May 14, 2002
My name is Bob Hult and I’m here at Glenisle in Bailey, Colorado with Barbara Tripp and we are going to be talking about her experiences of her lifetime as well as in the Park County area.
Barbara, where were you actually born?
And that was in what year?
What were your parents doing in Colorado at that point?
Well, my dad was superintendant of the Great Western Sugar Factory.
Did he go into Denver or was his office in Greeley?
We were in Greeley then he was in Denver for part of the time and then we went to Eaton, Colorado for a good many years and then he was transferred to Ovid, Colorado and then to Billings, Montana, all with Great Western Sugar Company. And he had a heart attack at 51 and died in Montana - in Billings.
How old were you at that time?
My 20’s, 24 or 25.
Did you go to school in Greeley - elementary school?
No, in Eaton. I went through the 10th grade and then we were transferred to Ovid, Colorado and Ovid is in the Northeast corner, a little tiny town.
It was a farming community too?
Wheat, yet he was with Great Western Sugar?
Well, they had sugar beets too. I think one of their huge crops was their wheat and it was an interesting plains experience. You couldn’t see mountains – flat, flat plains and always I wanted to come back to the mountains because I missed them so.
How long did you actually live in Greeley?
Let’s see, I was only about two years old when they moved to Denver and I was in Denver probably ‘til I was maybe five and then we moved to Eaton, Colorado and from Eaton to Ovid in the 10th grade, so I was probably 16. Then to Billings, Montana. I graduated from high school in Ovid and then I went to Scripps College in California. My first year the war came and my folks got worried and said you better come back, in where it was a little safer because it was right on the coast. Scripps College is in Claremont, California. Then I came back and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder, in ’44. Got married in ’44.
Yeah, pretty busy. It was all September and October.
What did you get your degree in?
Sociology and then I had a minor in history and art. I didn’t really use any of it, I just came to Glenisle.
You mentioned earlier that as a child you came here to visit, ‘cause your grandparents were running it?
They came from Michigan to see their new grandchild in ’23 just about (inaudible). So they decided that they’d just come out here and live, they thought it was a nice place. So, they looked at Red Feather Lakes Lodge, up there, and they looked at Glenisle and I don’t know what the reason was but they chose Glenisle. It had been empty for two years and people had come and just gone in and made themselves at home and slept in the lodge and cooked in the kitchen. It was unlocked and nobody took things I don’t suppose – I don’t know if they took things or not. So when they came I don’t think it was in real good repair. There was probably one or two other little houses with it, the one that’s at the back of the lodge and the other one. They lived in that little house for a long time and then they were able to buy the house where I live now, oh a few years later. Then I think that’s about all they had.
Then when we got married, Gordon was still in the war. He went to war and then when he came home from the war I was already here and decided I’d help them open it up after the war. During the war, all we did, and I helped them a lot during the war in the summers – I spent the summers with them, and we just rented rooms in the lodge and then we had one cabin that we could rent. I would clean up everything. We would clean on Sunday and go down to Boulder to school all week then come back on Friday and clean it up again before the weekend. I did that for a couple of summers to help them out and that way they could make a living and didn’t have to hire anyone. So it was a little work.
When your parents bought the place in 1923?
No, my grandpa.
I’m sorry, grandparents bought the place in 1923, did they intend to operate it as a resort?
Oh yes, we have a lot of the old brochures and things that are really interesting. Like American Plan for a whole week; three meals a day and room in the lodge - $18.50. You just couldn’t believe it.
Eighteen dollars and fifty cents and that covered everything?
For seven days and seven nights; three meals a day.
And that goes back to the 1923 period?
Yeah, and probably several years into the ‘20s it was that rate because it hadn’t increased an awful lot when we came and that was 2 times, we came in ’44. During the war, all they did was rent rooms. We didn’t do any food then, we just rented rooms and it was basically all service men from Carson and Lowry and they had gas to come up. They would come up and spend a weekend or days off or something like that so it was almost entirely service men that were here then.
Why then the war ended - well the first was VE day and people just went crazy ‘cause they could go to the mountains again, and that was fun. Then when VJ came, I’ll never forget that, I was up here helping them and we didn’t have bread left –we didn’t have anything left because everybody came up to see the mountains again. That was August. Then the next year, we opened up the dining room again.
During the war years though, the only people you had up here primarily were service men?
Why didn’t people come?
No gas, we could go to Denver one time a month because we just didn’t have any more gas than that.
It was rationed?
Uh-huh, and so was sugar and coffee and everything else. Shoes, the shoes were the worst part ‘cause up here you go through shoes so fast with the rocks. I couldn’t - and when I got married in ’44 I didn’t have any coupons to buy shoes with but you could buy bedroom slippers without coupons so I got white bedroom slippers to get married in. But the shoes were a real problem and of course for a lot of people sugar was hard and the coffee, you know, and a lot of stuff was rationed. But gasoline - when VJ day came, they could have gas and boy it was just a mass of people coming. Oh, they couldn’t wait to get to the mountains, you know. That gas rationing, you had to be really careful ‘cause you just didn’t have very much. You got a little allowance, we had cows that we milked and we got a little farm allowance extra or something but that didn’t help very much.
You had cows up here on the grounds?
Oh yeah, for a good many years we milked, that was fun.
So during the war years you did have some people here but you didn’t serve food?
So what did the service men do, did they just bring food or did they go out to restaurants in Bailey?
Well I think there was a couple of places in Bailey, one for sure I know at this end of Bailey, the Ranger Café.
Where is that now?
It’s gone, it’s where the Conoco is. They tore all of that down, that was the Ranger Café. Then there was the Bailey Hotel next to it. So that whole corner there has been destroyed and new things built. That propane tank or gas tank, whatever that is there that’s all new. Where the Knotty Pine was, was a real nice - next to the Knotty pine was a place called Bob Salmon’s Hotel. It was just a little hotel, I don’t know how many rooms. They had a little dining room, I think. Gordon, my husband, worked for the Forest Service in Bailey. He lived over there in that hotel and then it burned up, several years later – burned to the ground. The people went in and took things across in front of the ranger station there – in Bailey, I don’t know if you know where the ranger station is now. They moved like the linens - getting them out before the thing burned down, you know. The fire was so hot it burned everything they carried out.
What year was this?
It was probably, I don’t know maybe toward the fifties, some place in there.
So it was after the war?
Yeah it was after the war. Up on top of the mountain there, have you ever seen pictures of the Kiowa Lodge?
I have heard about it.
I think that was in ’38 that they burned that down and I can remember…
Now that I am told is about where they have that log home place?
Um-hmm, right up in there. Up on top there. It was another resort, you know, the railroad built a lot of the resorts – they did not build Glenisle – a lot of the, the one at Pine, the one at Buffalo and Santa Maria had one, Shawnee had one and a lot of those were, I should…, maybe have you seen that brochure that they did in about 1920?
No, I guess I have not.
Well, I’ll show it to you when you come down, if you want to see it, you could take it and you’d enjoy reading it, ‘cause it shows all these different lodges along the way. Almost every single one of them has burned up, over the time. The Kiowa, they felt sure was set for insurance. It just kind of casually burned down one night in the wintertime.
Yes it was, because it was a real attractive, you know, they bought all these diamond paned windows and things and all this went with it.
When was that built?
I suppose early 1900’s because that’s when Glenisle was built. They bought the land in 1898.
Um-hmm, then the lodge was built in 1900, so its 102 years old now.
Who were the original developers of Glenisle?
Well, ten men from Denver went together and each put in $5000.00. They built it as a moneymaking thing and a resort because the little train went by.
The train came through first and then they built the resort?
Yes, it kind of was earlier. I think the train – I don’t know – in the 60’s, early 60’s something like that. That was how people came - they came on the train. I can remember, we got a lot of food on the train and you know, the newspaper came on the train and you’d get chickens, all kinds of things, food and stuff that would come on the train. We had a little station, which we gave to the McGraw park down there. Its called a wait station and people waited down the road just a little ways. Then they would come down, walk down the tracks, come over the bridge and come in the front doors of the lodge there. You could get on the train and you could ride down to Bailey. I think it was about seventeen cents to ride either way down to Bailey. Either you’d walk down and ride back or you’d ride down – ride first.
It’s only a couple of miles, right?
Um-hmm, I think it was seventeen cents it cost. Oh, the train was fun, you know the conductors, little kids hollering, you’d wave and yell to them and I can remember so well that these guys had a real, real sexy looking paper cardboard of a lady on the caboose. When they’d go by, they’d have their arms around her, you know. Oh, we thought that was the biggest deal, you know. They’d always ring the, toot their horn, you know, make the noise on the engine and stuff and wave to you. I suppose all the kids along the way did it.
What period is this?
Oh, this is early. Probably, I was about 12 that would be ’35, anytime in the thirties we’d be watching the train.
Did you pick up the train in Denver?
When I was little, now that’s before I went to school, when I was about 4 years old and I came up on the train then.
You’d come up here on the train and come through Bailey, did 285 exist at that time?
There wasn’t any roads from Denver to here?
Yeah, that old road that comes down Crow Hill that was the old road from Denver. Then it crossed and went up behind here, have you ever been on that road behind here, that’s the old state road.
Really, that’s the road?
