|Grassroots Golden - http://www.goldenco.org
The sun has set for the last time on Golden during the 2nd
millennium. I thought given the occasion it might be a nice
thing to send it out with one final message of my own here,
since in my eyes Golden has had a good past 100 and 1,000
years. Within the next year I'll certainly be busy telling
people around here the past century and millennium now that
their history is complete, but for now here's my assessment
of what kind of time we've had.
Certainly the millennium for Golden was good; without it
there would be nothing of Golden at all. 1,000 years ago,
our valley was a wilderness, with deer, mountain lions,
mountain sheep and more roaming its mountains, grassy bottom
or the great cottonwood groves between the tabletops.
Imagine seeing a bighorn sheep atop those rocky cliffs;
the man our town was named after hunted them up there.
This is what Golden looked like at the turn of the last
millennium, with nomadic tribes camping about and the remains
of the valley's 2nd building decaying within today's
southwestern city limits.
At the dawn of the 20th century Golden has optimistic,
having licked the 3rd-worst depression we have ever faced
and looking to the future. But our 20th century had many
dark moments. We lost the only paper mill west of Missouri
in 1900. Golden's firefighters stood helpless again in
1905, atop the ridge looking at our great brick works
north of town burn to the ground, only to replay it again
a decade later. We nearly lost Golden High School when
its machinery was sabotaged in 1905, with only the heroic
efforts of one man saving the classes of 1905-08 from
absolutely certain death. That man was lost in the flu
epidemic of 1918 trying to save his brother's life, along
with the original Heinie Foss and many others. We lost
around 25 of our most promising young men in two world wars
and wars beyond. We lost the last of our smelters in 1912,
the last flour mill in 1952, the brickyard finally in 1965.
Our brewery was among the three industries we had left, and
the Coors family fought for its life here, first to save
the brewery from Prohibition, then the porcelain plant
from the founder who stabbed them in the back, and then
the horrible murder of Adolph Coors III. Yet we come
away from the 20th century more greatly known for our
industrial prowess than anytime we were called the "Lowell
of the West", with the world's largest brewing plant and the
foremost scientific porcelain plant, and our clay is as
valued now as it ever was.
The positives of Golden's 20th century, in my view,
outweigh the negatives by far. The School of Mines went
from being amongst a chorus of respected institutions to
the forefront of its kind in the world. At the dawn of
the century our town doubled its efforts to promote tourism
and has succeeded brilliantly since that time. We took
the Great Depression by the horns, replacing the businesses
we lost with stronger ones, building public works projects
all over the place including Berthoud Hall, Steinhauer
Field House, Camp George West, Red Rocks Amphitheater, and
our very first true Post Office. We elected Ruth Maurer
our first female leader. Another woman nearby, Frances
Xavier Cabrini, became America's first citizen saint. We
also sent two athletes, Bert "Cowboy" Jones and Roy Hartzell,
to the major leagues, they out of only 2,500 Goldenites.
Golden has proven itself more able to establish in its area
businesses of national and international renown in the
20th century than the number we made in the 19th, including
such notables as Coors Porcelain, Boston Market, EAS, Coors
Brewery, Graphic Packaging, Jolly Rancher, Atlas Air and
I'm still trying to count them all. Not to mention how
many future leaders CSM has sent out. We renewed our
downtown four times with two streetscapes and a Welcome Arch.
While Golden and our county's scenery was greatly admired
and promoted in the 19th century, in the 20th no less than
three counties, state and federal governments have worked
to preserve our lands as they were a millennium ago for
the next millennium.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Beaver
Brook was a hot topic at the beginning of the century when
we were building it, and became so again at the end. We
started out by repealing our first growth control ordinance,
and ended by enacting our second. We started out talking
about how best to use Castle Rock, and end doing the same
thing. Our first storefront built in the 20th century was
the Schultz Building at 1118 Washington Avenue; the first
storefront of the 21st, the Chaparral Building, is taking
shape just across the Avenue from it at 1113. And for my end,
while we started out rebuilding an 1859 log house to preserve
it, we end doing the exact same thing. As for my family, we
can say the 20th century here has been great, though since
one of our members seems to have been here before this time,
I can say overall it is great to be back.
I suppose I can say I may know more of what Golden has been
about than anyone else. It is my profound belief, even
knowing all that is happened so far, that our best is yet to come.
Happy New Year, Century, and Millennium, Golden!!!