Around Central Colorado

Brief by Central Staff

Regional Briefs – August 1995 – Colorado Central Magazine

It Will Look Much Better Once The Drapes Are In

World-reknowned artist Christo has announced his plans to suspend nylon fabric over several miles of the Arkansas River between Cañon City and Salida.

The actual erection of Christo’s proposed “Over the River” project is still three to five years off, and permission from authorities has not yet been obtained — but those for and against the venture are already lining up.

Christo’s current work, “Wrapped Reichstag,” in which he cloaked Germany’s parliament building in one million square feet of aluminum cloth and ten miles of rope, has attracted five million visitors in two weeks.

He has practiced in Colorado before; in 1972, he hung an orange curtain in Rifle Gap on the Western Slope.

Strange Days

From the June 23rd Fairplay Flume:

A family hiking near Kenosha Pass Campground discovered human remains on June 14 after “the family’s 5-year-old son stopped to inspect a fanny pack lying on the ground and picked up a loaded 9MM pistol. His action alerted the attention of a family friend, who quickly disarmed the youth.”

After checking the vicinity, the group found shredded clothing and a fragment of a human jawbone. Investigating officers later identified the body as that of a Denver man who had been reported missing and possibly suicidal in November.

Some Towns Get To Stop Traffic

It’s interesting to note that the Colorado Department of Transportation has approved two more traffic lights on U.S. 285 between Conifer and Aspen Park — in light of the fact that Salida has repeatedly tried to get a stoplight on Highway 50.

Numerous accidents have occurred on Salida’s U.S. 50 corridor, including two recent accidents in front of the Salida Wal-Mart, one during the last week of June, and one during the first week of July. Both resulted in injuries.

Although some of Salida’s difficulties in obtaining a traffic signal undoubtedly stem from the proposed move of Wal-Mart to the other side of the highway, crossing U.S. 50 had turned into a challenging adventure before Wal-Mart arrived.

You Can Take It With You, and Have It All, Too

For those who missed it, a New York Times reporter examined the growing popularity of recreational vehicles. According to Timothy Egan, RV campers now outnumber tenters three to one in many of the nation’s campgrounds — perhaps because there are 9 million recreational vehicles on the road today, and there are 25 million people who call themselves RV enthusiasts.

Last year, Americans bought 441,000 RVs, which is a 60 percent increase over the number purchased just three years earlier. “The surfeit of motor homes means that campgrounds will continue to look more and more like parking lots,” Egan wrote.

The Denver Post ran the story under headlines proclaiming “RV army invades parks,” and “Forest of fiberglass changes the nature of national parks, camping.”

But nothing in the article mentioned what all of this was doing to our highways.

On the other hand, maybe everybody already knows.

Not Dead, Just Sleepy

Three of Central Colorado’s largest communities, Buena Vista, Leadville, and Fairplay, were featured in Lambert Florin’s book, Ghost Towns of the West, as were Poncha Springs, Alma, Crested Butte, and Crestone. Other area towns recognized were White Pine, Bonanza, St. Elmo, Ohio City, and Pitkin.

Altogether, Central Colorado communities accounted for one-third of the Colorado towns Florin featured, yet the Wet Mountain Valley was conspicuously absent. We don’t know whether they should feel honored or slighted.

Next Vacation, We’ve Got to Visit

The Liar’s Hall of Fame

in Scenic Danneborg, Nebraska

The new Denver International Airport has a map that features the Prunes the Burro Memorial in Fairplay, along with such attractions as the Glore Psychiatric Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, the World’s Largest Coffee Pot in Stanton, Iowa, and the Paperweight Museum in Cambridge, Ohio.

Surely They’re Bigger in Texas

This summer’s Wildlife Almanac, put out by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, notes, “Black bears average from 220 to 330 pounds. One of the largest in Colorado was a 510-pounder killed by a vehicle in the Salida area in 1994.”

Happy Birthday, Guffey

In spite of this “ESTABLISHED 1864” sign, which is no longer in use, Guffey is celebrating its centennial this year. This 100th birthday honors the establishment of Guffey’s post office in April of 1895.

As a mining, lumbering, and ranching center, Guffey once boasted about 500 people and 40 businesses. In its early days, (circa 1890+), Guffey was called Freshwater, and according to Perry Eberhardt’s Guide to Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, “After it faded, in the early years of this century, Guffey became known as Freshwater again.”

But today, Guffey survives as Guffey. It has outlived the nearby towns of Currant Creek, Kester, and Rocky. Modern Guffey offers dining, lodging, groceries, antiques, and, not surprisingly, that ubiquitous Colorado staple, realty offices. Now residents worry about the impact of a proposed airport.

Happy Birthday, Guffey. May your future be gracious.