Um-hmm, it came out at Shawnee and it still does. That was the main road and we had two little access roads coming down into Glenisle from that state road.
Okay, so you could get a car into Denver from here?
Um-hmm, but one of the men I talked to said his dad owned it in 1919, 1920 and 1921. The 1919 and 1920 he did real well. He was in college at that time, this man I talked to. He said that things were going real well. The next year was the transition between people starting drive cars and not coming on the train anymore and business was not any good. After, I suppose, after the summer, anyway, his dad lost it. He had a mental breakdown and he never got well again, he said. He just couldn’t handle loosing it, you know. So it stayed empty then probably 1921 and ‘22 and grandma and grandpa bought it in ’23. That’s when people told me they just came in and used it. Go on take a room, just was unlocked and cook in the kitchen.
Now your grandparents converted it to a paying lodge again?
They were pretty old?
Well they were almost sixty, each of them.
At the time?
I don’t think I would have given up my whole world to move to Colorado at sixty and started a business you knew nothing about.
They did it?
They did. Grandma cooked and oh grandpa loved messing with the trees and the wood – chopping. They really, I don’t think they did very much in the way of maintenance or things like that. When we came, to stay, in ’44 – well we got married in ’44 but I was here the whole summer before that and the summer before that and the summer before that, ’42, ’43, ’44, all those summers I came and helped them the whole summer so they could make enough living to live on.
Your grand parents were still here?
Yeah and we didn’t do food, we just did the one cabin and the rooms. That way, you know old people are pretty frugal and they managed by what I could do for them. I didn’t mind at all doing it, you know, ‘cause it was fun being here.
Now this was just during the summer months?
Um-hmm, and that’s all they were ever open, was just summertime. It was just a summer deal. I talked to this one man that told me about his dad and stuff. He said there were a whole little row of cabins right where that row of trees is where we walked. He was taking a hunting trip one day with horses and men. When he was gone, they had a little monkey stove in each cabin to keep them kind of warm.
Yeah, you know.
A little cast iron box stove?
Yeah, you know little round ones that they had. He said when he came back; they had all burned to the ground. They had caught on fire and of course there wasn’t a fire department or anything. The reason I asked him about it, I said do you have any old pictures ‘cause I’d love to find some old pictures to see. He said well they all burned up. When it burned. When he came back all those little cabins were burned but it didn’t burn the lodge or anything.
Where you came in there is a little island of trees there. That was the laundry for the hotel. I don’t know if that burned down or not, I am not sure about that. I know that there were huge boilers, big boilers for the water and stuff. We didn’t have a truck or anything and they didn’t know what to do with those boilers. So, they buried them. There is kinda of raised up thing, like this, with the trees and they’re down underneath. That’s how they took care of it.
Archeologists will find them?
Yeah, wonder what in the earth this is. But that’s how they solved that problem.
When you came here when you were a child, came up on a train. What did you do up here? Was the often very busy in the summer months?
Oh it was pretty booming when I was a child. Grandma and grandpa served three meals a day and that’s when it was $18.50. They hired several waitresses and they had several fellows that did horse. They had horses and chores. I can remember when I was really little the burros ran wild, they were just anyplace. Nobody owned them; they just came and be in your yard and stuff. So we rode the burros a lot and I can remember getting bucked off on this road when I went over the top. I went over, he bucked and I went over my head. I can remember I had to stay in bed about three days. I suppose I had a concussion, you know, we didn’t have doctors or anything so they just kept me in bed for three days. But the burros were interesting ‘cause we didn’t have any fences and they just came and lived.
Were they really wild or did they belong to somebody?
No, I think they were just wild.
But you could ride them?
They were that tame?
Well, this one wasn’t. I was just a kid and he could buck and I’d fall off. We had quite a few of them, maybe ten or so that would just be around here. And then we always had horses. We had cows that we milked all those years, raised chickens, all those wonderful things. I didn’t care for chickens but the rest of them… We had pigs. Just a lot of…
All on the property?
How many acres are here?
That’s a lot of acreage, must be more than just what the grounds are.
And over across the way is where our barn is, that old barn. That’s where we had the pigs and the cows we brought back there every night.
This is that square little barn across the road, its on a little alcove actually?
Close to the end of that little pond.
Okay, so you had property on both sides?
So the railroad had the right-of-way through the middle of it?
Right through it. Right where the highway was is where the train went. When they put the highway in, they dynamited this whole cliff off here because it wasn’t very wide, the railroad track, you know. When they did that, I had a beautiful collie dog and they dynamited some of the rock and killed my dog. We found her just on the edge of the river. I suppose it hadn’t killed her right away and she went down there to get a drink probably and she was dead, you know.
Then when they did that they also dynamited a bunch of holes in the roof of the hotel, broke some of the windows out. When the river, the Denver Water Board wanted to widen the river and deepen the river. That was probably twenty years ago, I don’t know.
(Inaudible) in the 80’s?
Yeah, sometime in there. What they wanted, there was a thing that jutted out in front of the lodge. They wanted to take fifteen feet off of that or they didn’t want it sticking out in the river, I guess, or something. I said no, you can’t dynamite it off ‘cause I could remember what they did before. So they worked over a month with a jackhammer and they just weren’t getting any place. Finally they said if we got a really good demolition guy in here, would you consider letting us dynamite that off? So I said, ooookay. We opened all the windows every place and did all these things to save the gift shop. I was worried about the gift shop, there’s so much glass and stuff in it, you know. But we didn’t have anything broke, no windows broken or holes in the roof or anything. We stood way back against the back of the hotel. The rocks, when they dynamited, came over and hit one of the people we were standing with in the head and knocked him to the ground. It didn’t hurt him, bad. He had a cap on or it might have really hurt him. But that just showed how far the rocks went. Oh boy, but I was tickled and they had a guy who really knew what he was doing, there was no doubt about that. They were very nice about it but I didn’t what to give in for a long time but I finally gave in.
They wanted to widen the river and they did a real nice job. They took a bunch of the rock, took them over by that little pond and set them over there. All kinds of shrubs and bushes, they moved them over there for the winter, set them over there. Then they changed the course of the river and part of the time they drive their trucks up this way and there wouldn’t be in water. Then they’d change the course over here and then they’d drive their trucks up this way and put in a concrete bridge, you know. Oh, there’s another place up above Lazy Hours there where they put in the concrete abutments for us in case we wanted a bridge across there sometime. We have a lot of beautiful trees along here and this one day they came and he said I just want to prepare you, tomorrow we are cutting all of those trees because they are probably going to die from the water being higher and over close. I said, oh I don’t want you to cut those trees. He said, well I’m sorry but I just want to prepare you, tomorrow they are going to cut. I said, well why don’t you just leave them and if they die from having too much water, then we could cut them down. We could take a chance, don’t you think. No, no we can’t. The next day came and never cut a tree. Maybe the tears in my eyes and stuff they chickened out or something but they never cut a tree.
And the trees are okay?
Oh yeah, they haven’t died at all and that’s been quite a long time, you know. Then when spring came, they put the rocks back and put the bushes back and I couldn’t even see where they took the fifteen feet off that rock. I thought, at the time it’s going to ruin the looks of it but you can’t even see it. So they knew what they were doing and we got a nice bridge out of it, they gave us a nice bridge.
So they built the bridge that you currently have for access?
Well that worked out well for you, then.
Well we fought it for a long time, took it to court and everything and then you realize how powerful they were, we didn’t have a chance. So we just gave in and said well we’ll do what you want.
Keep on riding the horse in the direction he is going?
That was right and a lot of people didn’t do that and they just really didn’t get that much done for them. They were very good to us and did that nice bridge. Then they did a little footbridge, the little bridge to the island, all those bridges they did. It was very nice to see what they did. We finally chose the right way but for a while we fought really hard and spent a lot of money on lawyers and all this. Then we finally realized, you can’t beat Denver.
When you were coming up here in the ‘20s, what was Bailey like at that time?
Not very big. It hasn’t changed very much. We had the Ranger Café and where the Knotty Pine is was, I can’t think of their name. They had, all these people had slot machines, that was a big deal. Where that…
This was prior to 1930 or what?
Oh yeah, well all the time I was a little kid, you could, they had penny machines, nickel machines, you know.
That was illegal in the state wasn’t it?
Well, I think it was for a long time but then I think what they would do is they would call from Fairplay and say somebody was coming down and they’d quickly, they went away – they weren’t there. The guy would go back and the slot machines would come out again. Right where the Columbine Inn was next to where that garage is in Bailey. It doesn’t exist there anymore but they had a lot of slot machines and the Ranger Café had a lot of slot machines. Just about everybody in the whole area, you know, had slot machines. Now we didn’t ‘cause grandma and grandpa just - grandma said we’re not going to have any liquor or any gambling or anything. I think at one time they might have had a bar and things here in the hotel ‘cause there’s one room that’s off of the game room that looked like it had plug in fixtures and things and might have been a bar down there. But it didn’t exist in ’23, I know it didn’t have one. Those slot machines were - a lot of people, a lot of people spent a lot of time with those slot machines.
So people would come up on the train and stop in Bailey?
They might of but there were slot machines everywhere.
In Denver too?
