Saturday, November 29, 2014

W. H. Jackson and Dolores go way back

The iconic "Stage to the San Juan" Jackson photo must have been taken between 1891, and the fall of 1893

By Rob Carrigan,

For me, it is almost a personal relationship with William Henry Jackson photos.
Starting the day after Thanksgiving in 1978,  I worked for Taylor Hardware in Dolores, Colo. for more than seven years with Merton Taylor and his family. Merton's father, George, had owned the store and had been around almost as long as the building, I think.
The old J.J. Harris & Co. building was built with the first structures in town when the little village was relocated upriver about two miles from Big Bend, on the Dolores River, when the Rio Grande Southern arrived in 1891. The hardware store still had elements of a bank, and beautiful hardwood floors that we mopped every day as long as it stood.
I speculate the iconic "Stage to the San Juan" Jackson photo must have been taken between 1891, and the fall of 1893, when the Silver Panic that year slowed activity of  the second San Juan rush and boosterism of that period. Merton had several copies of the photo (some displayed in the store) and Jackson must have spent the greater part of a day or two in Dolores, as he had had multiple frames. I have never been able to precisely date it but other photos appearing in Jackson albums indicate that he was likely shooting for a railroad company, and created at least several week's worth of work in the area.
The day after Christmas, in 1984, a terrible fire, that began in the T. H. Akin Merc. building next door (old building, but had not yet built at the time of Jackson's photo) destroyed the building.
I would guess the other photos included here, one from Rico by Jackson, and Cowboys of the Dolores were produced about the same time, perhaps in the same trip. But that is just speculation, as Jackson easily could have visited my hometown, Dolores, on several occasions.

Frame 1: Stages from Dolores
Creator: William Henry Jackson
Sumary: Stages load with men are in the street in front of the J.J. Harris & Co. mercantile store in Dolores (Montezuma County) Colorado. men stand on the sidewalks, and in the street, some with mining equipment and guns. A burro packtrain is in the street.
Date: Photo created between 1882 and 1900?
Attribution to Jackson based on the photo negatives inclusion in the History Colorado William Henry Jackson Collection. Hand-lettered twice on the negative, "3861." Phot negative, glass, 5" x 8."

Frame 2: Rico, Colo. , W.H. Jackson Sample Album, Colorado Book III, No. 169
Creator: William Henry Jackson
Summary: View of the town of Rico with frame buildings and dirt streets.
Date: Photo created between 1882 and 1900?
Attribution to Jackson based on in bound W.H. sample album. "3219" hand-lettered on negative and reproduced in print. Photoprint, 4"x 7" mounted on album page.

Frame 3: Cowboys of the Dolores, E.H. Allen
Creator: William Henry Jackson.
Summary: Cowboys on horseback in front of a sod-roofed log building in Colorado. A dog sits on the ground near probably E.H. Allen. Photographer's stamp printed on verso of card mount. Title, "3631" and "50" inked on original and reproduced in photographic print. Photographic print on card mount: 4 1/2" x 7".
Source: Pueblo Public Library
Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Jackson's images are like an old friend

Served as president and plant manager of Detroit Publishing Company which sold over seven million photographs by 1902

By Rob Carrigan,

In Colorado, the images are like a old friend from your hometown that resurface every so often to help remind you of where you came from. They are familiar, inspiring, soulful and bear traces of your past and your future — a careful snapshot of place, and time, and being.

William Henry Jackson roamed the American West (and other places) taking photographs, painting, guiding other artists, documenting progress and promoting the western experience for more than 80 years. In just photographic negatives, an excess of 80,000 images attributed to Jackson, capture the essence of the period and space and time.

Inspiring rich development of the craft and launching thousands of artists along similar quests for beauty, understanding, and spirit — Jackson still impacts us today through the work of John Fielder, Ansel Adams, his own images, and just about everyone who stood out on a high point above their hometown, or river valley, or mountain, and photographed an expansive shot of their favorite places.

Locally, Jackson provides us with some of our earliest images of the places we call home and documented the construction of the railroads, the early Hayden Survey information of land forms before we started building, and peek at our past. Heyday in gold camps, embryonic construction of towns, and familiar landmarks offer us insight and understanding today, and far into any future.

"The trademark style of Jackson's railroad views quickly turned him into one of the most sought-after landscape photographers of the nineteenth century," wrote Eric Paddock, curator of the Photography of the Colorado Historical Society in the forward of John Fielder's popular "Colorado: W. H. Jackson, John Fielder, 1870-2000" coffee table book.

