Friday, September 25, 2015

Case study: Savage family business grows and thrives here


It has been a study in family, and business, and community. How do the elements intersect and change, grow and develop over time? It is the local demographics of identifying the moving  target of Monument and the Tri-Lakes area.
Rocky Mountain Car Wash and Lube Center, with manager/owner John Savage has been right on the northwest corner of the main intersection of that study for the last 20 years.
"When I decided to leave the corporate world to fulfill an entrepreneurial dream, the corner of Hwy 105 and Second St. was occupied by a one-hour photo and a self-serve car wash. Second St. did not join Hwy 105, the bridge was only two lanes wide, and a single stop sign regulated traffic," Savage said.
He started forming that vision of Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center, at least as far back as 1994.
"Working for a major oil company for 17 years, I assisted numerous lube center entrepreneurs by providing demographics, site development, building plans, equipment financing, and marketing assistance, all the while dreaming of opening my own lube center one day," he said.
The Savage family realized their dream on Sept. 7, 1995 when Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center opened for business.
"The whole family has taken part in the day-to-day operations of the business," he said.
 Dana, John's wife, helped design the lobby, and worked on publicity and advertising. Each of his children took interest in the business operations. Jennifer, the oldest of seven children, helped with bookkeeping; Tiffany, Dustin, Melissa, Joshua, and Caleb worked on cars and built customer relationships; and Caroline attracted business with her shopping cart ads since she was an infant.
Now, John Savage's seven children (with seven grandchildren) are professors, economists, engineers, business executives and more, and he credits their business experience at the Center as a major influence.
With nine family members in town, in earlier days when the town itself was much smaller, John notes that if the family would have moved, it would have constituted about one percent decrease in population.
From 1995 to 2007, Savage paid $10 per month for 1.5-inch car wash water tap that he hoped he might find a use for it someday.
By 2006, Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center had expanded to three locations, with stores in Castle Rock and Englewood as well as Monument. In response to consistent growth in the Tri-Lakes area, a new addition has been made to the Monument store. Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center opened a 95-foot tunnel conveyor carwash, complemented by a completely remodeled lobby and building exterior. Using the latest state-of-the-art technology, the carwash heats its water with energy-efficient waste oil burners, and is equipped with an environmental-friendly water reclaim system, which significantly reduces water consumption and waste. The carwash is capable of servicing 70 vehicles in an hour.
With adjustments allowing acquisition of a piece of city-owned property that now put the business on one of the busiest corners at the entrance to the historic part of the growing city, Savage endured, and finally prospered. The emissions testing service (of which, one of his daughters was the youngest ever technician at 15) helped. The changes to the corner and growth of the community helped, and having strong employees (many of them offspring) helped. And the family focus and spirit helped as well.
Much like the complete set of Colorado license plates displayed in the lobby of the center, from 1913 to 1976, the family, the business, the community has been a successful study in trying to serve the target market of local demographics in Monument and the Tri-Lakes area.







Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Maytag man and mayor ran a local gas station



In the heyday of the gas station economy locally, the Maytag Man owned and ran a filling station in Woodland Park.

Also involved in local and national Democratic politics, and serving as mayor  of Woodland Park for three years in the early 1960s (1960 to 1963), Bob Maytag’s grandfather was the founder of the Maytag Co. of washing machine fame, and still lives in the Broadmoor area of Colorado Springs.

He also had interest in raising Hereford cattle on a ranch west of Divide and his son Russell, lives at West Creek.

The family summer home on Pine and Gunnison in Woodland Park was first built in the 1930s and actually burned before anyone could move in. Completely rebuilt, it was intended as a vacation spot and Bob himself, later lived just west of there from 1951 to 1961.

Service with a Smile, a current display at the Woodland Park Library, highlights the roadside phenomenon that helped create America’s car culture and features vintage artifacts and local photographs.

