Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Things that are Bolder in Boulder

1. Traveling along the Denver Boulder Turnpike offers one of the most breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains.  The turnpike was the brain child of an engineering professor at the University of Colorado, Roderick L. Downing. He began promoting the idea in 1927. One of the reasons was the trek from Denver to Boulder was so arduous, there was no direct route.  Eventually, the vision and the possibility grew and 6.3 million in bonds were authorized in July of 1950 to be paid back in 30 years. Research and speculation predicted that it would not pay for itself at a toll rate of .25 per car.  The debt was paid back 13 years ahead of time and the road became free to the public in 1967. I found a link to an article in the Denver Post about major renovations slated to begin in July 2012 and the cost. It is the first reconstruction since the road was built. I hope they keep the mountains.  It is a nice touch.

2. If the traffic gets you down, take a moment to stop at the Davidson Mesa scenic overlook. You can find the cornerstone to the original toll booth from Broomfield along with an education of just what you are looking at like the Flatirons and the Continental Divide. About 115 millon years ago, this area was composed of a low lying coastal area featuring river basins, barrier islands, mud flats, sandy beaches and shallow water and a popular hangout for dinosaurs, especially the Iguanodon and then the Rockies moved in.

3.  The National Center for Atmospheric Research is just off to the left of the highway on your way into Boulder.  It blends in with the scenery and almost looks like part of the mountain. They have an interesting video on their website about the atmosphere. Click on Air People Planet.

4. Boulder Theater, as it is known today, sits on the site of the former Curran Opera House in downtown Boulder The Opera House opened in 1906. It featured opera, musical performances and silent movies. The building today was designed by a Kansas native, Robert Boller and opened in 1936 with its distinct Art Deco design on the building facade.  It has changed hands over the years and is now part of Z2 Entertainment. It is the home the Boulder International Film Festival and has been the host of many community events including the taping of the live radio show, NPR's  Etown along with many other multi -talented performances.

5. The current Boulder County Courthouse was  built in 1933 and designed in the art deco style as well, by Glen Huntington. It is now used as administrative offices. They had some really cool old pictures on the wall inside the lobby. Don't quote me, but I believe the 2nd picture is the original courthouse, that was destroyed by fire.

6. Peal Street Mall is a section of downtown that is blocked off to traffic with sculptures, stone and wooden bridges strategically placed throughout the length of the shopping area. It runs from 9th - 16th Street and their are a variety of stores.  I spotted a longer Indian style skirt I liked and I should have gotten it. The local businesses also have employees out among the strollers offering free samples and those cookies were delicious.  It is a pleasant atmosphere to get out and enjoy a beautiful day to shop or just take a stroll.

Featured stones at Pearl Street were installed in 2002.  My favorite weeping rock is made of Colorado sandstone found in the city of Lyons also in Boulder County. A water pit with a pump re-circulates the water as it drizzles down the rock. It has a very cool ripple effect when you touch it and interrupt its flow. The bridge "split rock" is pretty neat too and the extra stone that was carved out of the center is on display at the end of the mall.  The split rocks came from a quarry near Sedalia, Colorado. and were cut by Tribble Stone in north Boulder. Boulder seemed to me to favor a naturalist environment.

7. The National State Bank was built in 1899 and is the oldest continuous use business building in Boulder. The bank began in 1874, it was the first bank in Boulder and was named the Buckingham Brothers Bank. Charles Buckingham was the President of the bank for 66 years, which is noted in Ripley's Believe it or Not, so says the Boulder Historic Neighborhoods A Walking Tour Brochure and I believe it! Charles Buckingham made a lot of contributions to the area in and around Boulder including the University of Colorado.

8. Buckingham Block now houses the Boulder Book Store the largest independent book store in Boulder.  The building was originally built for Charles Cheney in 1898 on the corner lot property he inherited from his father it was first known as Cheney Block.  Charles Buckingham later bought the property in 1919.  You can see the engraving on the top of the building Buckingham Block.  The bookstore link has a nice timeline story of the building's history. Secret societies? Do tell.

9. The Boulderado Hotel opened on New Years Eve in 1899, rooms ranged from $1.00 to $2.50 a day. It continues to be one of the hot spots to ring in the new year.  It is gorgeous inside. The original "famous" stained glassed ceiling was replaced in 1959 with plexiglass after a snowstorm broke a skylight that fell and destroyed the original ceiling. In 1977, a $65,000 renovation was complete to bring back the original class and feel of the glamorous Victorian style lobby. The rooms are beautiful as well.  If I ever make it back to Boulder.  I would love to stay there.

10. Dushanbe Teahouse is a gift to the city of Boulder from their sister city in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The building was created in Tajikistan to be presented to Boulder as a community gathering place. It is the largest teahouse outside of Asia and is situated along Boulder Creek in a very relaxed setting.

The ceramic panels on the exterior of the house were created piece by piece in Tajikistan and creator Victor Zabolotnikov accompanied the shipment and repositioned each tile on the building when it arrived in the United States. The pattern represents the "Tree of Life".

The foundation that sits front and center, greets you as you walk in the door and the central focal point in the interior of the building. It is patterned after a 1197AD poem titled "The Seven Beauties",  the 4th poem of Nizami Ganjavi’s “Khamsa”. The teahouse website link goes into more detail if you are interested about the poem and its meaning.

I'll admit I was a tad jealous I didn't get to sit in one of the two corner elevated tables. If you sat there, you got to kick off your shoes and rise one level up.  It just looked cozy. There really was no room for hostility, it would have messed with the zen in the room. Maybe next time. Tea has a very soothing effect.

All places and people have a past and a future.  I enjoy exploring the differences and also find comfort in the similarities. It is good to share and what a better way than over a cup of tea. What? You have never heard of sister cities? Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love is the sister city of one of my most favorite to date, cities in the world. Wait till you see that place!

Regrets:  If I were to go back to the Boulder area again, I would like to take the tour offered at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and also the tour of Celestial Seasonings Tea.  I am a drinker and it's free. I want to try that Acai Mango Zinger.


Boulder shows up on Top 10 lists all the time and I can easily see why.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your nice posting on Boulder, my favorite town. One correction though, the Bond to build the toll road from Denver to Boulder was 6.3M, not Billion.