Lines in the sand

by Virginia McConnell Simmons

At times, people like to feel assured that some things will never change. For instance, God’s in his heaven, the Big Dipper points north, and if you go east or west on the 39th parallel, you can take a swim somewhere around the Mediterranean Sea or fry an egg on a rock in Death Valley. Unless you are picky, and geographers do tend to be picky.

Take the 37th parallel north for instance. For 146 years this parallel has been a border running 761 miles between Kansas and Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico, and Utah and Arizona, but in 2009 the line was moved 365 feet south. Saving state legislatures and assessors’ offices a lot of trouble, the state line now is N 36?59.939. Whether the bronze disk marking the Four Corners will be moved remains to be seen.

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Book Review – The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado

The Trail of Gold and Silver: Mining in Colorado, 1859-2009
By Duane A. Smith
Published in 2009 by University Press of Colorado
ISBN 978-0-87081-975-5
$26.95; vii+282 pages

Reviewed by Virginia McConnell Simmons

After chronicling nearly every facet of gold and silver mining in Colorado, from the Caribou camp to Horace Tabor and Baby Doe, Duane A. Smith has now concisely written the colorful story in The Trail of Gold and Silver. With this, his 50th published book, his friends might wonder whether The Trail of Gold and Silver is meant to be the swan song of our most prolific miner of Colorado’s mining history. Well, don’t bet the claim on it.

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Punche was tobacco in 1846 Santa Fé

Letter from Virgina Simmons

Nomenclature – September 1995 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed:

I enjoyed your article about the word poncha. Here are a couple of additional bits of information. Poncha Pass was called Punche Pass sometimes in early days. There also is a Punche Valley several miles east of Antonito. It bears no resemblance to the pass, so I have always accepted the notion that a plant used as tobacco grew or grows in both places.

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