“You may be fuming over the price of gas, but our Service with a Smile exhibit may put a smile, and will be on display through September at the Woodland Park Library, third floor, just outside the Colorado Room. For more information, please contact the Ute Pass Historical Society,” according to a release from the organization encouraging you to experience, with smiling attendants, a clean windshield, and more.

Gas stations first appeared in 1913, after the soaring popularity of the Model T and the breakup of Standard Oil. New oil companies and cheap gas led to America’s sudden mobility for travel.

Advertising agencies wasted no time in developing recognizable branding for the consumer - Shell’s bright yellow scallop shell, Mobil’s flying horse, and many others. Did you “trust your car to the man who wears the star”?  

“Perhaps your early driving memories include the enticement of trading stamps offered by S & H company (redeem for valuable merchandise!) and other station promotions and giveaways,” suggests Society literature. “And did you use the term filling station (popularized east of the Rockies) or service station (more common west of the Rockies)?”

As far as the Maytag legacy, a 2014 interview with Bob Maytag, conducted by Larry Black at City Hall in Woodland Park, offers clues to how it was “in the old days.”

According to a summary of the interview, Bob recalled when the Kennedys were here in the area in 1959.

“Did not see any togetherness here,” Bob Maytag was quoted in his interview with Black.

John Kennedy coming to airport here at that time helped Bob’s interest in Democratic politics. Maytag said he had one term on the Democratic national committee and went to two conventions. When Bobby Kennedy ran for president, he was very active.
“I was there (in California) the night he got killed,” according to the interview summary.
Locally Maytag recalled wild times in this area.
“There was a lot of gambling … the big stuff … there was a house
behind the house on the first start up the hill … that was the secret house, they had very sexy women there and activities … you had to be invited. Bert Bergstrom was very involved in that … the movers and shakers… it got raided and newspaper in Denver went in on it, took pictures … they loaded the stuff up … to Cripple Creek. It got raided on the way up there … took everything,” according to the interview summary.

“The whole era was different … Bert sold beer and wine … had his fingers in a lot of stuff and never went to jail.”

75 years and golden memories of district past


A certain amount of time in history offers a unique perspective, I think, maybe 75 years is that perfect distance — where no one remembers well enough to tell you are wrong about your observations, but just enough connection exists linking you to the present, that you could be perceived as being right. I found myself there last week as we toured current activity in mining district.
Back in time 75 years, The Chicago Tribune, Oct. 21, 1941, reported it this way.
"Stream of Gold Flowing Again in Old Cripple Creek Area," headlined.
"The mining industry of the famous old Cripple Creek area that was pouring out 20 million dollars worth of gold a year at the turn of the century, is stepping up its operations aided by a six mile tunnel," the story reported

Type of gold seeker seen frequently in the earlier days.
"The romance of that rough and tumble era when fortune seekers sang the ditty about 'to Cripple Creek' still is only a ghost that haunts the mountains, but a stream of gold is flowing again and will exceed 5 million dollars this year.
Less colorful but more efficient miners were going down 3,000 feet or more below the surface to blast the ore out of the heart of the mountains that rise more than 14,000 feet above sea level.

Tunnel Drains Water.
"In order that the miners can go even deeper into the earth, a six mile tunnel-named Carlton Tunnel- was blasted through almost solid rock into the mining area to drain off water that seeps into the mines. Carlton tunnel goes into the mountains at 7,000 feet above sea level and was completed this summer in three days less than two years at a cost of about a million dollars," the Tribune explained.
"Gold mining is a depression business," said Max W. Bowen, vice president of the Golden Cycle Corporation, which smelts more than 90 percent of the ore produced in the Cripple Creek area. "The price of gold has remained $35 an ounce for a good many years. When labor and production costs are low, more gold can be mined.
"This year production In the Cripple Creek area will be the largest in the last decade. Value of the ore, however, will not be much larger than last year because of the smaller gold content."

