Highlights from

The Herald Democrat

50 Years Ago



Afternoon Fire

Destroyed Home at

222 East 4th Street

January 5, 1971


The terror of the high country in sub-zero weather, a fire, came to Leadville Monday evening in weather that hovered around 20 below. Fire totally destroyed the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Baker, 222 East Fourth Street, and forced the family into the street with only the clothing on their backs saved of all their possessions.

The cause of the fire has not yet been officially determined, but it is understood that due to the sub-zero weather the water pipes in the house had frozen. An agent of the owner attempted to thaw out the pipes, reportedly with a blow torch, during the family’s absence. When Mrs. Baker and the two children returned the home was on fire and they immediately called the fire department at 4:13 p.m.

By the time that the fire truck arrived at the scene the rear of the house was a mass of flames, with the fire apparently having started in the east wall, through the attic and down the west wall.

The firemen were hard pressed to contain the fire within the home at 222 East 4th Street and to save the adjacent homes. The home to the west, 220 East 4th, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gary Hendrickson, is less than three feet away. All of their possessions were removed, and the home suffered minor damage from the smoke and from a small fire on the roof. The main damage was water damage to some of their furnishings while removed from the house. On the east side at 224 East 4th St., the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gale Richards is only a foot away, and their possessions were removed also. Damage here is expected to be minimal.

However at the seat of the fire Mr. and Mrs. Baker were able to save nothing. At the present time they are staying at the home of a sister, Mr. and Mrs. Delfinio Gallegos, 601 Elm, 486-1170, the sister of Mrs. Baker. Mr. and Mrs. Hendrickson and family have moved back into their home, as have the Richards.

The Bakers moved into the home in September. It is owned by Paul Maes, Jr. Mr. Baker is employed at Alpine Texaco, and the couple are the parents of a two-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. Very little of their belongings were insured. It could be an action of Christian charity for some local groups, organizations or individuals to inquire what they possibly could do to aid this family who are now beginning the New Year totally bereft of all of their possessions.

The fighting of the fire was a splendid example of total community cooperation. Everyone seemed to cooperate in every extent possible and do everything that was necessary to fight the fire.

All of the firemen were on duty at the fire, with the exception of several who were on standby at the fire station. Members of the fire reserves were in action, as were Police Chief Fred Van Pelt and Officers Medina and Warford. Warford’s truck was also placed into service, as was that of Charley Alires. Deputy Sheriff Hansen performed yeoman services at the fire and was assisted by members of the possee. People helped fight the fire; helped remove furniture from the two neighboring threatened homes; helped serve coffee and refreshments. Parkville Water personnel—Fred Parlin and son Les, plus Bud McKay, all worked until the fire was declared out.

The frozen weary firemen returned to the station at 9 p.m. and immediatley began the task of cleaning and thawing gear and reloading the fire truck with dry hose.

The fire was a tragedy, but fortunately no one was injured.


January 7, 1971


Scholars a few years from now may not have to spend long hours poring over volumes in the local research library. They will be able to carry home in their pocket the first five volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Webster’s New International Dictionary, and a novel or two—all thanks to “ultrafiche,” the latest development in microfilm technology. This technique can reduce 9,000 pages of print to fit on one 2 x 2 inch film card.


Too late for the coming telephone directory, but a thought for the next one: A family in Albany, New York has two telephones and two listings in the directory. The second listing is followed by “children’s telephone.”


Science and technology have taken great strides forward lately. Now they are only 50 years behind the comic books.

It’s “Leadville Boom Days” August 6, 7 & 8

January 15, 1971


The Leadville Summer Celebration Committee met Thursday evening for their first monthly meeting of 1971. This group is planning the successor to the former Leadville Bur-Rodeo. With the economic facts of life dictating that the burro race celebration and the rodeo be held on separate weekends and with separate organizations, the tenor of the “big weekend” has changed somewhat.

To create an identity the first thing that was necessary was that the name be changed. The Leadville Bur-Rodeo is no more, and the new name for the celebration which will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 6, 7 and 8 will be “LEADVILLE BOOM DAYS.”

