Monday, May 26, 2014

Central City, Colorado

I worked during two summers, my junior and senior year of college, in Central City, Colorado.  I was head usher at the Central City Opera House, the second-oldest opera house in the United States.  After the season ended I remained on to serve as a tour guide in the Teller House Hotel, known in its day as the finest accommodations between St. Louis and San Franciso.  President U.S. Grant stayed there.  OK, so he slept off the results of a drinking binge.  He certainly did lie down on a bed for a while.

The City of Central is home to the "Richest Square Mile on Earth."  By which it is meant that more precious metal was extracted from that square mile than anywhere else.  It was rich in gold and silver, and was even the source of the yellowcake Madame Curie used to do her experiments on radioactivity.

The entire town is a National Historic District.

Jack Kerouac visited and wrote about his experience in On the Road.  Bob Dylan performed there, and was booed off the stage.  Gambling was legal, then it was not, and now it is once again.  It's like going to Disneyland with bars.  Lots of bars.  I was too young to drink, so the bars did not impress me one way or another.

At 8,500 feet elevation, and a short walk to a stunning view of the Continental Divide, this was an idyllic place to work for the summer.  The photo below is the view from Longs Peak.  Longs Peak is the most-climbed of Colorado's 14,000 foot peaks, and I did climb it with my friends.

I climbed James Peak a couple of times.  James Peak is over 13,000 feet in elevation and the tiny alpine wildflowers, like this Alpine Spring Beauty reward the effort.

Claytonia megarhiza

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