Expect 15 Million Output.
"For every ton of ore-bearing rock brought to the smelter in 1940, an average of 0.29 of an ounce of gold was removed. We expect to smelt around 550,000 tons of ore this year that will have a total value of $5,500,000, about 13 per cent of the ore coming from outside the Cripple Creek area."
Bowen said the federal government took the entire output of the smelter. Once a week an armored car comes to Colorado Springs from Denver to pickup the bar of gold produced that week to haul it to the mint.
Cripple Creek's gold mines, Including those at Victor, are the largest in Colorado. Since 1891, when a wandering cowboy searching for lost cattle discovered gold in the area, the Cripple Creek district has figured prominently in the history of the west.


Who was operating in the district.
"Capitol's Who's Who for Colorado: A Triennial Reference Work 1941-1943," imprinted on the leather cover. Copyright 1941 by the Capitol Publishing Company, tells the tale.

Frank Joseph  Busch
Mining executive, born Shelby, Ohio, 1878, Married Edith Purcell, Feb. 1907, Children Frances(Johnson), Stella, mining since 1896; associated with Jack Pot and Hull City Mines, 1896-1894, later various mines, Rhyolite, Nevada, Death Valley, California, Chihuahua, Mexico, manager Moose Mine, Cripple Creek, Colorado, 1918 –, Elk (past Exalted Ruler); member , Colorado Mining Association; address Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Kenneth William Geddes
Superintendent of Schools; born, Colorado Springs, Sept. 20, 1899; son of John M. and Bessie G., educated public schools of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Grinnell College, AB 1921; Columbia University, AM 1933, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Kappa; married Margaret Whitehill, Iowa, December 21, 1921; Children, Kenneth W. Jr., Began as a bank clerk; high school teacher, 1923-24; high school principal 1924-28, and now Superintendent of District 1 Schools, Cripple Creek and Victor, Colorado; Alderman City of Victor, 1928 –, served in U.S. Army World War; member of Colorado Education Association; American Association of School Administrators, Kiwanis Club, president 1936; Lieut. Governor, 1939; Episcopalian; home 412 Spicer Ave.; office, High School Building, Cripple Creek.

Thomas Kavanaugh
Mine operator; born, Franklin County, Missouri, 1869; married Clara Aehart, 1894; children Carl T., William Lee (deceased), Gertrude (Mills); master mechanic, Canon City Coal Company 1885-92; operator Mickey Breen Mill, Ouray 1892-93, master mechanic Basick Mine, Coreda, Colorado, 19893; mining activities, Cripple Creek District, 1894-1902; General Manager, Western Mines Company, 1902-1906; Operator Wild Horse Mine and Mill, Cripple Creek, 1906-11; Owner, manager, Kavanaugh Mill, Cripple Creek, 1911-15; owner, manager Iron Clad Mine and Mill, Cripple Creek, 1915 —; address Cripple Creek.

Irena S. Ingham
Ex-District Judge, Cripple Creek, 1900: educator, University of Colorado; Denver University Law School; AB, LL B; Kappa Alpha Theta; married Aurthur W. Ingham, 1924 (deceased 1935); editor, Durango Herald, 1925-28,; admitted to Colorado Bar; practice before federal courts 1924; editor, part owner, Times Record, Cripple Creek, ex-District Judge, 4th District; member of American Bar Association, Womans Club, OES; home, 221 North 3rd; office, 326 Bennett, Cripple Creek.

Cecil A. Markley
Sheriff of Teller County; born Charlestown, Ill, 1898; married Grace May Berry, Nov. 1925; children, John A., Gleneva; owner, manager District Motor Company, Cripple Creek, 1920-32; operator, Pinnacle Mine, 1932-36; sheriff, 1936 to date; member Colorado Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association; Mason, Elk, Democrat; home, 411 E. Eaton; office, Court House, Cripple Creek.

