York City Fire Department,” Cheney writes. “Father Mike was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11 by falling debris as he administered last rites to a first responder. Tim told of the firefighters who carried Father Mike’s body to their firehouse and who together with Father Mike’s fellow Franciscans sang the prayer of Saint Francis. ‘That,’ Tim said, ‘is the way of New York. That is the spirit of America.’ The Meet the Press crew members stood and applauded.”

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Even before his heroic death on 9/11, many considered Mychal Judge to be a living saint for his extraordinary compassion and deep spirituality.

"Mychal had no use for physical things. Give him a cashmere sweater, and it would end up on the back of a homeless person. But go to him with a troubled soul, and he would listen intently for as long as it took." ___ Steven McDonald
While praying, Mychal would sometimes "become so lost in God, as if lost in a trance, that he'd be shocked to find several hours had passed" (Michael Daly). "He achieved an extraordinary degree of union with the divine. We knew we were dealing with someone directly in line with God." ___Fr. John McNeill
“I, Mychal Judge, am not capable of doing these things on my own. I walk in, hold a hand, wipe a tear, say a prayer. But that’s not me, that’s the grace of God. I don’t worry about the details… it’s a mystery, it’s God.”
Once in a while," his friend Michael Duffy, a friar from Philadelphia who said Judge’s homily, "he would say to me, 'Michael Duffy' -- he always called me by my full name -- 'Michael Duffy, you know what I need?' And I would get excited because it was hard to buy him a present or anything. I said, 'No, what?'
"'You know what I really need?'
"'No, what, Mike?'
"'Absolutely nothing. I don't need a thing in the world. I am the happiest man on the face of the earth.'"
From the Last Homily of Father Mychal Judge ,FDNY Chaplain, at Mass for Firefighters: Sept. 10, 2001:
“You do what God has called you to do. You get on that rig, you go out and do the job. No matter how big the call, no matter how small, you have no idea of what God is calling you to do, but God needs you. He needs me. He needs all of us.
3,000 people attended Judge's funeral on September 15, 2001, at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan.
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Emily Griffith: For all who wish to learn.



“Names are but noise and smoke, obscuring heavenly light.”

__ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I think the last time they changed the name of the place, it was in honor of her retirement in 1933 and she protested heavily. As I go to work every day, stop, look across the street and notice the sprawling education complex that encompasses the entire next block, I am reminded of Emily Griffith’s legacy.

“Emily Griffith was a kind of a schoolmarm saint,” wrote Time magazine shortly after her death in its July 8, 1947 edition. “All Denver revered her as founder and long-time head of the far-famed Opportunity School, where since 1916, the city has provided adults with free “second chance” classes in everything from welding to hat-making.”

The school is the oldest institution in the nation dedicated to providing adult vocational and technical education and serves nearly 15,000 students. Before establishing the school, Griffith was Deputy State Superintendent of Schools form 1904 to 1912.

“For all who wish to learn. We welcome all people, regardless of age, race or education level, who want to expand their horizons and chart their own course for success.”

At the Denver Public School Board of Education meeting of May 19, 2011, the board unanimously endorsed the proposed name change from Emily Griffith Opportunity School to Emily Griffith Technical College, effective immediately. The school will observe its 95th birthday in September 9, 2011, exactly 95 years after its doors first opened, with a gala event at the Seawell Ballroom, Denver Center for Performing Arts.

The celebrated educator, and her invalid sister were found shot to death at her cabin in Pinecliffe, in Boulder County. Emily was 67 and she, and her sister Florence were found by their sister Ethelyn and her husband Evans Gurtner.

“The dining table, near the window overlooking a creek, was set for three. On the living room floor lay Florence Griffith, in a puddle of blood. On the bedroom floor lay Emily. Each had been shot through the head with a .38-caliber revolver,” according to Time.

“Their cabin had been built for them by a one-time teacher at the Opportunity School named Fred Wright Lundy. He had built himself a shack in Pinecliffe and the shack he put up for Emily was only about a mile away. He ran errands for the sisters, fetched their firewood, helped with the chores, ate most of his meals at Emily’s,” said the account.

“Fred Lundy’s 1941 Nash sedan was found on a highway a mile up the canyon. On the front seat was his briefcase. In it was $350, in cash and a note: ‘If and when I die, please ship my body to Roscoe, Ill…. Thank you.’ Signed: Fred Lundy. At week’s end police were still looking for Fred,” said Time. He was never found but a witness at the time reported seeing a man matching his description hopping a train headed for Denver the afternoon of the killings.

Strangely, his motive was believed to be one of mercy. Pasquale Marranzino, a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, wrote at the time, “Lundy, on many occasions had expressed grief over the ‘martyr’ life which Emily had spent in caring for sister. On occasion, he expressed the sentiment that he would “rather see them dead than the way they are living.’”

The murder, however, was never solved. Author and historian Debra Faulkner re-examined the case several years ago and suggested that Ethelyn and Evans, who discovered the bodies, might have been the culprits. They inherited Emily’s estate and began traveling around the world shortly after on cruises, points out Faulkner in her book “Touching Tomorrow: The Emily Griffith’s Story.”

“A mercy killing by Lundy has been the conventional speculation. Yet Faulkner notes that Lundy had nothing to gain and, as a loving friend, would have likely picked a gentler and more dignified form of death,” says Dr. Tomas Noel, in a review of Faulkner’s book in 2006.

Denver Public Schools converted Longfellow School to Opportunity School in 1916. It was renamed Emily Griffith Opportunity School when the little, red-haired Emily retired in 1933 on Denver’s standard $50-a-month teacher’s pension – all that she would accept – and she settled down in the pine-slab mountain cabin where she and her sister were later murdered.

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Photo One Info:

Emily Griffith, Center, at the school. From Emily Griffith Technical College.

Photo Two Info:

Masons point mortar at the Emily Griffith Opportunity School at 12th and Welton Streets in downtown Denver. Photo created between 1931 and 1935.

George D. Begole Denver Projects WHC Album #161 A. Western History/ Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library.