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Notes and Commentary for March 1994

Brief by Various

Mountain Life – March 1994 – Colorado Central Magazine

Did you turn on the driveway

VAIL — They have heated driveways here. They probably have them in Aspen, too, but we saw them first here. When it snows, they just turn a switch. No shovels. No snowblowers. Next thing you know, they’ll have air-conditioned saunas and touch-tone showers — if they don’t already.

Now that’s decadence.

It’s enough to make you proud of being a country cousin. Except when you think about it, we’re all using frivolously automatic products these days. Electric pencil sharpeners, electric can openers, remote controls for our televisions, automatic garage door openers, leaf blowers, garbage disposals, electric toothbrushes, automatic ice makers, automatic sprinkler systems, memory dialing, drive-up ordering, automatic tellers.

If this keeps up everybody in America will have to spend two hours a week in a gym just to make up for all the labor-saving devices.

— Martha Quillen
Punch some more numbers

719 LATA — As of Feb. 27, you’ll need to dial “1-719” wherever just dial “1” now.

For example, you now call 1-539-5345 to reach us from Westcliffe, Crestone, or Fairplay. After Feb. 27, it will be 1-719-539-5345.

According to USWest, which operates most local telephone monopolies, the company is running short on phone numbers, and requiring the 719 prefix for “intra-LATA long-distance calls” will alleviate the shortage.

They assure us that the longer numbers will not change the rates, which are already outrageous because USWest has a monopoly on such calls. Westcliffe is only 50 miles away; a call costs 28c for the first minute and 24c thereafter. New York City sits 2,000 miles from here, and it’s only 22c a minute.

Anyway, you need to reprogram your computers, fax machines and memory telephones. And if you’re like us, you’ve long since lost the manual for the phone and you have no idea how to change a programmed number.

— Ed Quillen
Which way the water?

CLIMAX — Last fall, an uncelebrated historic first occurred in Colorado — the first diversion of water from Eastern Slope to Western, as opposed to the usual pattern of draining West Slope valleys to irrigate Front Range sidewalks.

In order to feed the snow-making machinery without utterly depleting the creek during a slow time of year, Vail Associates needed to buy water.

They found it at Climax — about 10,000 acre-feet of Arkansas water that will henceforth flow westward.

You could call this new direction a symptom of how the mountains are changing from an industrial to a recreational economy, with the water going from an industrial use to a recreational use.

But maybe it’s not so much a change as a confirmation of the old saying that “In Colorado, water flows uphill toward money.”

— Allen Best
No more Garfield?

MONARCH? GARFIELD? — Geographic nomenclature west of Salida can be tricky. For instance, Maysville was once known as Crazy Camp and Monarch Pass was briefly named Vail Pass.

Once upon a time, there was town of Monarch, which sat near the present-day quarry. Just up the hill is the Monarch Ski Area.

Down the hill is another town, Garfield. It began in 1879 as Junction City — never a city, but certifiably a junction of two wagon roads.

In 1881, President James Abram Garfield was assassinated. Just as Americans renamed airports and schools for President John F. Kennedy in 1963, they put Garfield’s name on everything available in the early 1880s, including a mining camp in Colorado.

However, our Garfield may be no more. Monarch Resort, which has a lodge and other facilities there, now lists “Monarch, Colo.” on its return address, although the zip code (all that the postal service really cares about) used for Monarch is the same as Garfield’s: 81227.

Some may fear that President Garfield is in some danger of being forgotten, but there seems little danger of that. Glenwood Springs is the seat of Garfield County, and there are eight Garfields in the United States — Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Washington — plus a Garfield Heights in Ohio.

There’s only one other Monarch; it’s in Montana.

But is Colorado’s entry officially a Monarch? Or just a Monarch that’s really a Garfield?