"The technology of the day forced him to develop his glass negatives on the spot, which required him to carry a portable darkroom and bottles of chemicals as he went. That burden also gave him the advantage of seeing his work immediately — he could take the pictures over and over until nightfall if necessary, making any changes that he wanted until satisfied," wrote Paddock.

"His success with the D & RG led to commissions from virtually every major railroad in the western United States and Mexico and most minor ones, too. Each assignment demanded that each railroad be cast in the most heroic light to boost tourist as well as freight traffic. Jackson often spent weeks or even months at a time, photographing the railroads and all of the cities and towns, ranches, factories, and resorts they served. These photographs gave his clients more than they asked for ..."

First learning the trade as a boy early studios of his boyhood homes of Rutland, Vermont and Troy, New York, Jackson's nine months as a soldier in the Union Army, including the battle of Gettysburg, later was noted as he attended the 75th commemoration and reunion of Gettysburg in July of 1938.

Among his long list of accomplishments: More than 10 years work on the Hayden Geographical Survey including some of the earliest and best documentation of Yellowstone area, Mesa Verde, Mancos Canyon, Jackson exhibited photographs and clay models of Anasazi dwellings at Mesa Verde in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, owned portrait studios in Nebraska and on Larimer Street in Denver, served as president and plant manager of postcard maker Detroit Publishing Company which sold over seven million photographs by 1902, produced work with Harper's Weekly and the World Transportation Commission, and later in life, painted murals in the United States Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., and served as a technical advisor on the filming of "Gone With the Wind." He died in New York City in 1942 at 99, and recognized as one of the last surviving Civil War veterans, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Photo Info:

Portrait of Jackson in 1930s.

Frame 1: Mining town of Cripple Creek shows the National Hotel and Gold Mining Stock Exchange, one and two-story wood frame residences, multi-story masonry commercial buildings, churches, and a school. Mining structure on hillside. A locomotive on trestle bridge and Mount Pisga are in the distance. W.H Jackson, circa 1910.

Frame 2: View of Cripple Creek (Teller County), Colorado. Shows flagpole in the middle of a dirt street, Central Meat Market and wood frame commercial buildings with false fronts, one under construction. A horse and wagon are near the flagpole. W.H. Jackson, circa 1891.

Frame 3: Glen Park and Palmer Lake shows frame houses, Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad grade under construction in the distance. A gazebo is on a hill. W.H. Jackson, 1887.

Frame 4: Casa Blanca near Palmer Lake. W. H. Jackson, circa 1885.

Frame 5: Elephant Rock (Phoebe's Arch) W.H. Jackson, circa 1885.
Frame 6: Modern-day Bennett Avenue in Cripple Creek. Rob Carrigan photo.

Frame 7: Elephant Rock today from a different angle. Rob Carrigan photo.

Frame 8: Overlooking Cripple Creek a few weeks ago. Rob Carrigan photo.

Frame 9: In the valley overlooking Rampart Range, near Palmer Lake and the Glenn. Rob Carrigan photo.

Frame 10: Casa Blanca, near Palmer Lake, today. Rob Carrigan photo.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A changed condition: Rampart Range Road offers a hard look at the fire

It is not the same forest

By Rob Carrigan,

When Rampart Range Road opened Oct. 10, 2014, more than two years after it was closed during the first day of the Waldo Canyon Fire, visitors were able to get a whole new understanding of the scope the devastating wildfire.
“I really wanted to see first-hand – sorry I did, and yet at the same time, glad I know for a fact that in some areas – 10 years, most likely will not be enough of an estimated time for healing from flooding. Great to see beaming, white and good-smelling Aspen trees, a few yellow leaves and five feet away on the side of the road, a ‘war zone - a look alike’ of total devastation.” Said local long-time resident Clara Meury who toured the area in the first few days the road was open.
“Whew! Glad I went and saw and came down off the Ramparts...with hope. Very thankful to see acres, miles, and hillsides of hundreds of dedicated footprints of CUSP (Coalition for the Upper South Platte) volunteers back-breaking work that has been done, and more yet to happen to protect our towns, and cities. Our communities. Our mountains. I love our Mountains,” Meury said.
Rampart Range Road offers an elevated vantage point to view the extent of the damage.
The fire, which was first reported June 23, 2012, had caused the evacuation of over 32,000 residents of Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Cascade, Chipita Park, Green Mountain Falls, Crystola, Woodland Park and partial evacuation of the United States Air Force Academy. As many as 346 homes were destroyed by the fire. U.S. Highway 24, was closed in both directions for days. The Waldo Canyon Fire resulted in insurance claims totaling more than $453.7 million. Until the Black Forest Fire, it was the most destructive fire in Colorado state history, as measured by the number of homes destroyed, (Black Forest fire destroyed 486 homes and damaged 28 others).
“If you choose to go into the Waldo Canyon area, expect a changed condition. It is not the same forest that many remember prior to the 2012 wildfire. There are many dangers so be very cautious with a plan of escape when the winds increase or it starts to rain. Your safety is our priority,”said Pikes Peak District Ranger Oscar Martinez, upon the road’s opening.
Visitors should use extreme caution and expect to encounter falling dead trees and limbs, steep slopes, stump holes and the potential for flooding in this burned area.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Colorado history of thinking, writing about beer