Charles W. Searles
Mayor of Cripple Creek; born Steuben County, New York, Oct. 1859; education, public schools, New York, Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, Lima, N.Y., married Mary Freer (deceased), Watkins Glen, N.Y., May 1899; children Willet F. George F. (deceased), Wendall (deceased,) Began as a teacher, rancher, mine operator, Cripple Creek,1892-; Mayor Cripple Creek 1927—; S.R. KT. Mason (past Master); Shiner: Elk: Methodist; Republican; home, 400 E. Eaton, Cripple Creek.

Vernon Peiffer
Postmaster; ex-State Senator; born, Meadville, Pa., Jan. 1872; married Carrie I. Lear, Oct. 1893; children Hereford V., Louis O., Harry L., Kenneth L., owner, manager, Salida Bottling Works, 1893; owner, manager Cripple Creek Bottling Works, 1894 to date; Postmaster, Cripple Creek, 1936 —; served on City Council; Rep. State Legislature 1926; State Senator 1930; State President Eagles, 1929-30;  Elk; Episc; Democrat; home, 220 Main; office Post Office, Cripple Creek.

"A man's true greatness lies in the consciousness of an honest purpose in life, founded on a just estimate of himself and everything else, on the frequent self-examinations, and the steady obedience to the rule which he knows to be right," the book quotes Marcus Aurelius in the forward.
R.O. Norman, editor wrote in January, 1941, "We have given frank recognition to lineage; to those founded in the native soil; to those destined to become the the ancestry of future generations of Colorado. These are the names which make the history of our state, making the work a contemporary history book."

Just a year later, a different story developed in the District. War Production Board Limitation Order L-208, issued on Oct. 8, 1942, forced the closing mines here and all over the nation.  

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Local firefighters pay it forward, gain experience, but don't endanger home turf




Crews from Divide, Cripple Creek, and Northeast Teller Fire Protection District, with firefighters from all over Teller County, have recently helped with fires in other states. Three things you should know about local firefighters helping with fires in other states. First, local resources can't be drawn down in any way, in nearby fire protection areas. Second, it is an excellent opportunity for training. And finally, without exception, the local crews want to give back or help out others, in case they need help with area fires in the future.
"Part of it, I think, is a desire to pay it forward," says Steve Menz, Divide Fire Protection District Engine Captain, the day after returning from a 21-day stint battling blazes in Northern California. "We saw firefighters in here from many different states during the Black Forest Fire and the Waldo Canyon Fire. If we have new fire, they will be here from all over, to help us."
"Local residents may be wondering, 'Well, who is watching the shop.' but the truth is, there are 20-25 other firefighters, and three other engines, that are ready to roll, just in our fire protection district."
The Divide Fire Protection District crew returning from California, was made up of two firefighters from the district,  Menz and Engine Boss Trainee Bradley Inscoe, its ‘Type 3’ four-wheel drive engine, and a crew member each from Coalition For Upper South Platte (Beth Neilsen), and the Colorado State Forest Service employee (Matt Matwijec).
The crew had just completed a 29-hour drive back last week, regulations only allowing them to drive 16 hours a day, when reached in Divide.
"We got about five miles to gallon," he said and they ran on the highway with about a third of a tank of water on to smooth the ride. But once they arrived, fuel trucks filled the engine everyday. They also had a mechanical issue with their air brakes that was fixed on site, at the incident camp.
He described the crew's typical day as getting up in the camp about 5 a.m., going, to breakfast, then a mass-briefing, division weather condition reports, chores, then off to particular assignments, which might have been anything from pulling hose off the line, rehab, working hot spots, or mop-up operations. For several days they were also assigned to what he called a "spike camp" or smaller, remote camp away from the hustle of the 1200-person incident camp.
"At the Spike Camp, there was only about 100 of us there. It was more remote and rustic and we didn't have the same food service, but we enjoyed our stay. A typical day would usually be about 14 to 16 hours before time to turn in, for the evening.
He did say the crew experienced 'active fire.'
"We saw 20-foot high flames, though we working in the black." The biggest danger however, was probably avoiding hazards from fire-weakened trees, he said. "Snags, that was the real danger.," Menze said.
Northeast Teller Fire Protection District has sent at least two three-person crews to assist with the River Complex wildfires in California, on the Shasta Trinity National Forest. Chief Tyler Lambert reached during a 'rain break' several weeks ago said they also had a wild-land engine, and one of NETCO paramedic had transported a trauma patient to the local ambulance while deployed in Northern California.
Cripple Creek Fire Chief Randall Baldwin recently had a three-person crew return from fighting fire for 11-days on the Flat Head National Forest near the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. They deployed a ‘Type 6’ wild-land engine and Fire Captain Ryan Lohmeyer, firefighters Dan Battin and Sonny Brown spent 30 plus hours on the road to and from that fire.
"It is a fantastic training opportunity and we know that if we have a fire here, we would see crews from all over the country, like we did during the Black Forest Fire and Waldo Canyon," said Baldwin.