Well now I don’t know about Denver, I just know about up here. I know that in that Columbine Inn or Columbine Grill, what ever it was called, they had deep sawdust on the floor. The reason on that I don’t know. As little kids we’d crawl down get in the sawdust because when a jackpot would come it would spill, you know. There would be nickels, dimes and everything down in the sawdust. You could go and find a lot of money, you know. That was fun
Oh, about the same things were there. There was the telephone office and the store, McGraw’s store.
Did they have electricity?
We got electricity in ’37.
Um-hmm. We had a Delco plant all the time until then.
Delco was a generator?
Um-hmm. We had a - well where cabin 59er is, this end of where it was, was the Delco plant and the other end was the icehouse. Grandpa would buy ice from the men up here. They would cut into 300 to 500 pound blocks and then you’d put it in with sawdust all around it. That would keep it ‘til the end of the summer. You would have ice all summer.
This came from Shawnee?
Um-hmm, up there, right up there. Little ponds, one of them doesn’t exist anymore, it went out one time. That was an exciting day too when it went out.
The dam broke?
Yeah, and it came down and went through a little campground by Lazy Hours.
It dumped into the Platte River?
Yeah, and it went through this camp ground and made it - all kinds of junk coming down. It went clear up to our cabins doors and people were there and jumped into their cars and left. We had a guy that was selling ice cream, he never came back again, it scared him so. I had a big Irish setter dog and we had water oozles under a little fall there and it got their nest with their babies in it. This one mama water oozle was just squawking and crying trying to find her babies. Here was my Irish setter in the middle of this big flood and we finally got a big grappling hook and got her collar, rescued her. It went clear up to my poolroom door, there. In just a few minutes it was all over, you know. It was pretty exciting but they’ve never done it again. I notice there is a little bit of water in the bottom there but they’ve rebuilt it, I don’t know.
Do you remember what year that it broke?
No, I don’t know when that was, it was a long, long time ago. Probably….
Before the forties?
Probably in the late ‘40’s because we were here running the place. We’d built a couple of little cabins there along there so, I, probably maybe fifty, 1950 or something like that.
Now, they were not making the ice?
Yes, oh yeah, oh yeah – we bought ice from them for a long time and we had little iceboxes in the cabins. We’d have to go over about every three days. In our kitchen we have a huge walk in and twice a week you’d pull these blocks of ice up around and put them in the top. They were between three and five hundred pounds.
These are the ones you had stored from the previous winter?
U-hmm, and the sawdust and stuff.
And it would stay that way through the entire summer?
All that time, yeah. It was really interesting because it wasn’t an insulated building, just old log slabs or something. That’s how we had refrigeration for the hotel in the summertime. We didn’t have any electric refrigerators or anything – all ice boxes.
You had a generator?
Did they have to wire the original building then for electricity?
Well it was all wired for the Delco. When you ran the Delco, you had lots of lights. We had little lights in the trees all around and we had a lot of light out there where the falls were before they put the rocks on the other side to ruin the falls. It was called Graceland Falls originally. Then somebody named it Glenisle but we couldn’t find out who named it Glenisle, they didn’t find that out…
The original name of the resort was…
Well before it was built – Graceland Falls. Before, that was the piece of land that these guys bought. It was changed, somebody changed it to the name Glenisle.
But you don’t know what the origin of Glenisle was?
We never could find out. It was just one of those crazy things.
When we would run the Delco, why, oh, we had lights. Then about 10 o’clock at night then we turned it off. You had to iron with the iron on the stove, you know. We had a crystal set for the radio and that was about it. You just didn’t have very many - we didn’t have a washing machine or anything like that. We just used washtubs and stuff. Then in ’37 when IREA came through, grandma and grandpa had the hotel wired for that. But, they were very frugal and I suppose it was very expensive. They just didn’t have the money. So we had very much less lights when we had the IREA than when we had the Delco.
It was gasoline driven?
Um-hmm, yeah. Made a lot of noise, you know. As long as we’d run it, you had a lot of nice lights and things.
It must have been pretty spectacular to see all these lights?
Oh, it was really pretty and they were down in the trees ‘cause it didn’t cost very much to do it. But if you didn’t run it, you didn’t have very many lights. The entrance was that old bridge, that old second bridge was the only entrance from the highway. Then this little road right here comes over from behind Granny’s Attic. We named it old stage coach road because its part of the old stage coach road that used to come up this way and go to Fairplay, I think it even went that far.
That’s my understanding, the roadbed was originally in fact the stagecoach then the railroad moved in and then finally the road was built.
When you go up above us, here, you can see there is pretty flat land about a quarter of a mile up there. The trees are all in a neat row, like this – big trees now. The stagecoach went along there and then the rust were deep and seeds fell in it and that’s why they’re in this neat little tidy row.
We had one tree here that we know, well there were two trees on the property, that they tied down, the Indians tied down, to point to a campground up above us here. Finally, they got old and rotted and cut them down. You didn’t think about - well I suppose you couldn’t have saved them when they were rotten anyway. Where the lodge is, they know was an overnight campsite because some Denver, DU, archeologists did some work. They, the Indians, would come on their way from the plains to South Park for the summer. They always had, where the lodge was, was an overnight campsite.
Perfect spot to get water?
Yeah, you know and easy to come up the long parallel to the creek, the river all the way. Then in the fall when they went back then they would camp again. Probably only over night or for a day or two, you know. This up here was, I don’t know, another campsite – maybe too crowded down here. They did tie those trees down to mark it for the Indians.
Yeah, there were Indians in the area because they also had what they called medicine trees where they stripped the bark from certain trees where they used the bark for medicinal purposes.
That’s interesting. We found, grandfather found, a very nice stone axe here and then I found several arrowheads around. I know they were here for her.
It makes sense that they would be on their way to South Park in the winter, or summer.
Yeah, and that was ideal hunting up there, you know, ideal for the summer. Go back to the plains where it was a little bit warmer than it is in South Park. I think that there is a lot of old history in here. It would have been fun to have been in some of that too, you know.
Now you came up here and visited from the ‘20’s through really the ‘30’s just in the summer for a few days?
Well, my daddy always had four weeks vacation and he usually, they usually came up and spent the four weeks in the summer. Then they’d help grandma and grandpa – I am sure the helped them a lot. I thought I did too but… Grandmother made me start painting when I was about five years old and she made me paint chairs and stuff. She’d give me her old house dresses to wear so I wouldn’t get my clothes dirty. I learned to paint when I was - as far back as I can remember I’ve had to paint. She didn’t like to paint and she needed things painted, so you always helped. We didn’t think anything about it. I used to go milk and stuff and help grandpa get the cows in. Until I was about 18 I really took a lot of the horseback rides, took a lot of the rides out. Suddenly I just got - didn’t care about riding horses anymore. I don’t know, I guess that happens to lots of kids. I helped with the horses a lot.
What was the effect of the depression on the resort?
Well I think for grandma and grandpa, it was pretty hard. I can remember my mother and dad telling them we’re going to pay for a telephone for you – you should have a telephone. Grandma said, we really don’t have enough money to pay for a telephone. Mom and dad paid for a telephone, so they would have a telephone because they were getting older. You know, they were 60 when they came so you know, they were getting pretty old. I know it was hard for all the people. It wasn’t hard for my dad because he had a good job with the sugar company and it was a set salary. I didn’t really feel, living at home, that the depression was bad, you know, for us – it wasn’t hard on us. We had lots of hobos that came to the house where we lived. We lived on the factory grounds, you know.
This was where?
In Eaton, Colorado and they would come…
Hobos, they would come by there?
Um-hmm and they’d ask for food, they’d ask sometimes for thread and needle and stuff from mom. Momma always gave it to them, you know. They weren’t - you didn’t worry about them hurting you or anything, they were just people that didn’t have a job and didn’t have stuff to eat, you know. I can remember that was, for mom and dad, I don’t really think we had to suffer much. But I know grandma and grandpa, I’m sure, had a hard time ‘cause I think people probably didn’t take vacations.
Yeah, it had to be tough on a lot of people ‘cause they just didn’t have the money available.
Because they didn’t have it and they couldn’t go. Of course grandma and grandpa probably didn’t have too many expenses, you know, because I would assume they kinda paid for it all at once, pretty early in that time and didn’t have any debt any place. When we came, they said, now all the bills we have we put in this box and we always pay them right now and don’t buy anything if you don’t have the money for it. For years, we never bought a thing that we didn’t have the money for – couldn’t buy a car because we didn’t have the money for it. We helped build the Platte Canyon Community Church and when we put up our constitution we said you can’t do anything until we have the money to do it. Then we had some fancy Denver people come in and… oh charge it, charge it. That ruined our whole plan but we still never bought anything if we didn’t pay for it because grandma and grandpa just told us that’s what you do. My folks had done the same thing, they’d always been real thrifty and didn’t charge things.
Did they continue with the resort through the thirties?
Oh yes, they continued. When we came, we told them – well I came early, in ’46 to open up ‘cause the war was over with. Gordon’s dad had a very fine grocery store in Boulder called Tripp’s Market. He came up and took me to Denver and introduced me to all the wholesale people that he traded with in the grocery. He helped me in a lot of ways. I knew nothing about purchasing food and stuff. Grandma and Grandpa were pretty old by that time and couldn’t help that much. So he helped me and Gordon got to come home on the sixth of July that summer. I opened at the end of May.
From the service?
Um-hmm, coming from the war. He came home with undulant fever and a whole bunch of health problems he had gotten in Germany.
