Sunday, September 14, 2014

South Park City in Fairplay, Colorado

If you click on the photo above, and all the photos in this post, you will see the quintessential beauty high country scenery of Park County, Colorado.   I love this approximately 1,000 square mile 10,000 foot high, grassland valley basin, surrounded by high Rocky Mountain ranges.

The South Park Valley is filled with cattle and horse ranches.

 It is an absolutely picturesque valley! I took all of these valley photos from our moving car, so the quality could be better, but I think they will give you an idea of how beautiful this area is.

I blogged about this area during the winter,when the ground was covered with snow. It was equally beautiful! You can read that post here.  I'm curious as to which season you think is prettier?

The Ute Indians were the early dwellers of this land, then hunters and trappers came in the 1840's but when gold was discovered in the mountains in the the 1850's many gold miners camps and towns sprang up in the valley.

Known today as the trout fishing capital of Colorado, South Park and the area around Fairplay were designated a National Heritage Area by the US Congress for its distinctive landscapes, historic structures, and recreational resources. 

My husband and I were here to visit the town of Fairplay.  Founded in 1859, Fairplay was named by settlers who were upset by the generous mining claims given to the earliest prospectors and promised a more equitable system for its residents. It now contains about 700 residents and consists of modern businesses along with a historic center.

It also contains an extraordinary museum with 40 historic buildings, called South Park City. It was created in the late 1950's by a group of citizens concerned that the old mining and ghost towns of Park County were being dismantled and destroyed, so they decided to save as many buildings as possible, move others to the area, and recreate a 1800's gold mine town. Buildings were brought in from the Mosquito Range, and Alma, Leavick, Buckskin and Montgomery.

The buildings showcase an array of period furnishings and equipment.

South Park City preserves the history of our nation's frontier days.

It is so interesting to walk around these preserved structures and feel transported back in time!

The museum even contains an engine and some cars from the Denver South Park and Pacific Railroad that once ran from Como across Boreas Pass to Breckenridge, Fairplay, Alma Junction and points west.

We went on a self tour of the museum that took us from building to building.  Here is some of what we saw:

The log cabin styled church

Summer Saloon

A period home in town.

The early court house.

Replica of a gold mine

The one room school house.

A miners mountain cabin.

A stagecoach

The stagecoach inn.

 The general store and post office.

A pharmacy.

There was also a large display of western artifacts, period furniture, clothing and toys, and Indian hunting arrows and spear heads.

After our long, enjoyable visit to the South Park City Museum, we walked around the town of Fairplay to enjoy the sights there.  The weather was changing and we knew a late afternoon thunderstorm was on the way, so we headed back east to our home.

Sure enough, this was the look back as we headed away from South Park  The wide open sky and high elevations makes the storm look dramatic, doesn't it?

Located 85 miles out of Denver on Highway 285, 85 miles out of Colorado Springs on Highway 24, and 23 miles from Breckenridge on Highway 9, South Park Valley, Fairplay and the South Park City Museum are all beautiful and interesting sights to see in central Colorado!

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Honor 9-11, Never Forget

I will never forget the morning of September 11,2001.  It was a glorious, cloudless  blue sky day in New York, and warm, yet mild. The kind of day that made you realize that although autumn was fast approaching, there were still some last summer days to relish and enjoy.

I lived in Brooklyn, New York then--a borough of New York City located  directly across the east River from Manhattan, where the twin towers could be seen easily from many vantage points.

That morning I walked in the park with my friends, as I did almost every morning.  My husband was with us that day. He had a business related golf outing to attend later in the day, so he did not have to go into his office at 7 World Trade Center.  My daughter was home, as she did not have any classes that day at NYU.  My son was in his apartment in Washington, DC. as he had off that day. He lived within easy walking distance to the White House.

My husband and I returned home from our walk around 8:30 am, and I remember looking down my street, towards the north, where I could see the tops of the World Trades Centers gleaming in the sunlight. They were always a comforting sight for me when my husband was at work, as I knew he was there, safe in his office, in the World Trade Center complex.

Around 9 am I was preparing breakfast, and my husband was getting his golf bag ready, when our phone rang and a friend was frantically crying, telling us to turn on our TV.  Her husband worked in the same building my husband did, in 7 World Trade, which was located directly across from Tower 1. At 8:46 am American Flight 11 had crashed into Tower 1 of the World Trade Center.

We watched TV in horror. I remember having to go outside to look up at the top of the Trade Center again because I could not believe that what I was seeing on TV was real.  I saw the terrible long trail of black smoke rising high in the once beautiful blue sky.

At 9:03 as we were watching TV -- as millions of people were by then -- United Flight 175 hits Tower 2 and the realization comes to us all that we are under attack!  At 9:37 American Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon. There are reports that planes are headed for the Capital or the White House and I am frantically trying to get in touch with my son.  Meanwhile, he is frantically trying to get in touch with us, as he knows his father works in the World Trade Center complex. His room mate at the time came back from his job at the World Bank and told him that he saw people running out of the White House, as it was being evacuated. All phones lines are jammed, so we did not find our for many hours that we were all safe.  We also thought of all the family, co-workers, friends and neighbors that we knew that worked at the World Trade Center and despaired over their fate,  as we prayed for their safety.

Community Memorial to Captain Jason Dahl- pilot of United Flight 93, who was a resident of Colorado.

At 9:56 Tower 2 collapses, at 10:03 United flight 93, that was headed towards Washington DC, crashes into a field in Pennsylvania. At 10:28 Tower 1 of the World Trade Center collapses and sets 7 World Trade Center on fire. It collapses at 5:20 pm. Burning papers from the buildings filling the skies for hours and floated toward Brooklyn streets.

We all know of the sad days that followed. The many days of not knowing who was injured, missing, or dead, until one by one we heard the news. We were all stunned, scared, angry, and overwhelmingly sorrowful for all the lives lost that day, thirteen years ago.  Over time we found out we did lose friends, co-workers, classmates and neighbors. Mercifully, we did not lose any family members, but mourned with those that did. So many went to work that blue sky September morning and never returned home.

Inscription on the  memorial tombstone of Micahel Bocchino, Battalion 48 Engine 240 in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY

So many sacrificed their lives on September 11 to save others. So many worked tirelessly after 9-11 to recover those lost. Much of our lives were changed forever and our country, and the world, remains ever vigilant against terrorism.

9-11 Memorial in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New York City. Click on the photo to enlarge to read the poem that accompanies the memorial.

May we Never Forget to honor the memory of those lost on 9-11! 

May we work each day, in our own small way, to make the world a better place.

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