Saturday, December 11, 2010

70's Telluride Holiday Cheer

The holidays are upon us, and it seems the already bright Telluridian smiles only get wider and brighter this time of year. I saw several big bright smiles during our 70's exhibit opening, as locals who have celebrated 30 plus Telluride Christmases strolled down memory lane. There was a lot of "mountain freedom" story sharing followed by rolls of laughter, and "yeah, we did that!" They bonded over remembering the Roma, Silver Jack, and first ski runs on the new slopes.

In light of celebrating the 70's, I pulled a December, 1971 Telluride Times from our archives with a striking picture of Linda Schoder's fourth grade class in front of the Busy Corner Pharmacy. They won first prize in a tree decorating contest, and got a snowcat ride to the top of the mountain to see the beginnings of the "Big T" ski area!

The photo reminded me of the camaraderie our long time locals shared while celebrating 70's Telluride, and I thought I'd highlight some of the Christmas events that took place December, 1971:

Telluride School children were let out of class in the 70's to decorate the main street trees for Christmas.

The highlight of the Christmas social gatherings was the Commonwealth Club party at the home of Alta Cassietto.

On Christmas Day, Telluride Firemen distributed candy to children promptly at noon in front of the courthouse where Santa Claus also promised to appear.

Eddie Baer graced the piano at the Sheridan for the holidays.

And, one of my holiday favorites... if you wanted to catch a movie, the Nugget had When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, "Big Jake" and Pinocchio on the big screen.

Happy Holiday's Telluride! Make it memorable!
~ Cameo

Friday, November 12, 2010

Keeping Time

This circa 1880 Regulator clock hung in Harry Miller’s Barber Shop in 1904 on Colorado Avenue until it was gifted to Dr. Parker at the Telluride Community Hospital. Later, when the hospital became the Telluride Historical Museum, Dr. Parker donated the clock so it could remain in the building. Today the clock is on display, albeit without tick or tock, in our gift shop.

For many years the pendulum sat detached inside the case. Recently, we had it re-hung and the clock appraised for conservation. We discovered it is a Model Regulator clock made by the New Haven Clock Company in New Haven, Conn. The clock originally had a pediment on the top and depending on the case design it could have been a buck head or a ladies bust, both popular subjects in 1880’s Telluride.

Our Regulator is probably one in a hundred made from the New Haven Clock Company, who was producing over 170,000 clocks a year by 1860! Most likely ours was made in the late 1880’s when Standard Time was introduced.

Regulator clocks were the standard for Railway Stations, Banks, and anywhere time was paramount. The Telluride Historical Museum would like to have the clock cleaned so the pendulum will swing and turn the hands of time forward, once again, making history.

~ Cameo
Telluride Historical Museum
Collections Assistant

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Relief Train

 For some, inventory can be daunting. For myself, Collections Assistant at the Telluride Historical Museum, it is fascinating. Each museum’s collection has its own story, its own local history. Sometimes, even in this small town museum, our own quirky history surprises us with a story and influences others beyond local lore to call upon our stories for a smile.

During my inventory adventure, I have delighted in many objects from turn of the century. Anything from celluloid vanity sets to dog collars, grand wide brim hats we only see in historical movies, and even late 19th century roller skates. But what has caught my interest of late is the story of a flood, a mountain town that was subject to starvation, and a man who thought salvation was beer. Yes beer.

Telluride’s most notable historian of the era, Harriet Fish Backus, recalls in her book Tomboy Bride the 1909 Trout Lake Flood that washed out 30 miles of train tracks to Ridgway, the only community about an hour south of town (by car) and the only supply center to Telluride. The flood wiped out telegraph and phone communication, as well as supply lines to the mining town of 5,000 residents.
“With the railroad gone and the roads washed out not even wagons could be used.  Mules were the only possible saviors of the situation.  They could bring in enough necessary rations, it was hoped, to ease the pangs of hunger.  What food the stores had was rapidly disappearing with no means of replacing it.  It would be two months before the railroad tracks could be restored.  So French Alec with his mule string was taken from his Tomboy trail and sent to Ridgway for supplies, and all of Telluride eagerly awaited his return.  Ten days later Telluride rejoiced when the mules entered the canyon.  The first load of food...hurrah!  Telluride, saved by the mules!  For some the joy lasted but for others it burst like a balloon.  Each mule carried fifteen cases of beer, and that was all.”
Shortly after this incident, Anheuser Busch produced colorful advertising posters of a man and his mule train, packed with barrels of beer, making their way over a trail beside a washed out rail line in the mountains titled, “The Relief Train.”
I had recently heard the outlandish tale during one of our historical programs, and chuckled a little to myself thinking, “We should obtain a copy of that advertisement.” Just a few days ago, I came across a 1912 chromolithograph of the advertisement hiding in our archives. As well as the original photograph taken of the “relief train” which looks strikingly similar to the Anheuser Busch interpretation!
As a testament to the benefits of inventory, you never know what might be a treasure, even if it seems at first just to be a beer advertisement.

~ Cameo
Telluride Historical Museum
Collections Assistant

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In an effort to keep better connected with the community, the staff at the Telluride Historical Museum is excited to start sharing pieces of regional history through our new blog.  Please subscribe to our blog to learn more about our rich and colorful history!