Okay, that’s where he served?
Um-hmm, and he wasn’t - it was hard, he couldn’t work much or do much, you know.
Now you got married and he left right away?
Um-hmm. Well he was in the service, he was in four years. He got to come home on a leave and we got married in Boulder where I was just about to graduate. We got married in September and I graduated in October.
October, that was an unusual time to graduate?
Well, that was the war. They were sending them through. He graduated in April, which was unusual to graduate in April. Then he could go right into officer’s training from there ‘cause he had ROTC. Then I went around the clock, went to summer school two summers. That’s when I would come up on the weekends and help grandma and grandpa. So I went through college in three years in place of four years just because I wanted to get through.
Now you were able to get up here during the war?
Busses and trains. There was a little train to Denver that you always took, then a bus came up here.
There was bus service out of Denver?
Uh-huh, a greyhound bus.
Did it stop in Bailey or did it stop here?
No, it stopped right at the bridge out there. On the way back, Sunday night, it would pick me up – or Sunday. Then I would take the train from Denver to Boulder, back to school every Sunday. It wasn’t ideal, but I didn’t have a car so you don’t have much choice.
Did the bus go on to Fairplay then?
Um-hmm, went clear to Durango. When Greyhound had the strike, they took them off and never put them back again.
When was this?
Oh, I’m not any good on years, isn’t that terrible? This is, oh we had the bus for a long time when we had our business because they used to, for instance come up and you could get off the bus say maybe one o’clock. Then the bus coming the other direction would come back and pick them up maybe at five. So, if you were having somebody come interview for a job, they could up and still go back the same day. Lots of people came on the bus because it would stop right out there and pick them up and let them off. I guess it wasn’t enough paying thing that Greyhound put it back but its been missed by lots of people.
Do you think that was in the fifties that it was cut off?
Oh no, more recently. It was probably in the eighties, something like that. Because that bus was – and they even had a special that went at nine o’clock in the morning every day so that you could, you know, catch and go to town and shop and stuff. It’s too bad ‘cause that bus was a nice thing for a lot of people. I didn’t use it much but I did when I was in college, it was wonderful.
You graduated from college and you immediately came up here?
Well, I graduated in October then I went home to Montana, to Billings, Montana, to my parents. Then my dad, well, we didn’t know how long Gordon would be stationed at Fort Sill and he was at Camp Gruber for part of the time and that was at Muskogee, Oklahoma. About Thanksgiving of that year then I went down there and was there ‘til January. Then he shipped to New York. He sat in New York a month in the winter while he waited to go over to Germany.
This was 1940…..?
That was pretty much the end of the war then?
Yeah, he got over there and all of his outfit, most of them, had been in Alaska, up there. So they had a lot of points and a lot of them had children, we didn’t have any kids. He lacked like 3 points or something in getting to come home when everybody else came home. So they let him stay over there in Germany and they put him in - he was an officer with a Negro battalion. It was a battalion that the Americans didn’t want to come back because they were all, well they couldn’t read or right – just make X’s and stuff. They were not going to be real ideal citizens for America so they thought of ways to keep them over there.
Now this was a battalion of American blacks that had been formed and kept together as a group and they didn’t want them to come back? This would have been late forties then?
Um-hmm. Oh, he had some really bad experiences with them because they didn’t like the white people, they didn’t like the white officers bossing them around and stuff. Then when they couldn’t read and write and they got into lots of trouble with the German girls. They told them they were night fighters, they didn’t tell them they were Negroes, you know, and that’s why they were dark – it was crazy.
Must have been a management nightmare.
Oh, he had a terrible time. I tried to send a package every week to him – mostly books ‘cause he loved to read. They opened all his Christmas presents; you had to send them by the first of October, you know, if you wanted to get them there by Christmas. They opened every single package that I had sent. Of course most of the presents was books so it didn’t do them any good, just tore packages open. So I sent the post office a letter and told them could I send more and they let me break a rule and send some more things, so he would have something for Christmas.
Were there limitations on how much you could send?
Oh yeah, and when you had to send it – you had to send it by the 15th of October or they wouldn’t let you send it.
He was stationed in Germany at the time, do you remember what city he was in?
He was in Heidelberg a lot of the time. I know we went back maybe 15 years ago or 20 years ago and visited all the places he was stationed. That was fun. He showed us where his office was in Heidelberg and they had confiscated a real nice building for the American troops for their officers. He had a little girl that used to come and pick food out of his mess kit ‘cause they were hungry, you know. Her name was Heidi. He wrote and said if we ever have any kids we are going to name her Heidi for that little girl. He had lots of good experiences. He met, when they were going into Germany to fight, there was a Dutchman, Jeff Beaumont, who was from Holland but he had joined the American forces ‘cause he wanted to fight with Americans. He speaks five languages and so he was a good interpreter for our Americans. He could speak Dutch, he could speak Italian, he could speak German, he could speak French and English – he was good in English. When he was in Holland as a boy he worked in a movie theater as an usher and stuff. He knew all American films and he learned a lot of English and things through the American pictures that they saw. He was a proofreader for our newspaper all his life - that was his business that he did. He went with Gordon all through the fighting and the German part there. He became a real good friend with Gordon. He has come three or four times and stayed a month each time with his wife and visited over here. That was fun. Both of them are still alive. It was interesting to keep track after all those years.
You mentioned when he came back he had health problems. That was all related to the war?
Yeah, undulant fever. They got that from eating unpasteurized milk and ice cream. He said he didn’t drink the milk because he knew it wasn’t pasteurized but they didn’t think about the ice cream. Rare roast beef was the other thing that they thought gave it to them. He was just exhausted all the time. It’s a weird disease. He finally got better and he had to take hydrochloric acid. He just had a lot of things wrong for quite a long time. It was all related to the war. He was a captain and had some real hard times. He was in the artillery and they had tanks blown up. Guys would be killed and he would have to write their folks, you know, hard things. Hard things to see people under you die, you know. So he had some bad times but when he was in that Negro outfit it was something. They were just terrible.
How long did he manage that?
He was probably maybe a year with that. That was pretty bad and he tried everything he could to get out of it. I know he got accepted to teach in Paris in the university there. I don’t know how he did that. He had to teach venereal diseases if he wanted to teach. He said he’d do anything to get out of that Negro outfit.
Whatever happened to that group, you know, the battalion?
Oh, I think they finally came back but they were mean to them in the respect that they saw they didn’t get the points to come home. Some of them had the points and they didn’t let them come home. I can see why, there was a lot of feeling about it. Gordon was raised in Boulder and he said they only had one or two Negro families in the whole town, when he grew up and he never thought about it. But, he said man they made him prejudice there when he saw all the thing they did. They killed each other, they’d ram their trucks into things. One guy was the liquor control officer and he had to another town to get the liquor for the guys in the outfit. I guess that was terribly important to them. They stole the truck and all the liquor and never saw it again – never found the guy. Here’s Gordon stuck. They had to eat in separate places and he went to eat in the officer’s mess and the other guy went where he was eating and just disappeared. There were a lot of things that happened that I could see why he was pretty upset. They stole a lot of his clothes and all his Christmas presents.
Were there black families living in this area during the twenties, thirties and forties?
None up here at all.
I know when we first came we interviewed a Negro that could cook. They said, well they didn’t think they’d like it up here ‘cause its too lonely and its cold and they don’t like any of those things. We still don’t have hardly any Negro families and just recently we have more than we’ve had before. I know for a long time just one or two families were in this area.
What year did Gordon come back?
He came back in July of ’46. He went in ’42.
So he’s done in ’46, discharged from the service and then you guy finally get to live together here?
Yes. He stayed in, well I think he had the option to stay in maybe the National Guard or maybe stay in and do so many weeks a year of service. We didn’t do that. It was real interesting after he’d been home maybe six months or a year, why the Korean thing flared up. All the guys that he’d been officers with, went to Korea. He went down and took the physical and said well, I have this and I have that, health problems you know. That’s okay, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, you’re okay. They said, you’ll get your orders in ten days. Everyday we went to the post office and never ever… I think they lost them because every one of his friends went to Korea.
Now is it because they were called up or did they volunteer?
No, no, they called them back.
They called them back, it wasn’t optional?
Noooo. He bought - Gordon got a new car for me – a Suburban ‘cause he felt I needed it up here. Grandma and grandpa needed me – I was still taking care of them, you know. He bought a Suburban – well I don’t know how much it was, a hundred and twenty a month or something – which was a lot of money then, to pay for it. He said, well don’t worry because I’m going to have a Captain’s pay and that was good pay – better pay than we were making at Glenisle. Then here, the thing didn’t work.
Then he heard about a farm program for ex-soldiers and people. It was going to be in Fairplay and was going to be crops and livestock. We had a little, cows and stuff. So he went, he thought he was going to be in that for sure. That was going to be $125.00 a month think if he went to that. We thought, well that’s going to pay for the car, you know. He was too well educated ‘cause he had a degree so they couldn’t let him do that.
He didn’t qualify because he had an education?
