Wednesday, January 20, 2010

We Get Letters

I got an e-mail from Julian asking about the painting over the mantel in the last post. I can oblige. It's a watercolor by Gary Davis, a former Coloradoan, now living in Mesa, Arizona. We made a trade years ago, when we were all poor as church mice. I traded a camera lens for the painting and I'm sure I got the better part of the deal.

The story behind the painting is this: the old truck sat for many years alongside this old building in Crested Butte, Colorado. It was there when I first visited CB in 1966 and it was gone when I was working construction there in 1972. Gary had gotten a photo of it at some point and had done the painting. The truck sat on the east side of the building, or in the photo below, the right side.

The building is now a museum but it was once a hardware store/gasoline station, a Conoco station. I worked for a brief time at the competitive gas station at the edge of town, a Standard Oil.

In this drawing, you can see where the truck would have been sitting, decomposing and rusting away. And in the photo below, you can see the building when it was a gas station. Crested Butte was a coal mining town before it was a ski area. (It still retains some of the old charm, even though skiing eventually ruins everything it touches, speaking in an environmental and historical sense.) The town was populated by old miners from eastern Europe, with Hungarian, Slovakian, Croatian, Czech, Serbian and Polish names. It was always interesting to observe, in the bars, the mixing of the old population with the new, young skiing crowd. I 'm sure its still be interesting to look at the names in the Crested Butte phonebook.

Anyway, that's the backstory of the painting that sits on our mantel. Sometime this summer, Nancy and I will re-visit Crested Butte. It's about 75 miles away from Montrose. Keep checking in.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving me another look at Gary's painting. I really loved it when I was in Montana visiting you all those years ago!

When I visited Murz and Gary in Grand Junction I was dying to buy one of Gary's paintings...but I was too poor at the time...I always was a spendthrift and probably always will be so I never have the cash when I want to do something important with it!

Thanks again for letting me see that great old made me smile.

Take care, Luke

Anonymous said...

Maybe you'll feel like taking Scofield (?) Pass over to Marble.
A '67/'68 season pass at Crested Butte was $125. That's $10 more than tuition for a quarter at Western State. I'd wager a season pass is a bit more today.

Peggy said...

Amy, Dan, Mimi and I visited Crested Butte in 2008 and we went to that museum. It was a fascinating mix of mining, the eastern Europe influence and the ski history. I really enjoyed it. The main street of Crested Butte was very neat and the building was in good shape but I'm sure there are lots of changes since the days of the green truck.

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