As his brewery prospered, he purchased buildings to lease back to prospective saloon owners who, in turn, would sell beer in their establishments

By Rob Carrigan,

I have a long history of thinking about beer when I write. 
My first official beat as a reporter on a daily newspaper was "breweries and beer." 
It was 1982, and I was a student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and Anheuser-Busch was considering building a facility north of the city. Not everyone thought it was a good idea at the time, but it was certainly fun to write about. Affording opportunities like 'up close and personal' with Clydesdales on their first visit, the "short tour" at Coors every Friday, the birth of micros- like New Belgian, and Odells, etc...
I am thinking about beer today, as Tivoli announces moves to re-establish a brew house and tap room in the Tivoli Student Union building at Auraria campus in Denver next year, and we approach Repeal Day next month. Tivoli Brewery and Taproom is expected to roll out the barrel in early 2015, and Metropolitan State University of Denver's Hospitality, Tourism and Events program says they will train students in its beverage-management program and "apply to a wide variety of potential employment opportunities, including brewing sciences, beer industry operations, sales and marketing, and brewpub operations to support the workforce needs of Colorado's growing craft-beer industry."
On Dec. 5, 1933, Utah became the final state in a three quarters majority needed to ratify the 21st Amendment. Legal booze was back! The 21st amendment repealed the18th, which of course, called for prohibition of alcohol in the United States.
Until 2008, here in Colorado, if the date fell on a Sunday, you would not have been able to celebrate by buying booze. In April 2008, Colorado lawmakers passed legislation that eliminated the Sunday ban on liquor sales. The law became effective July 1, 2008.
Colorado, like many states, went dry before the 18th Amendment was ratified in 1919 and went into effect in 1920.
According to, an amazing 2,520 breweries were operating in the U.S. in 1879. New York City at that time supported 75 breweries. The nation's largest brewery, George Ehret's Hell Gate Brewery, sold only180,152 barrels that year and made only 1.5 percent of the country's beer.
Colorado excels in making beer. Today, according to figures for “permitted breweries” licensed by the federal Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau at the end of 2013, there were 217 breweries (56 new permits in 2013). Some think we are on track this year to hit 300 breweries in the state, by year's end.
Colorado ranks second at 11.7 gallons per year, per 21-year-old adult, for consumption and third for production at 1,413,232 barrels of craft beer, per stats from the Brewers Association, a national association for craft brewers. 
The Beer Institute thinks the total economic impact of beer in this state is $14,787,474,200 and it supplies 58,360 industry-related jobs.
The first brewery in the state, Rocky Mountain in Denver, eventually became the Zang Brewing Company and was the largest brewery in the Rockies until prohibition. Only four survived the long dry spell between 1916 and 1934. Of those four, only Adolph Coors is around today in original form. Tivoli, from Denver, Walters from Pueblo, and Schneider, from Trinidad were all gone by the 1970s.
Tivoli was resurrected recently by a group of investors. "In 2012, a group of native Coloradans formed the Tivoli Distributing Company and Tivoli Beer was reborn. The first batch, a recreation of the historic Tivoli Beer recipe, entered the brew kettle on August 1, 2012. At this time, establishments in the Denver area began selling Tivoli Beer for the first time in over 43 years," says recent company literature.
Locally, here in Teller County, we were a bit of a brewing destination at the turn of the last century. At that time, about 1900, Cripple Creek was the fourth largest town in the state. 32,000 people lived in the district and beer business was booming.
The city directory of 1900 listed 52 stockbrokers, 3 banks, 3 stock exchanges, 10 insurance representatives, 9 jewelers, 49 grocers, 68 saloons and numerous gambling halls and sporting establishments. In this case, you’re talking about the days of Coors as a microbrewer.
In fact, Adolph Coors owned a building in Cripple Creek at the time.
“German born, Coors has been accustomed to the European tradition of breweries owning local pubs to help distribute their product. Coors carried on that tradition in Colorado. As his brewery prospered, he purchased buildings to lease back to prospective saloon owners who, in turn, would sell beer in their establishments,” wrote Brian Levine in Cripple Creek, City of Influence.
The Coors building was at 241-243 E Bennett Avenue in Cripple Creek, and he leased the property back to Henry Bunte for his B. B. Saloon.
“Although Adolph Coors did not finance the original construction of this building, Coors purchased it from stock brokers William P. Bonbright and J. Arthur Connell a year after it was built (1896),” according to Levine.