Yeah, he had too much. They were trying to educate, I suppose, people that hadn’t had a chance to go to college – that’s what I figured out. That was a couple of hard years, paying for that darn car. We still have it sitting out here. Oh, that was hard. It was nice he didn’t have to go so we didn’t complain but we never did ask. I know they lost the orders ‘cause they said ten days. We waited – you know, you just get started, we built cabins. We would build one cabin one year and then the next year we would repair. We would build a cabin the next year and then the next year we would repair. We did that ‘til we got – well we have nineteen units outside and we bought back a couple of houses that didn’t have bathrooms and things and we remodeled them.
You built these yourself?
You did all the work yourself, huh?
So this was going into the late forties with the Korean War. Did that effect your business?
Yeah we had some years that were kind of bad. We had one year when they rationed gas that was pretty darn terrible.
During the Korean War?
Must have been. I can remember, people just couldn’t come, you know, they didn’t have the gas. We didn’t pay out anything, we never owed any money, ‘cause grandma and grandpa wouldn’t let you owe any money. In that respect, it was good. You just had to tighten belt a little bit and do a little harder work and stuff. We didn’t owe anybody, never have owed anybody. If times weren’t so good, why you managed.
Well now you were only open from April through September?
Well really we try and open for Memorial Day. Then through September or really through Labor Day is the real season. I don’t know how many years ago, probably maybe 25 years or so, we decided to stay open in the wintertime. We used to keep eleven cabins open. Then Gordon got sick, he was sick fourteen months. When he died my son-in-law that lives across the street – he’s the fire chief. He said, five, you could only keep five. So we have five on all winter – we rented five all winter. That’s enough to keep busy and as long as you live here, you might as well rent them. It’s been good because Denver’s close, there’s more people and more people.
We have four up this way and the ones along the river, see freeze easily and that’s why we drain those in the winter. Then the lodge has exposed plumbing under the whole thing so it has to be drained October or sometimes we are even too late then, you know. We just store linens in it and things like that. I leave the gift shop stuff out just because we put it away one year and that was too much trouble. So I just leave it out like it is and if somebody wants to go in, I can go in with them.
Its good in the winter, it isn’t bad.
You do get people coming up here?
We have a lot of sleds we loan them and let them sled. The little pond over there freezes. About three years ago, Jeff was plowing the pond and the Jeep went through the ice – got full of water. He had a terrible time and they had a terrible time getting it out. He’s been real careful when he plows over there. It was fixing it nice for ice-skating, you know.
In the fifties, you were here and you were pretty much running the place. Your grandparents continued to be involved with it?
Well, they died… No, not really but they were here and we made the living for them. I took care of them. That was the agreement, if we would take care of them, make the living for them. Of course, it was a survivors deed between grandma and grandpa and myself. Then when grandma died, we added Gordon’s name to it and when grandpa died it was just Gordon and myself on the deed. There wasn’t anybody else in the family that liked it or wanted it or was interested. My kids say its too much work. I never minded it because I liked it. It’s a lot of work but you meet a lot of neat people.
Oh we’ve had lots of fun. When we ran the dining room – we did the dining room for fifty years, Gordon and myself did it. We had lots of help you would have to hire. A lot of those kids keep coming back – last week we had two boys that hadn’t been here for twenty years. Once last summer, we had a girl that worked fifty years ago for us. She came back for a visit. Those kind of things make you think, well it was worth it to have them come back and see you again. Lots of them bring their kids back and their wives back. Some of them we’ve had, the boy had work for us, then he got married and his boy worked for us. It’s been fun in that respect. Its kind of like your family coming home, you just get excited about having them come back.
You raised your family here?
All of them. Yeah, they all graduated from school up here.
So that was starting in the early fifties then?
Um-hmm. Heidi was born in ’48 and so we didn’t have kindergarten for any of the four older ones. They started first grade when they were about six.
Where did they go?
Well, to Deer Creek. You know where camp Id-Ra-Ha-Je is? Well that was where they went to school to start.
Okay, that was a consolidated school at that time.
Okay, so this would have been ’53, ’55 time frame roughly?
Then, when Howard – he might have been the first one in the family who got to go to the new school up here, when they did it, you know.
The high school or the middle school?
Yeah, that was one of the first schools. They all graduated from school up here. Three of them graduated from Greeley. Amy is an artist and she went to the Colorado Institute of Art after she graduated from Greeley. She’s not doing her art now, she works for Pinnacle Insurance. She’s still a good artist, she just had time making a living to do anything but work. Two of the kids are still teachers.
What was it like raising kids at a resort?
I didn’t ever think it was bad. Now, maybe they’d tell you different, I don’t know. They all had to work, they worked hard, you know. We wouldn’t have made it if the kids hadn’t helped always. The girls would wait tables and help clean and they worked in the lobby – Amy didn’t like the lobby part but she liked the cooking part so she’d work in the kitchen. Heidi and heather both worked the desk and the lobby and helped that way. The boys, they knew how to do everything Gordon knew ‘cause Gordon took them and they worked with Gordon all the time. They helped build, you know, and repair and do all kinds of stuff. Howard, he was the oldest boy, when he went to Greeley to school, the second year they got an apartment. When they went to leave, the man said they left it the nicest anybody has ever left an apartment. Howard said, well I had pretty good training at Glenisle. The boy that roomed with him, his folks ran a motel and he had to help always so that’s why they left such a nice apartment. It didn’t hurt them any and they still say I’m glad you taught us all the things you taught us because it’s kind of good in life.
You would have to learn so many things in the maintenance of this building – a historical building, especially one like that.
The one boy is in Tucson and he is in construction. He’s been doing, all of last year, all kinds of freelance kind of stuff. Going in on his own and repairing, doing bathrooms over and kitchens over and all these things. I told him on the phone one night, I have a couple of septic tanks I am having a problem with ‘cause they’d frozen. He laughed and thought it was kind of funny. He called the next night and he said, I didn’t know what you were doing to me but a lady called me and said her toilet wasn’t working very good and I found out I had to dig out her whole septic system for her. He said, and I hadn’t thought I was doing that anymore. But he knew how to do it, you know.
Well I guess while he was here, he learned?
Oh yeah, you had all kinds of things happening and they both learned very well and they do a very good job. The oldest boy, Howard, has come the last three summers and helped, the summer. He’ll be here this summer – I wish he’d hurry and get here ‘cause I could sure use him. But I am sure he is not very anxious to come, this is hard work, you know. He just has to repair, repair, repair. It’s gotten down hill on the repairing because Gordon hasn’t been able to do it. There are a lot of things – we were a good team, he did the maintenance and things. I did like the, cooking and the kitchen and he did part of the bookwork and I did part of the bookwork. When I got it all, it’s been sort of hard. I said well, that’s all you know to do when you’ve done it 57 years. You can’t very well just switch over to something else, I might but I don’t want to try it.
When you were living here and the kids were young, were you all in one house? One of these back here, that’s where you spent your winters?
Um-hmm. Always lived here, always have lived here.
What did you do during the winter months? There really wasn’t much to do on the grounds, was there? During the fifties say.
Well, we weren’t renting the cabins early in those days. Well, the church in bailey – Platte Canyon Community Church. My husband and myself and a few other people started that church. It belonged to Mrs. Grace Failing and her husband. It was a big barn. He didn’t have any animals in it, he just stored hay in it.
That’s the original barn structure, can see the shape of the barn?
Yeah, you can still see it. She said if we would pay one thousand dollars for the land around the building that she would give us the building for a church, but it always has to be a church. That was the very first protestant church in the whole area. There was a little catholic church in Bailey where the nuns came up to. Its still up on the hillside there.
Huh, where is that?
It’s right behind Bell Oil on the hillside up there. It’s just a little tiny church.
Is it an active church now or is it just a building?
No, I think they sold it and maybe it’s just somebody’s house now or something – it isn’t a church anymore. This was the very first protestant church in the whole area.
What timeframe was that, roughly?
I think that was in about fifty-nine, does that sound right? How many years would that be? I think it could be fifty-seven – fifty-seven, I think. We finished it and had a dedication and stuff. The bottom of the church was our Sunday school rooms and the top floor was the sanctuary. They had 12” of sawdust in between so the sound – you know, you could have things upstairs and downstairs going on.
Now why would they have sawdust in there?
Well, I don’t know, it was made that way.
I was told two things; I was told one that it was a potato storage barn and I was also told that it was a storage for ice.
No, no, no. Not ice, it was hay and maybe he had potatoes too but it was basically a hay barn. But, there was a lake east of his house where they cut some ice. Where all that development is, all the houses and that condominium and the post office – that was all a big lake. We used to go down there and ice skate. Everybody had little lard buckets that they carried popcorn in. You’d skate and just pass your popcorn around. Mrs. Failing, east of that house – that two story house that’s by our church there, that was her house. East of that, she raised sweet peas and she sold them to florist shops in Denver. They were beautiful sweet peas.
Just the flower?
Uh-huh, rows and rows of sweet peas and vines where they’d grow up. She would sell us the culls, which wouldn’t be very big, you know, for our dining room tables. We bought them for the flowers for the dining room. That’s how she made some of her living. Then they had cows and she took care of the cows. I don’t know if she was self-educated or what but she was very intelligent. You’d see her out doing the cows, you know, watching the cows and she’d be reading The Iliad and all these real intellectual books – and that’s what she would do. He was of course very interested in his barn and his animals. He was an old German guy and didn’t let her have any pleasures or anything. She had to do the cattle and everything. When he died, she got a telephone and then she got some water in her house, right away. I guess all her life she dreamed of a telephone and some water. They were an interesting couple. They didn’t have any kids – they raised some people’s kids. She was a real character and she wanted a church so bad. We used to have – before we got the church there was a little church – we had a little bit of a church. Over the store was a dancehall, up there.
