In Vino Veritas

Articles about winemaking in Central Colorado wouldn’t be complete without a toast (salute) to Salida’s Italian immigrant community. According to Dr. Francesco Gallo, in 2007, 11 percent of Salida’s residents were of Italian descent. Over half of those could trace their roots back to one particular town: Lago, in the province of Cosenza within the region of Calabria. These early immigrants worked as farmers, bricklayers, miners, in the lead smelters and on the railroads.

These hardworking newcomers also enjoyed their leisure time with good food, family and of course, vino.

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Just north of Salida, above the banks of the Arkansas River sits a small community with one foot steeped in the past and another stepping firmly into the future.

The town of Kortz, named for J.C. Kortz, then president of the Ohio and Colorado Mining and Smelting Company, was established around 1902 to house the workers at the smelter operation. The smelting plant sat on about 80 acres obtained by the Salida Board of Trade, an organization similar to todays Chamber of Commerce. Construction of the facility required about 300 men as did the regular operation of the plant. The original residents of the community came from Europe; primarily Greece, Italy and Austria. Of the early families who settled in the town; names like Struna, Floransic, Pahole, Argys and Shine, some of the ancestors still reside in the Salida area. Workers at the plant were paid an average of $2.50 to $4.00 a day. In the twenty years of operation the plant yielded silver, gold, copper and lead, processing on average 1,000 tons of ore daily. A school, which still stands today, was built by the smelting company for the children of the workers.

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From theEditor – War and Circuses

Since our last issue the world has seen tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, near-meltdowns at nuclear reactors, no-fly zones, allied bombing of Libya, new protests in Bahrain, Syria, Egypt and Yemen, forest fires in Colorado and Charlie Sheen.

We’d like for our April issue to be a respite from all that but we do have to warn you – we have two pieces discussing one of the greatest tragedies in U.S. history, the Civil War.

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From the Editor

LAST MONTH I HAD the opportunity to participate in a roundtable workshop held October 15 by the Denver-based Alliance for Sustainable Colorado.

The roundtable, part of an all-day summit held in Salida, drew about 50 participants representing business and non-profit leaders, elected officials, alternative and mainstream energy providers, educators and other community members from Chaffee, Lake, Gunnison, Fremont and Saguache Counties.

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