Traveling With Grace: The Cities of Colorado

Posted on March 17, 2020 by

This week’s entry for our #TravelTuesday series: Traveling with Grace continues her visit through Colorado. As mentioned in earlier posts, the language and prejudices used in Grace’s writing are very much of her time and may be disturbing or uncomfortable to read, though they appear only occasionally in these entries. To read more of Grace’s travels, click here. 

Monday, August 11, 1947

Denver, Colorado

Weather: Fair to rainy

After breakfast in the coffeeshop we went to Daniel Fisher’s store to buy theater tickets, then to Denver Dry Goods store, very nice, where we did some shopping, then to AAA to have some trips mapped, then to Bennett’s restaurant for lunch. After that we rode out Colfax Blvd. to the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society’s hospital where we were graciously received and guided through by a Mr. Saxe (patient) and a Mr. Bernstein, the former from Florida the latter from Chicago. There are 100 acres, 80 of which are cultivated. Beautiful flower gardens, corn and alfalfa for the herd of pedigreed Holsteins, ultra-modern dairy and kitchen (electrical) equipment, synagogue, well stocked library, theater, arts and crafts workshop, laboratories, etc. All buildings well designed and modern. It is 43 years old.

We then went to the other side of Colfax to visit the National Jewish Consumptive hospital. It is run on a somewhat different plan. Strictly within the city it has less open space, more bldgs., takes children patients, is 46 yrs. Old but bldgs. Look older. Bnai Brith has given a splendid big building.

Vintage postcard, vista in City Park, Denver Colorado, 1940s. Via.

We then visited the city park. Its entrances are most imposing adorned with large statues. There is a fine new high school nearby. The park is beautifully landscaped, contains fine natural history museum, large lake on which boats ride, zoo in which we saw herd of very large buffalo, and many other animals, a well-equipped playground and other attractions. Saw some of the better residential districts and as it rained rather hard by now returned to the hotel and dined in style in the Emerald Room.

Vintage postcard, “Buffalo Bill’s Grave on Lookout Mountain,” 1923. Via.

Tuesday, August 12, 1947

Weather: Fine

We left Denver about 11, rode up the beautiful Denver Mt. Park, saw Buffalo Bill’s grave and museum of his relics (Frederick W. Cody) then on to Golden (we saw a big herd of fine buffalos in this vicinity and several Indian villages – real tepees.) then thru Clear Creek Canyon to Idaho Springs – a very attractive spa – and on up to the top of Mt. Evans 14, 260 ft. We were exceptionally lucky with the weather which is clear and cold. The view from the summit (glass enclosed pavilion was sublime) and we stayed here a little while to enjoy it.

Vintage postcard, Sanborn View of the crest of Mr. Evans, 1940s. Via.

On our way down the coloring in the sky was magnificent. In the distance the sun was drawing water and there was prismatic effect like a huge fountain colored like a rainbow (later we had a real double rainbow which followed us all the way home). We stopped at Echo Lake Lodge for a trout lunch (the best part of it was the view) and back thru Berger Park, Troutdale, Evergreen Lake (very pretty), Bear Creek Canyon (thru which are scattered some beautiful summer homes and camps) then Moraison, Red Rocks, and a stretch of lovely lands back to Denver, one of the nicest imaginable rides. Tonight, we went to a movie opposite hotel – antiquated theater, no air conditioning, they all show double features here and most of them have steps. We saw the March of Time, Paullette Goddard and Fred Astaire in an old picture and Al Jolson, Frank Morgan and Helen Hayes in another old revival, “The Heart of N.Y.” Back to the hotel and Helene and I went into the Ship Tavern (very crowded) where we each had a big glass of egg-nog.

Wednesday, August 13, 1947

Weather: Rain

We got up late and went to the Blue Parrot for lunch (its namesake was preening its feather in its window cage) and at 3:15 we started out for Central City. Stopped to visit an Indian trading post with very pretty merchandize and I talked to an old Sioux dressed in full regalia – deer skin suit and moccasins heavily beaded and trimmed in rabbit fur and war bonnet of eagle feathers. It started to rain hard after we left here. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the beautiful ride to Blackhawk and Central City thru Clear Creek canyon (the road runs thru several tunnels and is cut out of the solid rock.) These two old mining towns built high on the mt. side are very quaint and look like they have come out of an old museum. Helene and Charles visited the Lost Gold Mine, which they said was quite interesting.

Vintage postcard, Teller House, Central City, Colorado, c. 1940s. Via.

The Teller House, leading hotel, seems to have stood still since about 1870. We had supper at “Cousin Jack’s” and he was an excellent host, entertaining us until it was time to go to theater and giving to each of us a piece of rock containing lead, glints of silver and gold. He also provided good food. Next door to Cousin Jack’s was a tin-type parlor filled with the quaintest dresses and hats of a century ago which one might don for a picture sitting. The window frames were outlined in lace paper like valentines. Next to the theater on one side was a pretty little flower garden with a gristmill and grindstone in the center. On the other side is a lady’s parlor in a little one-story white cottage with antique furnishings.

Vintage postcard, Central City Opera House interior, c. 1940s. Via.

Before the opera house opened (and luckily the weather had cleared) the ushers in long coats, high boots and high stock collars, paraded up the street singing old fashioned songs. The opera house itself is very quaint, typical of the gaslight era, all red and gold with hand-painted ceiling. The chairs were donated by various public-spirited citizens in the old days whose names are painted on the chair backs. The play “Harvey,” starring Frank Fay is a riotous comedy written about an imaginary white rabbit and is what I would term a psychopathic satire. The audience a large one – there were standees – was enthusiastic and Mr. Fay gave us a very humorous curtain talk at the end of the show. The cast, about 14, was excellent and there was a 3-piece orchestra to furnish pleasing music between the acts. We started back for Denver about midnight in a long procession of cars which looked like an illuminated snake twisting around the mountains. The stars were out now, and we had radio music to enliven the trip.

Theater program, Frank Fay in “Harvey,” 1940s. Via.

Thanks for reading “Traveling with Grace,” a series where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager

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