Above the Country Store?
Uh-huh, and you can still, I think, see some evidence. We had a stage and everything and we danced on Saturday night. Then on Sunday, we’d have - I suppose it was like a little bible study, as I look back on it now. We’d have church there. Then we moved to The VFW Building, which was The Woman’s Club Building. The men built that, Gordon and a lot of the guys helped build that whole building.
Now which one is this?
It’s the log building at Shawnee – the VFW. That’s when we had church up there - moved from the dancehall up to that one.
Was it built then as a church? That structure where the VFW is?
Um-umm, it was a Woman’s Club – Bailey Woman’s Club. The women got the men to build it.
No what timeframe was this, the mid fifties? You said the Bailey church was built in ’57 I think.
Yeah. I think that’s when that was. Yeah, it was in the fifties. When we had church up there, Heidi was just little – maybe four or five. This lady was teaching Sunday school and she was telling them that when you saw a star fall that was somebody dying – just a lot of things you don’t tell little kids, you know. I thought oh me, if she’s going to do that then I am going to teach Sunday school. So I’ve been teaching all these years.
Do you still teach?
Oh yeah, I still teach. I started teaching when I was in the tenth grade. In that little town of Ovid we didn’t have very much but a little Methodist church there. I taught Sunday school there. When I went to college, I helped out teaching in college. Then we got into this up here – been teaching ever since. That church was fun. It was neat to build the, help build the first church in the whole area – it was promising, you know.
There weren’t many others.
No. You know, it’s grown. There are lots of other ones meeting in different places and stuff like that. That’s good, I think it’s nice for people to go to church no matter what church they go to, it doesn’t really matter. It was a neat experience to help start a church and be really involved in it. I think it means more to you than when you just go and sit down. Everybody does things for you – there are a lot of just sitters now days. Not very many workers.
You mentioned that some of your entertainment was that they had that dancehall. Was there any other things that used to be – you mentioned earlier that had slot machines…
We had plays and things up there above the store ‘cause they have a stage and things.
Really, they had local players that put together little dramas?
Yeah, little things. At one time – I can remember Gordon – they did minstrel shows. They had it at Santa Maria, that’s where we did that. I was not in that but Gordon was. They did really well. Then they thought – well people asked them to do it someplace else. They moved to maybe Schaefer’s Crossing or something and did some thing down there – someplace pretty local. It did fairly well. Then they moved it to Morrison for a thing. It didn’t do so well down there so that was the end of the minstrel show. It was something up here that went over big but it didn’t do so well down there. There were quite a few times that we had plays and stuff that we did – local things. I can remember, I had two teeth pulled one day when I was going to be in a performance and my jaw was all swelled up and I felt so horrible. But, I went on – the show went on. Then we did do movies up there at the community center. I can remember doing movies every Friday night. We’d pop popcorn and sell pop and stuff.
At the community center? This was above the grocery store?
No, this was at Shawnee. We did a lot of activities up there – it was used a lot by people.
It’s not a large building.
No, it isn’t very big. It’s plenty big enough. We had my grandfather’s funeral there and my grandmother’s funeral there. There were a lot of things like that that you did. When we first got started, the American Sunday School Association, or whatever it was called, helped us with that church up at Shawnee at the community building. Then we went from there to build the church – or fix the barn up into a church.
Then they’ve added things since then?
Oh we’ve added a tremendous amount to it and lots of money has gone into it. Its fine, you know they want it to look like the city, the church, and it’s looking like it. It didn’t go like we thought it should – that they should pay for it as they went along but that’s alright. Times are with credit cards and everything.
Well downtown Bailey, were there other building that are no longer there or other businesses that were there in the fifties?
Yeah, at this end, that Ranger Café and there was a little filling station there. Then Bob Salmon’s hotel and then where the Knotty Pine is, that building was a restaurant and had slot machines and things in there.
How long did they have the slot machines and when did that go away?
I don’t know when it went away but I know my husband was courting me – he was working for the forest service in Bailey as assistant ranger. He didn’t have a car so he would walk up from Bailey to Glenisle. Grandma and grandpa and Gordon and I would take the car and we’d drive down to the dance hall, which is the garage sometimes or sometimes it was over the store. We’d go to the dance and it lasted ‘til twelve. Then we’d drive back home. Then we’d drive down to Bailey to another dance, which would be at this end of town. Then when that dance ended, then we’d walk back up. That meant he was walking back and forth about four times.
He must have been in good shape?
Well, he was in good shape doing trails and all kinds of forest service stuff. He got his degree in forestry from Fort Collins. That was what he was doing. He never really got to use it except he planted trees and he loved to garden. I haven’t done any of that since he’s dead, I don’t have time. I look and think, oh my, he’d sure think that was a mess. I haven’t done this – I just run out of time, you only have so much time and energy to do it.
With the years you have been here, how about weather. Has weather been a big issue here? Sometimes winters I imagine can be difficult.
Well, we had some winters that were pretty bad. One fall, on the third of October, we had three feet of snow. We were ready to go on a little vacation for three or four days and we left a boy in charge here – we have always had to leave somebody if we went away ‘cause its a big investment not to have somebody here, you know. When we got back, we had three more feet of snow. We couldn’t get in the yard or anything. We just zipped in across the highway, that was it. I am sure that snow didn’t melt until next June. It went down, of course but we had it all that time – a long time.
Grandpa had some pictures when he was, early, early in the twenties they had a huge snow. He rode his horse to Bailey to get the mail. It was still clear up on the stomach of the horse. It just took a long time to get to Bailey and back. He said that they worried about the roof on the hotel. I said, well if we ever had that much again, that we had the three feet and three feet, we wouldn’t have any roof on the hotel ‘cause its too old and just couldn’t stand it. We haven’t really had any snow for a long time, to speak of. I know it’s been about seven years that it’s been so mild in the winter – nothing to it, you know.
One winter was really cold and we had 56 below two days in a row. We accidently went to visit some people that night so we were up when we got back and when we looked at the thermometer, nothing in the thermometer – it was all gone, it broke every thermometer.
I was going to say that most thermometers don’t go that far.
No, it just broke ‘em you know, there was nothing there. We thought, what on earth. Then we went down and kept running the cars all night and doing stuff in the well to keep the pump and everything okay. We didn’t loose a thing but a lot of people went to bed and didn’t realize it was going to be that cold. They heated with oil and the oil congealed and didn’t come in their house and their pipes froze and stuff.
What could you do to a well to keep it from freezing?
Oh we had light bulbs going all the time and we still do, I run the light bulbs all the time and check and be sure.
Now this isn’t a well that’s six inches in diameter, this is a dug well or what?
Yeah, they hand dug it.
A hand dug well and its still servicing your place?
And then they built a little house around it.
That’s amazing, it was a hand dug – its that shallow?
They got so much water they had a pump running while they were digging it. They only dug down just a few feet, ‘cause the men dug it with a shovel. We had this water just shooting out in order to dig.
Well you’re right at the water table.
Oh yeah. I hope it keeps up but you never know. One time in ’65 the creek almost went completely dry and it’s awful low this year, so it could happen again.
With the Robert’s Tunnel controlling the flow that was ’65, it was open and running. They actually cut back on the amount of water that they allowed to come through the tunnel?
Well no, see there’s another creek there – did you see that little creek called Payne Creek? Well we walked across it when we walked up here. That’s the one that I know has something to do with our well.
Then we have a well up here but that well is close to the water coming from the river over. Then we have another well down there that we aren’t using. We might, could activate it again, I guess, the well house and everything’s there and the pump and everything. So far, that other well’s been such a good well we haven’t had to worry.
We have a very elaborate gravity system that was the original water system for the hotel. They bring it ¾ of a mile, through the mountain – its still amazing to me. It goes down and it goes up and it’s all gravity and it goes to a reservoir at the top of the hill up here. Then it comes down to your house and stuff through gravity.
Now the reservoir, its like it’s dammed up?
No, its concrete with a roof over it and everything.
And it’s buried in the ground?
So it doesn’t freeze up?
Well no, it was just summer.
Yes, right, so it wouldn’t make any difference if it froze up?
No, and it went ‘til about October and it was getting cold. Then, all winter you didn’t have any water. That’s when we came, we didn’t have any water, in the winter. Gordon told me, I probably never get you a fur coat but I’m going to get you a flushing toilet. I said, I’ll take a flushing toilet any day! That would be wonderful! That next year, after he got back from the war in ’46, then they started and they dug that hand well we still use all the time.
So, that was just dug in ’46?
Um-hmm. Grandma and Grandpa then had water in their house all year round and they were so thrilled.
I assume you put a pump down there and that provides pressured water?
But the system that uses…
The gravity system.
That goes back to the original?
Um-hmm, 1900. We haven’t had it operating since Gord got sick. My one son said he was going to come this summer and get it back because we are afraid we will loose the water rights when we aren’t using it.
Well it’s this little creek here.
Oh, so it runs into mountain?
Yeah. Then it goes through a pipeline, all that way, ¾ of a mile.
It’s the same pipe?
