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CHRONICLES

CHRONICLES

SKI TOWN, GET DOWN

In Vail’s early days, the local watering holes were as important as the skiing By Randy Wyrick and the Vail Valley Magazine staff Over the years, a slew of popular bars has graced the streets of Vail. Everyone, especially in the early days, took comfort in a local watering hole to catch up, complain and and have a helluva lotta fun. At that time, being part of the bar scene was like going home after work. In fact, before everyone in town had a telephone, mothers would call the bar to speak with their kids. They knew where they could find them. Safe — but, needless to say, not always sound. But in those early days, perhaps even more than now, those raucous, crowded joints were the heart and soul of the ski town scene. It really began with La Cave, New Year’s Eve, 1963. Jim Slevin paid a year’s […]

CHRONICLES

IN A LAND OF GORE

The man whose name adorns a dozen or so natural landmarks had a large appetite or excess and the money to fuel it . The rugged mountain range that can be seen from almost anywhere in Vail and beyond has drawn people to this valley for generations. The only word that really describes it is “majestic.” From certain angles, under certain light, it could be the backdrop of a movie. It’s called the Gore Range and how it got its name has always been a mystery.  We have the Gore Range, Gore Creek, Gore Lake, Gore Mountain, Gore Wilderness, Gore Pass, Gore Canyon, Gore Trail — all named after an Irish nobleman who came to the American West in the mid-1800s to hunt game. However, Sir St. George Gore never reached any of the places.  Sporting the title of “Eighth Baronet of Manor Gore” in Ireland, George Gore enjoyed a […]

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Digging up the past

It’s sitting right in front of you, though you may not realize what you’re seeing: fossils, bones, the lingering echoes of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. But you don’t have to journey far away to see these remnants of the past — you can find these historical treasures right here in the Vail Valley. From prehistoric finds to the traces of people who lived almost 7,000 years ago, there are historic riches just waiting to be discovered in our extended backyard. Uncovering history Billy Doran moved to the Vail Valley almost 30 years ago, but he made his first dino discovery in 2011. An avid amateur paleontologist, Doran has been fascinated by dinosaurs since a young age. With the advent of the Internet and the ability to research just about any topic imaginable, Doran was able to rekindle his passion for paleontology and indulge his curiosity. […]

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BATTLE MOUNTAINS: TREASURE VAULT

Above: Assay Office constructed by the Silverwave Mining Company in about 1882. It was said that the reason it was built on the edge of the cliff was so that men working at the assay office could signal to the loading station on the railroad in the canyon below In 1879, Battle Mountain, the massive land formation south of Vail Resort’s famed back bowls, was literally a treasure vault. Miners drifting down the Eagle River Valley from the bustling Leadville silver camp immediately recognized the ore-bearing potential of the quartzite veins, iron-stained outcroppings and limestone rocks. Gold initiated the mining excitement, but silver proved to be the “pay dirt.” By 1873 the mines on Battle Mountain produced over $1 million of silver ore. In 1879, Battle Mountain, the massive land formation south of Vail Resort’s famed back bowls, was literally a treasure vault. Miners drifting down the Eagle River Valley […]

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Guardians Of Middle Earth

Some 10,000 years ago, prehistoric hunter-gatherers lived in Eagle County, the trace evidence being projectile points, grinding slabs and other tools. In addition to trace elements, a skeleton approximately 8,000 years old was discovered in a cave in Eagle County— the remains sent to the Southern Ute Tribe for burial. For centuries, Ute Indians claimed the land from the Wyoming border to the north, into Utah to the west, the beginning of the plains to the east and far south. Ute Indians of the Uncompahgre and White River Band freely hunted along the tributaries of the Eagle River in the warmer months and kept a winter camp in Glenwood Springs. Once the Utes acquired horses from the Spanish in the 1700s, they became excellent horsemen. This allowed the Utes to become mobile and easily change location with the help of pack horses. Traditionally the tribe favored an elevation of about […]

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Those Left behind

On a little knoll east of Edwards and only a hundred steps from an active school, marble headstones and withered metal grave markers silently keep vigil over the cemetery’s residents. The serenity of the place gives one the sense of timelessness. Sagebrush rudely interrupts family plots. Fallen fences disappear into the ground. To the north, cars zip along I-70. To the east, kids squeal as they swing on play sets or chase one another at recess from Eagle County Charter Academy. To the west of the school few trees partially hide the cemetery. Below the knoll sits another elementary school, middle school, sports fields and a college campus. So well hidden is the cemetery that it has long been abandoned to the wind and dirt and sagebrush. Many of those buried here died in the late 1800s, and based on inscriptions, only a few graves have been added since 1950. […]

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Leadville Boom Days

As the story goes, anybody who was anybody had been to Leadville, Colorado, in the 1890s, a Victorian-era mining town just 38 miles southeast of Vail. Surrounded on three sides by the jagged peaks and valleys of the San Isabel National Forest, at 10,152 feet above sea level, the town, the highest in the United States, is sometimes referred to as Cloud City or Two-Mile-High-City. And with views of Colorado’s tallest peaks, Mt. Elbert (14,333 ft.) and Mt. Massive (14,421 ft.), the Leadville skyline is magnificent. Leadville is a quiet little town with a history that’s, literally, one for the storybooks. These days the population is about 2,600 but, at one time, more than 40,000 people lived here; the stories about some of them fabled. In fact, it’s because of those “fables” which have been repeated through the years – and perhaps sometimes exaggerated – that Leadville pays homage to […]

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CHRONICLES, Giving Back, Local Spotlight

Nepal Earthquake Stepping Out

The Vail Valley is host to over 70 families from the Himalayan region of Nepal. When the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on April 25 and May 12 of 2015, many remote villages were severely damaged. The Sherpa Foundation was formed and is committed to help these communities rebuild their lives. This event, held in EagleVail, raised funds that will be sent directly to help the families of these villages, a house at a time. Donations are being accepted at SherpaFoundation.org

CHRONICLES, Culture in the Vail Valley, Local Spotlight

FULFORD

On December 31, 1891, Arthur Fulford ate the remains of a fluffy biscuit and washed it down with a swallow of nail-bending coffee. Glancing out the window of the Lanning Hotel in Nolan’s Camp, he watched snow fall. The hotel was located in White Tail Gulch at the end of a 22-mile trek from Eagle and a little above Polar City. Arthur knew he should be home in Red Cliff with his pregnant wife and two young sons. Yet here he was in a miner’s camp close to 9,800 feet in elevation; a place where women had no place and where men lived to work. Art checked his pocket watch. It was after 10 a.m., and partner Byron Barthoff had not arrived. He pressed his handlebar mustache between his thumb and forefinger and smoothed his dark hair. A tall man at over 6’4”, Art got up from the table, having […]

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FACT OR FICTION

In a secluded valley deep inside the Rocky Mountains along Turkey Creek lies a little town that has survived the vicissitudes of boom and bust. Patiently guarded by mountainsides of quaking aspen and pine trees, the place evokes a sense of place from a different time. It was the first town in Eagle County and has complied a long list of “firsts”. Close your eyes and imagine yourself the first person to wander into Red Cliff before it was a town, some hundred and fifty years ago. You’ll see only game trails through forests. You’ll be watching for wildlife for food and cautious of bears. You hear nothing but the sound of wind in the brush and can smell the tang of pine trees. You look down but see no other footsteps. Tradition claims that first explorers and then expedition members came close to the valley behind the wall of red rocks that line the Eagle River Canyon. Although it is difficult to say who was the first […]