Monday, September 6, 2010

The Labor Day Fire

A fire started today in Emerson Gulch, which is off of Four Mile Canyon and three-tenths of a mile south of Gold Hill, Colorado. According to my parents, who are currently 4 miles north of Ward, the winds have reached 70-80 mph blowing north-northeast. The Longmont Times-Call reports that a fire truck and three structures have burned so far. Gold Hill is being evacuated, along with fire crews.
Here is a photo published by the Longmont Times-Call:

Here are some photos of the foothills that I took in the last hour:

Notice the contrast between the sky towards the Flatirons to the south and the sky northward. That wind is blowing pretty hard to keep the smoke from traveling south.

I am currently quite involved in Gold Hill—apart from the friends who live there, I am conducting an oral history project on the Gold Hill community and I also work as a waitress at the Gold Hill Inn.

Gold Hill is one of the most unique mountain communities in Colorado. Founded in 1859, it celebrated its sesquicentennial last year. The town is a National Register of Historic Places District, and it is an important cultural resource for the study of Colorado mining history.

More than anything, Gold Hill is a place where the residents strive to maintain their sense of history and place. They run the Gold Hill School, which has been in operation since 1873, and the Gold Hill Museum, which is dedicated to preserving and maintaining the town's heritage. They have fought to keep their streets unpaved and their school open when the Boulder Valley School District sought to close it. Gold Hill residents spend their evenings at the Gold Hill Inn, where they play music and drink in the dining hall.

The Gold Hill School, which serves residents of Gold Hill and Ward and teaches children k-5:

The Gold Hill Inn (right) and the Bluebird Lodge (left):

My recent history research is about how the Gold Hill community maintains and understands its heritage. As someone whose life is framed and punctuated by thoughts of history, and who believes that the study of history is essential to understanding humanity, the Gold Hill community's approach to heritage is especially heartening. And now we can only wait and see if this important cultural resource--this incredibly unique place--will survive. There is something particularly painful about the threat of annihilation to such a powerfully historic community.

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