Well, it’s had some problems that’s why it needs a lot of work on it. You know, they’ve broken it – animals walking on it, deer and all kinds of things. Then the tree roots have gotten in it and messed up a lot of it too. So it’s a major project to get that back into the system again. But we need to ‘cause we just water the gardens and had a wonderful time, you know. That one building down there, The Garden Spot, was the vegetable garden. That was gramp’s pride and joy. He would work and work. We’d have a row of lettuce and we’d eat the whole row in the lodge that day – leaf lettuce, you know. A row of radishes didn’t last hardly anytime at all but he loved it. When he died, then we built a nice cabin there and called it The Garden Spot. I don’t know whether he thought that was a good idea or not but he wasn’t here to tell me. But, it has been much more profitable than the garden was. The garden, we just ate it up in a day or so, you know. You’d work for weeks on it.
Well, we have such a short growing season.
As a little girl he made me always weed the garden and he paid me ten cents a row. In college I was still weeding the garden for him. I said, don’t you think I am worth more than ten cents a row now? He said, well I don’t know, I don’t think you are as good now as you were as a little girl – so its still ten cents a row. I’ve often thought of that, it was really funny.
Two times we had a fire in a cabin. My mother ran and told him to come and help. He didn’t come. After it was all over with and they got it out, she said, why didn’t you come. He said, well there wasn’t anybody working on the garden but me and there were a lot of people working on the fire, so I just thought I had better stick out to my garden. Oh he was an interesting character – really neat guy. He loved his horses and he’d take me from the time I could sit in front of him in the saddle – I’d ride with him. He’d go to sleep on the ride. We’d come in, the horse would come right back. I’d be sitting there and he’d be nodding away on the horse.
You have a lot of good memories of your grandfather?
Oh yeah. And grandmother was such a neat person too. Good cook, you know, she always had a big apron on and the pockets – she’d have little goodies in the pockets, little candies and things. She always made cornbread – we didn’t have dog food, you know. She made cornbread and I thought for years that cornbread was dog bread – dog food. I had never seen it used anyway but to feed the dogs. I found out that human beings ate that. That was the dog food that she’d make for the dogs, you know.
She’d actually bake…
Yeah, just for the dogs. We didn’t have dog food. I don’t know what other people did but that’s what grandma did.
What did your grandparents think of you going away to college?
Oh I don’t know, their daughter and their son both…
No, their son, my grandma and grandpa’s son. My mother, see, is their daughter. My mother graduated from the University of Michigan and she was a teacher up in northern Michigan for a couple of years. My dad graduated – he was from Pennsylvania – he graduated from the University of Michigan too. His home was in Erie, Pennsylvania. They had what they called cuttar (sic), I think it is – its some kind of a nasal thing. The doctors told him if he’d come west, he’d get over that. I suppose it was like sinus or something – I don’t know. He was fine out here so he never went back to live – just got a job out here with Great Western and stayed. He and mom got married and he brought her out here to Colorado to live. They started in Greeley, when they first were here. When my dad died in Montana, then she came back to Greeley and settled in Greeley again ‘cause she still had friends there. That tie was good and she needed something to do so we built a gift shop in the lodge down there. She ran it as an antique shop for a long, long time. She bought a whole antique store to start with. As she got older – she lived to be ninety-seven and a half – she got older, why she couldn’t do it anymore. Then kind of the antique part died out a little bit and it became more tourist and collectables and stuff like that. She loved the gift shop, her antique shop and she was good at it – she knew what she was doing. She studied a lot. That was part of Glenisle, it was fun – people loved the antiques. I always still had the gift shop and its three rooms now in place of one room and still bulging out every place.
You have some things that are gifts but you also have some things that are authentic artifacts.
Oh yeah, we have a lot of things.
Collectable items that are almost museum quality.
And that’s what maybe we think we will do with it, eventually. I’ve tried to set the land up so that it can’t be sold. Because three of my kids don’t want it to disappear. There are a lot of real estate people push, push, pushing – oh that would be a nice place to build cabins. I think I’ve got it set up so that is going to stay for several generations in the family. The lodge and stuff, I think we will make into a museum and do more a museum thing, which won’t be such hard work for the kids. If they would like to do the cabins, well then they could. We kind of set it up where each kid could have a cabin and they could do what they want with the rest of the cabins.
It looks like the lodge hasn’t been touch. I mean it hasn’t been modernized…
Oh it hasn’t, we’ve left it just exactly like it was. All of the rooms are done in antiques and a lot of people really enjoy looking at it. Maybe they don’t enjoy staying there but we have people looking all the time. That’s good – I love to have them, I love to share with them. I’ve got lots of collections and they can see those and enjoy them.
The lobby is beautiful, the fireplace and the seating area, its just like a lodge – well it is a lodge.
They really built it with the idea of making money on it. There’s one house – well after they got the lodge built, some of the men of those ten Denver businessmen - we never did find out all their names, when we did the historic site this man found a lot of them. One of the cabins, the cabin next door to my house, is one of the original men’s cabin – of the original ten. That was kind of fun to have. This family still, the family is still part of it. The great grand daughter owns it now.
So some individuals own individual cabins up here?
Um-hmm. That’s how they… A lot of them, after they built the lodge and things, they though gee that’s pretty nice, we’ll build a house for my family. That’s how a lot of the houses got out of the original property. They just built where they had their house, a little lot. We’ve bought back – well lets see, one, two, three, four, five…probably six or seven from other people and then remodeled them. There’s a couple that we didn’t buy ‘cause they were pretty bad shape or hard to get to or something like that. We had the opportunity, on occasion, to buy some of those but we just decided not to do it.
Now up on the hillside, we were here last summer and up on the hillside there is a large, almost looks like a conference center that looks abandoned now.
Yeah, well that’s one we didn’t buy.
Its up on stilts almost.
And it’s in awfully bad shape. The roof is leaking… The man who owns it lives in Aurora and he hasn’t even been up in thirteen years.
Was it built originally as a cabin?
Um-hmm, just a cabin, its just a cabin. It looks bigger than it is. Those porches on it are huge, really wide. It makes the whole house inside dark, real dark. Its kind of depressing, I think. They had a big fireplace in the middle of the living room that’s about six feet – maybe more than that, out into the room like that. Then there were just two bedrooms and a bathroom and a kitchen. There isn’t very much room. Its hard to get to, that’s why we didn’t buy. We had the opportunity but both of us said, never get people to drive up that road. Try and turn around up there and oh, lots of rocks. But it needs lots of work. I’ve given his name to many people ‘cause they are interested in buying it – and he has a baby grand piano that’s just exquisite – somebody’s stolen the piano bench but its a huge one.
How did they ever get it up there?
I don’t know and great, huge legs, you know. It’s beautiful. He has two or three dressers I would like, oh and little table and a couple of chairs but he doesn’t want to do anything with it. His dad was really interesting. His dad was president of Columbia College, in New York City. A very famous person – written lots of books. Then he became president of a little college in Virginia and got involved in selling hashish to his students. He got caught and was to go to prison on Tuesday. So he came back up – this was in the dead of winter, about March in the snow and cold. He came back up to stay in the house a couple of more nights. He didn’t have water or anything but you can stay. He rented a little Volkswagen car. He had a telephone and called his two kids, a boy and a girl – they were grown and away, one in Pennsylvania and one in Chicago. He just chatted with them. Then he drank a fifth of whiskey and he had a bottle of seconol (sic) that he chopped up or put with the death angel mushroom. He took all of that. Then he was going to go out and drive – he had a little piece of land in Kenosha Pass. He was going to drive up there and die up there. Well he slipped on that steep bank and slid down to our building called the Kiva – lost one of his bedroom slippers in slipping. He tried to walk around back and by the time he got by my house, my St. Bernard was going crazy – she something was up, you know. Gordon went out and this voice called, hey come down here. He said, I’m not coming down until I know who’s down there. It was dark. He said, well I want to die, you gotta come and help me die. Gordon said, well you’re not going to die here. He went down and got him in the car and after that, that was the end, he never regained consciousness or anything. Gordon had me call Swedish and have them set up for him, when he got him in there. They put him on machines for about a month and then his two kids came and take him over to the VA hospital. Of course, they didn’t put the machines on him and so he died right away, the next day or something.
Do you remember when that was?
I should know that ‘cause it was a real experience. The police came and they wanted me to go and look all through the house all through the house and see. I found a – he had huge mobile, about six or eight feet of all kinds of dried mushrooms. We found this death angel mushroom. When garden was raking for his garden the next year, he found the bottle of seconol (sic) with some of the mushroom and stuff. We found the fifth of whiskey bottle and his slipper down in the snow when spring ended. Then his kids came out right after this happened – it happened on Sunday night. They came shortly thereafter, two or three days after. They said, well didn’t he tell you he was going to go to prison on Tuesday. He made his mind up he wasn’t going to prison.
So this is…
That’s his house. And that’s why the son – I think he inherited it. I think, he just can’t do it. The man set the table up for – the wife died of cancer, his wife had died of cancer. He set the table for the four of them. He had poems about death all over the table and he planned it well.
What period was this, sixties, seventies?
Late seventies probably, he’s been gone quite a while – maybe eighties, early eighties.
He lingered for a long time.