But it seems the most popular brew at the time, among the rising young stockbrokers, mining speculators and bankers, was the stuff served at the Denver Stock Exchange Saloon which is where Bronco Billy’s is today.
E. A. Asmussen, who was also a town trustee, was bartender, owner and when occasion called for it, bouncer. Asmussen contracted with well-known Denver brewers, the Zang Brewing Company and Rocky Mountain Brewery (owned by Zang).
Son of the founder, Phil Zang was the brewery manager for years after the English company Denver United Breweries purchased the company from his father Adolph in 1888. It became one of the largest breweries in the West.
“Adolph became interested in two of the district’s noted gold producers – the Anaconda and the Vindicator – and thus, became financially and politically involved in the Cripple Creek District. After the Anaconda and the Vindicator were absorbed by (A.E.) Carlton interests. Adolph Zang became a shareholder in The Golden Cycle Corporation,” wrote Levine.
Other beers served in the district might have included Tivoli Brewing Company or Union Brewing Company products, which were also two well-known Denver brewers that merged in 1901 (producing where the Auraria Student Union is today, in downtown Denver). In many locations, five-cent (nickel) draws were the going rate, except in the bordellos, where it was markedly more expensive.
If you had a taste for something stronger, of course that was readily available, often labeled affectionately and colorfully, ‘nose paint,’ ‘tonsil varnish,’ ‘tongue oil’ or ‘liquid muscle,’ in the vernacular of the period.
But a fellow didn’t have to drink alcohol exclusively.
The "black cow" or "root beer float" was created on August 19, 1893. Frank J. Wisner, owner of Cripple Creek Brewing in Colorado, served the first root beer float. Inspired by the moonlit view of snow-capped Cow Mountain, Mr. Wisner added a scoop of ice cream to his Myers Avenue Red root beer and began serving it as the "Black Cow Mountain." The name was later shortened to "black cow."
All this writing can make a fellow thirsty. Given my history, how about a local beer?

Photo 1: If it is Friday,  keep 'em coming. Antique beer keg lift conveyor machinery at the old Tivoli (a.k.a. Union) Brewery in downtown Denver.

Photo 2: In the 1950s, the Tivoli brewery produced up to 150,000 barrels a year, sold from Wyoming to Texas, Missouri to California. It closed in 1969, after a downward spiral that began with the Platte River flooding in 1965, labor disputes, poor capitalization, etc... Now, of course, it is the Auroria Campus Student Union.

Photo 3: The Coors Building, as it was once known, was purchased by Adolf Coors to help distribute product in the Cripple Creek District.

Photo 4: Rooftops of the Adolph Coors Company, Coors residence and greenhouse echo the foothills in the distance, Golden, Colorado. sign in the foreground:"The Home of Coors Pure Malted Milk" is constructed of planted flowers. Coors was the world's largest producer of malted milk during the Prohibition era. Mount Zion with the Colorado School of Mines "M" is in the background. Photo taken by Rocky Mountain Photo Company in 1928.

Photo 5: Colorado City before the 18th Amendment. View of two-story businesses, shows a barber pole and lettering on signs: "Hoffman cafe, Baths, N.B. Hawes". Colorado City was annexed by Colorado Springs in 1917, but until then was a drinkers alternative to its dry neighbor. Hoffman's was an active bar from 1888 to 1913. Photo by H.W. Poley.

Photo 6:  Men, women, and popular movements all over the country forced repeal by Dec. 5, 1933.