Monday, April 30, 2012

Strater Rainbow


I captured this sight the other morning. I think this may have been the first rainbow I've ever seen in the early morning hours. It made the bike ride into town exceedingly beautiful.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Falls Creek



I must apologize for the lack of posting lately. Work has started to pick up and I have struggled to find the time to follow through with my promise of more pictures from the Strater Hotel. Here's a picture of the Falls Creek area to keep this blog from becoming stagnant while I try to get those photos.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Strater Hotel


This is one of the historic hotels in Downtown Durango. It was built in a time when it was not known if Durango would remain a mining-camp or if it would prosper as a grand metropolis. Henry Strater had the belief and vision that Durango would indeed prosper and thought it would need a grand hotel. The cost to build at the time was $70,000, but with the help of Strater's brothers and father it became a reality. Over 376,000 hand-hewn local sandstone blocks and cornices were used in the construction. Construction was completed in 1887.

The hotel proved to be a success and was very popular with locals as well as travelers. During winters, many locals would move into the hotel, closing down their own homes in favor of the well furnished and wood-stove heated rooms.

This is the first post in a series I plan to do on this historic hotel.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wooden Bells


A neat collection of bells and antlers adorn a barn in the country

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Light and Shadow


Early morning sunlight helps highlight the erosional corrugations on Hogsback

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fassbinder Park


This great, shady park in Durango is one of many, but this one has some interesting history to it.

Peter Fassbinder and his wife, Kathrine were homesteaders who came to Animas City via Silverton and Rico to the north. Fassbinder homesteaded 160 acres north of the City of Durango in 1878 and quickly subdivided it for development. His addition was filed on April 28, 1882. He built the first bridge over the Animas river connecting Durango to his subdivision, brought  fresh water to Durango from a spring on his homestead, and  later generously donated land to the City for this park, to the Catholic Church for the St. Columbia Church, and to the Sisters of Mercy for the Mercy Hospital.

Today this park is a popular place for picnics, parties, and just hanging out. This is also where the Occupy Durango movement was held last fall.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Powerhouse


Who would have thought that this small Western Colorado town was one of the first cities in the nation and world to have electric lights and grid powered by Alternating Current (AC.)

In 1892 the Durango Light and Power Company built this structure (the first known Mission-style architecture for a commercial building outside of California) to house a coal-fired  electric generator. At the time, AC was deemed to be too dangerous and was outlawed in most Eastern cities. It is because of this plant that Durango had AC powered lights available before the Great Cities of the East such as New York and Boston.

In the mid 1940s, the plant was converted from being a coal-fired plant to a gas-fired one, reflecting the West's changing emphasis on raw energy sources . Its size and adaptability made it useful long after other early power generating plants had been torn down and replaced. It eventually was acquired by Western Colorado Power, which supplied electricity to Colorado's Western Slope Grid.

The Powerhouse was shut down in the mid 1970s and was boarded up. The site, which sits on the banks of the Animas River became an eyesore and the City of Durango was trying to decide what to do with the building after acquiring it. Finding a viable use was compounded by the expensive and daunting task of removing asbestos and decades worth of pigeon droppings. Demolition was considered. The Durango Powerhouse was listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and became one of Colorado Preservation, Inc.'s Most Endangered Places.

In 1999 the Children's Museum of Durango (Est. 1994) was outgrowing its current space and the Museum, needing space to accommodate older visitors and yearly growth, wrote up a plan to renovate and restore the Powerhouse into an interactive science museum. The City of Durango passed a resolution supporting the rebirth of the Powerhouse as the Durango Discovery Museum. Work began in 2002 and renovation on the exterior of the building and cleaning of the site was complete in 2006.

The Durango Discovery Museum opened to the public on February 23, 2011 and the Grand Opening was held on July 17, 2011.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Yucca


This Yucca has a prime spot on the edge of the mesa overlooking town

Thursday, April 12, 2012

To roll like a river


There is something enchanting about moving water. It seems to know every eddy and every riffle of its course. It falls and moves into itself with a grace dancers would envy. I find comfort seeing the river because the river is comfortable in its place. Its way is centuries old and the water has found a way to release the energy of the pull of gravity in a beautiful, meaningful and creative way. The flexibility to change due to a new boulder or log and the raw, cutting power to get through major channel obstacles is a grand philosophy to live by. Fluidity of this nature is a quality we should all aspire towards

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Swinging Bridge


This small suspension bridge carries foot traffic across the Animas River to the Animas River Trail

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Animas River Trail

The very popular Animas River Trail is a matter of great pride for Durangoans. It is approximately 7 miles of paved trail which parallels the Animas River and the Narrow Gauge Railway through town. It is a great attraction to anybody who is looking to recreate along the river. There are on going efforts to extend the trail north to the city limits.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Jack Dempsey Mural


William Harrison "Jack" Dempsey, or the "Manassa Mauler" was an American World Heavyweight Champion boxer from 1919 to 1926. He was born in Manassa, Colorado. In 1915 at 10th and Main in the El Rancho Tavern, Jack Dempsey knocks down Andy Maller in 10 rounds and won $50. There is so much I could say about him but I think the Official Jack Dempsey Website can represent him better.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Perins Peak and the Hogback


The landscapes around town are dominated by the stone below. The geologic history of this area is very observable due to the general lack of vegetation. These two landforms are visible from nearly all parts of town. The dramatic cliffs of Perins Peak are of the Mesa Verde Group of sandstones, in particular the Point Lookout Sandstone. The steep, vegetation-free slopes below are shale beds deposited by the North American Inland Sea during the Late Cretaceous Age and are known as the Mancos Shale.

This Photo was taken from a great trail in the Durango Mountain Park on the western edge of town.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

You will probably get wet


One of the most popular activities in Durango must be rafting down the Animas River through town. There are several put-ins and take-outs along the river as it rolls down the middle of town. The rafting season is just now getting underway as the snow from the San Juan Mountains melts. This year will likely be a low-flow season on the river as it was an extremely dry winter.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

High above town


This was our view of town from that high ridge. You can barely see some athletic fields in the lower left of the photo. Those are the fields at Fort Lewis College and the town is spread out below in the valley bottom.

**This just in!! The USA PRO CHALLENGE Bicycle race is going to start here in Durango! Follow this link for more details on the race and options for lodging or television times so you can watch the race too!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On the Edge


My friend and I took a short hike just out of town, and that is what I love about Durango. A short bike ride from my house put me at the trailhead for the Horse Gulch and Telegraph trail system. A relatively short hike from there took me to a peak on the ridge which rises to an elevation of 8,055 feet (2,455.16 meters) above sea level. My friend and I are just travelers through this land, but life on the edge for the permanent residences, such as the piñon trees, the yucca, the juniper and the cacti can be rough.