It has been determined that the Board of Directors for Leadville Boom Days will consist of ten members, with 6 of them presently appointed. The remaining four will be appointed as the planning for the celebration progresses. At the present time Art Silver is the chairman and Larry Lindsay the vice chairman. Don Capron is the secretary, and Al Smythe the treasurer. The other board members are Denny Seitz and J. LeRoy Wingenbach.

The group approved the prize setup for the burro race itself. Since the effort this year will be for more local and area participation in the burro race, the $2,000 prize money has been split up in a far different fashion than has been the case in previous years. There will be a $800 first prize, $450 for second prize, $250 third, $100 fourth, $80 fifth, $65 sixth, $55 seventh, $45 eighth, $35 ninth and $20 tenth, with an additional $100 for the first new entry to burro racing to finish the race. Women will compete on an equal footing with the men.

The usual rules for burros, saddles, ropes, etc., will remain as in past years, and the entry fee will be $35. The prize setup is being announced early so that potential racers will have ample opportunity to obtain sponsors and burros.

The hope is that there will be at least 20 racers in the event and that they will be supported and sponsored by local merchants or organizations.

Only a preliminary determination of the race course has been made. The race will begin in front of the Vendome and end in front of the courthouse. The race course will be substantially the same as for the Bur-Rodeo, except that the racers may go down Harrison Avenue, out California Gulch and then across to the Irene, across to Fifth Street, up to the summit of Mosquito Pass, back down Seventh Street, and thence down Harrison Avenue to the finish.

Different this year will be the beginning. It will be a Grand Prix start. This means that the racers take their pack saddle and run to their burros, saddle them, and then take off. It should be an exciting beginning.

It is planned that the Saturday parade will be a big one, although no theme has been discussed as yet. Plans will begin immediately to line up a large number of bands and marching units to participate along with the usual number of floats and individual entries. Lloyd Greve is to handle this facet of the celebration.

It is planned that there will be the usual carnival, race time guessing contest and raffle. The naming of the “Leadville Queen” will revert back to a prior practice. With the age limit for entries set between the ages of 13 and 26, married or single, the Queen will be the contestant who—or whose supporters—sells the largest number of race guess and raffle tickets. The winner will be presented with a $100 gift certificate for a wardrobe. These tickets would have to be turned in on the Thursday before the race.

Discussed also was the possibility of a Sunday morning Sunrise Service held by three of Leadville’s religous leaders in the football field.

As a part of the celebration there will be a pancake breakfast, barbecue, fishing derby, kids’ games, mining events, and all of the other activities that have been associated with Leadville summer celebrations in the past.

The big problem, and one that will be resolved as time passes, will be the involvement of as many Leadville hands—individuals, groups, organizations—as possible to help stage the celebration and make it truly “Leadville Boom Days.”

Suggestions and volunteers are always needed and solicited.

It is planned that the celebration will be financed at least in part through the sales of guessing time and raffle tickets, plus the advertising by Leadville merchants, individuals and organizations in a small booklet of events and schedules. Each merchant, etc. will be asked to pay $7 for a listing in this booklet. It is planned that a large map and schedule of events be set up on the courthouse lawn to direct visitors to where the next event is taking place.

In the same vein as the Winter Carnival, Leadville Boom Days will be a celebration of fun and gaiety for all—Leadville residents and our guests and visitors. Help support it.

The next meeting of the committee and visitors will be held on Wednesday, February 10 at the Silver King.


January 27, 1971


Are you interested in taking up skiing before the season ends? If so, here is a rundown on possible costs:

Select your astrological color for the pants, but even with after-holiday prices these will probably cost at least $35. Get a matching sweater, which will run about $30. Underneath you need a white turtleneck, price $10; white socks (or any other color) carry a price tag of about $2.50. A down-filled parka for warmth will cost about $65. Warm-up pants have a price tag of $25. Don’t forget the gloves! So far you have spent $175.50 just for clothes.

Good quality skis cost about $110, ski boots $100, bindings $50. The cheapest item would be the ski poles at $15. This equipment totals $275.

You still don’t have goggles at $10, ski wax at $1.25, safety straps at $1.25; skin freshener, $2; chapstick, 50 cents; sun tan lotion, $1.50; and a wine bag at $5.

That chair in front of the TV set looks pretty cheap.

Today’s Chuckle


Sign in a cemetery: “Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves.”

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