Photo Information:
Photo 1: The view from Spike Camp is enhanced by the smokey sunset.
Photo 2: Early morning mop-up and patrol in the Owl Creek drainage.
Photo 3: Divide Fire developed a problem with fire pump's high-pressure hose and had to go out of service to have it repaired. We ended up at Pro Pacific in Eureka. The owner called a friend over to his shop who was head of fleet maintenance for Six Rivers National Forest. The crew was able to get it fixed and back on the fireline.
Photo 4: Crews might face a whole different set conditions with larger trees and unfamiliar topography.
Photo 5: NETCO firefighters wrapping a lookout tower in the Shasta Trinity National Forest on the River Complex Fire.
Photo 6: Helicopter drop in the rough terrain and smokey conditions.
Photo 7: Cripple Creek Fire Fighters Dan Battin, Ryan Lohmeyer, Sonny Brown near the Blackfeet Nation in Montana.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Into the territory of unasked questions



If I could reach way back through the years, clear to the back of the cabinet of experience, and memory, place and understanding. Back with cobwebs ... I'd try to ask questions of them. Of Dolores, from which they came, of the past that made them, of the world they lived in.
A few, I met personally. Some, only by reputation. Others still, only connected by the stories I learned. Place, trace memory, the passage of time and stories... cobwebs brushed against my face, tickled and prompted the questions.
"Capitol's Who's Who for Colorado: A Triennial Reference Work 1941-1943," imprinted on the leather cover. Copyright 1941 by the Capitol Publishing Company.
"A man's true greatness lies in the consciousness of an honest purpose in life, founded on a just estimate of himself and everything else, on the frequent self-examinations, and the steady obedience to the rule which he knows to be right," the book quotes Marcus Aurelius in the forward.
R.O. Norman, editor wrote in January, 1941, "We have given frank recognition to lineage; to those founded in the native soil; to those destined to become the the ancestry of future generations of Colorado. These are the names which make the history of our state, making the work a contemporary history book."
I brush at the tickle of cobwebs.

At the names, I flap the dust rag. The first, on page 21.
T.H. Akin. General store operator; legislator; born in Cleburne, Texas, Jan. 3, 1878; married Bertha Hammond, Dolores, July 8, 1903, Children Greta Mary: Owner of Akin Merc Co, 1907 __; State Representative, 1936 to date, Member of the School Board, Town Alderman; Mason; address, Dolores Colorado.

Page 110
William J. Exon. General store operator, born Wabunsee County, Kansas, May 17, 1873: married Ida Ianth, August 1898; children Bertha may, Alice L. (Hyde); owner of Exon Merc for years; member of the town board, 20 years: director of Summit Reservoir and Irrigation Company, Chamber of Commerce, SR Mason (Master); home, Dolores, Colo.; office Exon Merc Co, Dolores, Colo.