Probably wouldn’t have been longer if they hadn’t pulled the plug, you know. I guess the family didn’t want to be involved in paying any more than that. The son inherited this and the daughter inherited his property in Virginia, I guess. She lived in Pennsylvania. The son came out, oh a few times and he’s married and has a couple of kids, you think they’d love to come up. Close to Denver, you know, on the weekends or something.
Such a unique area.
Uh-huh, and its beautiful when look in it or on that porch, the view is just fantastic. The fireplace, the people ahead of him, he worked for a hardware in Denver, Wiegert (sic) was his name. When I was a little girl, I sold him fish worms. He was a really good fisherman. I would dig fish worms and sell him fish worms because he fished all the time. She loved red paint and she painted this stone fireplace this bright red and its still bright red paint. She painted almost everything in the house bright red and she wore nothing but black dresses and black clothes and black shoes.
There’s a peculiarity.
They didn’t have any kids and he would make me count the worms to be sure I had fifty for fifty cents – I guess that’s how he made his money. They finally sold it to this doctor Russell and then his son inherited it and he was a doctor Russell. Now, his own son inherited it.
Its that old?
Oh, I think its part of the original, probably early 1903, 1906, something like that, The surveying was so badly done that we discovered half his house was on our land. Half of what we thought was our land, belonged to him. We were nice, we didn’t make any trouble, we just traded and had it adjusted. But we know some other people that made the man move his house because it was on their land. We just got along and changed it over for him. But, that was one of our interesting episodes. It would make a good movie or something like that.
Well you know it’s been a couple or three weeks ago we had the fire.
Right across the road.
Have there been other instances of fires in the area?
Well, we had some people – we went on vacation. Some people stayed, Gordon’s dad and another man stayed and took care of the place for us. They ran into some DU students. They took and chopped some of the chairs up for wood and burned them in the fireplace and got this huge fire going and then it caught the chimney or something on fire. The firemen came and they wouldn’t let them in the bathroom because some of the students were in the bathroom and messing around. They got it out but it was a lot of fire damage. It took me several weeks to get that back to normal. Then lightning struck a television that was in 59’er and blew the television up. That was a pretty bad fire and my daughter was down in the Kiva and she saw the smoke and she called me. I called the fire department and they came. I got in on that one, I got a fire extinguisher, got a key and opened the door and shot the fire extinguisher in the house.
There was nobody in the cabin?
No. They said that really it was pretty much out when they got there. Then Rosebank had a fire, that’s the one right at the bottom here. We had a teacher and his wife – it has a fireplace on each side and we had put gas heat in. We had no meter on it so we put a meter on it and then we told them you have to pay so much. That was something they hadn’t counted on. So, they weren’t using the gas heat then and they had logs about so big around that they put in the little fireplace. It caught and they were gone and it got the chimney. It was a pretty bad fire, it did a lot of damage.
It didn’t burn the cabin down?
No, not clear down. It broke all the windows out and this roof and the fireplaces had just been done in pink flagstone – they are a little brown flagstone, you know. I said, I had been on three fires and I was on the initial part, right there you know. This one at Rosebank, I was up on the - behind my little girl that was probably about three and a half and my baby, Howard, in the back of the Suburban in a basket and stuff. I looked up and the sky was just full of smoke. I thought, oh my gosh what’s happened. So I tried to back down in a hurry and you know when you try, you have a terrible time. I got down and I could see the house was on fire. There were people just standing all over watching it bur, you know. I ran and I called for the fire people to come and help me.
They are just about three miles up the road?
Well, not – it was just down in Bailey, when the firehouse was down there. They came and some other people I got to take care of the two kids so they could watch those. Then grandpa says, you know somebody says there’s a fire at Glenisle. I said, yes there is. I look up and he has a little can that’s a tin can, throwing water against that – oh its just flaming, you know. So I got some more people and said please take him and put him in your car and don’t let him get out ‘cause I’m afraid he’s going to get killed. We got washtubs and got water out of the river. All this time, Gordon was in Bailey having coffee. Somebody said, well your house is on fire up there. Parked all the way down around the cars watching it, you know.
When was this?
Oh that was ’53. I know that date – I remember that one. That was my first real experience, it was cold and snowy, it was in December. It was bad. We went down and drained the pipes that night. Everything was black as coal, you know and the hole in the roof and everything. We wanted to salvage what we could salvage. So we did that and the fire inspector came up and they said, you know we never give more than 80% and usually we don’t give 80% on the insurance. I don’t think most people know that, you don’t get 100%.
Yeah, I thought it was too. I’ve remembered that all these years. Anyway, he came up and it was freezing cold and he was in his suit and his tie and we were cold and everything. He just looked at me and said it was 100% and we got our 80% but he said it was totally gone. It was terrible because we had to rebuild it. You couldn’t have that at your entrance, a burned up building that looked terrible. I took all the windows out, they were diamond paned windows. They said, that if you take the old putty out yourself, they wouldn’t charge you so much – they’d only charge you to put the glass in. Well, that putty was fifty years old at that time and it was hard as a rock. I took all that putty out of all those diamond paned windows and the door and stuff. Then I took it to the people to put the diamond panes in. That was $375 or something then, which was a lot of money. It saved a lot by taking all that stupid putty out.
The glass wasn’t broken?
Oh they broke, they were all broken. Yeah, the fire was so hot, you know.
What happened to the residents that were living there?
Well, the community rallied for them because they had lost their clothes in it. They had big, all kind of things to make money for them and stuff. They got a lot of money out of the deal and the moved to another place. Nobody said a thing about us loosing all of that, you know. But that was okay. That’s just the way people are, they don’t realize the other side of the thing. It was their fault that it happened. They’re the ones that caused it by putting those huge logs in and turning the gas off because they didn’t want to pay for the meter. Then they got another place and they bought a house up here finally and still taught up here and stuff. I thought well, that’s the way people are.
You’ve had a lot of worries experiences with people.
Gordon always wanted to write a book about cooks because in all those years we always had a cook and I helped cook and he helped a little with the cooking. He was going to say – the name of his book was going to be, “Your Fired, Hell No I Quit” or something like that.
That must be difficult to find people to work up here.
Well and just for the summer. If we could have operated year round, we could have found some good help that wanted to work year round. But, you just found lots of people that got drunk a lot, easy and escaping the law kind of things. We had some we knew had gotten out of prison and they knew how to sharpen knives or something. So Gordon knew what they had done in prison. We had a lot of interesting times with cooks. They were a very interesting group of people. I couldn’t quite see why they were like that.
Well, like you say, it was a part time job and it is a kind of remote area and somebody could be a cook real quickly.
Oh sure, you know and you had all kinds of ones. Sometimes you’d get a couple and they’d have a big fight and he’d (inaudible) killer, you know. Then they’d leave and oh we had all kinds of crazy things. That’s the reason I did more cooking the last few years because it was so much easier more yourself than try and hire somebody.
We are almost out of tape but I am wondering is there any particular experience or event that happened in your life that we haven’t talked about that would be interesting?
I don’t know.
You had so many experiences…
Well, when my grandmother died – she had a stroke. She was up in the Fairplay hospital, which was the little tiny hospital. She died and then she didn’t believe in cremation. I said to grandpa, where would grandma want to be buried? Do you want to go back to Michigan, where everybody was, what do you want to do. He said, oh I don’t know, she never would talk about it because she didn’t want to talk about death. I said, well, what do you think. He said, I think we’ll bury her here at Glenisle. So he goes on top of this mountain here, way up high and picks the place. It had to go east and west, had to be six feet down. They dynamited - seventeen guys worked three days dynamiting all that time. They’d clean it out, dynamite again, clean it out. They finished a half hour before we were bringing the body up. We had to hike – there were 27 guys took them to get that body up there. They made it and we made it in time to get it up there. Well then grandpa died about three years later – what were we going to do. Well, we asked and they said that if you put the bodies even closer than many feet, the dynamiting for that grave would ruin grandma’s body over here. So, we decided that grandma better let grandpa be cremated. We dug down and put his ashes down in her grave and had one marker up on top of the mountain there. Then up this way, we have another mountain that’s real pretty, with a pretty view. We have a rock wall and we have a plaque for my dad, a plaque for my mother, a plaque for Gordon, a place for me to have a plaque. They are in bronze and you cement them in the rock. Everybody’s kind of around here, you know. That was a real experience. I would carry coffee and doughnuts up to the guys and I thought I would die before I got up there – thermos jugs and stuff. And I was young! That was ‘53, I had a lot of kick and vitality then. That was really interesting. When we had gramps funeral, we had it at the community center up there. We looked up and a deer came and looked in the window. He loved animals and stuff, so we thought that was pretty neat. That was an interesting experience. But he picked a pretty hard place there.
He said, well its a pretty spot, you gotta pretty view. I said, grandpa, couldn’t we have picked a little easier place. But he didn’t so…. But that’s what he wanted and it worked out fine. My kids and grandkids over here, they wanted to see the marker. I said, well, I’ll take you up, you gotta hike a little to go up on there. We just took a big granite stone and put a bronze thing in it. That was an interesting experience but oh, I’ve had lots of them, I can’t even think for you.
Well I really appreciate it.
Oh, you’re very welcome.
Your recollections are really great and needless to say we’ll have copy of this conversation for you. We’ll duplicate these tapes and we’ll get them back to you.