Page 244
William R. McCabe. Cattleman, County Commissioner; born Phillips Nebraska, June 27, 1893; Married Lola Morrison, July 30, 1919, children Stanley married, Vance Lee, Mary and Sheila; purebred Herford cattle 1907 to date; served U.S. Army, World War; Commissioner of Montezuma County 1934 __; Legionnaire; Member of Chamber of Commerce, address, Dolores, Colo.

Page 305
Sam H. Philegar. Executive; born Higginsville, Missouri, June 6, 1874; married Lucille Christy, November 1905, Son James J., active in the automobile industry and in the manufacturing business 1900-1926; operator of Philegar Brokerage Co, Dolores, owner 1926 __; Mayor of Dolores 1938; past president of State Chamber of Commerce, director of the County Chamber of Commerce; Pythian, Elk: Odd Fellow; address Dolores, Colo.

Page 315
Harry V. Pyle. Real estate executive, member of the state planning board; Born Canon City, Colo., Feb. 21, 1876; married Louisa Scharnhorst, June 11, 1899, children Lloyd C, Marie (Deham), Harriet (Manuel) ; with J.J. Harris & Co, 1900-1904; real estate business 1904 __; licensed broker 1926 —; Secretary Treasurer Summit Reservoir and Irrigation Co, Mayor of Dolores 1918; formerly City Magistrate and Justice of the Peace; member of State Planning Board, member of Chamber of Commerce, Fish, Gun Club; address, Dolores, Colo.

Page 384
George D. Taylor. Hardware and implement executive; born Eskridge, Kansas, Sept. 22, 1882; common school education, son of Geo and Mary (Williams); began as a farm laborer, operator of Taylor Hardware, 1923 __ : president of J.J. Harris & Co, bankers 1932 __; also real estate interests, including large ranch East of Dolores; pioneered irrigation farming, Montezuma and Dolores Counties; address, Dolores, Colo.

Page 418
Cecil H. Webb. Insurance and real estate executive: born, Peoria, Oklahoma, March 27, 1902, education , Western State College, Married Erin Plumlee, Oct. 11, 1924; Children, Marvin Herbert, Mildred Jean; with Roger Mills Co Association1920; Exchange National Bank, Oklahoma, 1920-21; various positions as stenographer and bookkeeper, El Vado, New Mexico and McPhee, Colo. 1921-1925, assistant cashier, J.J. Harris & Co Bank, 1929-31; cashier 1932-34; insurance and real estate business 1934-36; cashier J.J. Harris & Co Bank 1936-37; insurance, real estate, and loan business 1937 __, treasurer Montelores Chamber of Commerce,   member of Chamber of Commerce, past patron OES, member of National Association of Insurance Agents, SR, KT, Mason; address Dolores, Colo.

Page 54
J. M. Brumley. County Judge, born Cleburne, Texas, Oct. 16, 1878; education, Springfield Normal School, married to Loise C. Pyle; second marriage Katie Miller, Aug. 19, 1919; six children; cowboy, Dolores Colo, 1900-13; clerk District Court 1913 __; County Judge 1920 __; address, Cortez, Colo.

As a kid, I often mowed Bill McCabe's lawn with his brand new Toro from Taylor Hardware. I heard a lot about Judge Brumley from Brumley neighbors, countless stories of old George Taylor, and Harry Pyle, and C.H. Webb at various accounts. I wandered the rooms of the Exon Merc, Akin Merc, and the J.J. Harris & Co Bank building (which of course was Taylor Hardware), Webb's garage, and even the places they might have gathered. I asked questions, but wish I'd thought of more.
"It is a volume which will command the attention of the learned person who has become familiar with the names of the individuals who, in the present-day, are responsible for the growth and gains made for, and in the state," writes Norman.
The book reaches way back through the years, clear to the back of the cabinet of experience, and memory, place and understanding, beyond the cobwebs and into the territory of my unasked questions.

###

Photo information: The Cowboys of the Dolores River, William Henry Jackson, 1892.