Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

In no particular order, but I have to say, of all the many old mining towns we've visited, Leadville is the sorriest.

The town has an incredible history, and still a lot of fine old buildings on the main street, but you can tell there's never been any zoning in the town and it just looks uncared for. Their water system is still affected by a Superfund cleanup attempt. The entry to the town is miles of debris and dumps and trailer parks, and the land is barren because it was over logged long ago and nothing grew back.

There are tourists in the tourist part of town, but there aren't many tourists and there aren't many restaurants either. Around dinner time we saw the same sorry group of folks crisscrossing our path, looking lost and hungry, wondering where they should eat dinner.

The favored spot had only one thing on the menu, beef filet, and some of the hungry ladies we talked to thought this was just the thing, because you told them exactly how many inches of filet you wanted and that's what they'd serve you. The image of the cook in the back room with ruler and giant slab of beef turned me off.

The sign in the window of the Chinese restaurant was peculiar- was it trying to be cute? Restaurant is hard to spell, so hmm...

Or there was the Italian restaurant and gifts-- the gifts part rang the wrong bell for me.

We ended up having our dinner delivered to us at the famous Silver Dollar Saloon-- slab of ribs and salad, though no utensils came with it which made it tricky at first.

This art gallery seemed completely out of place. The owner beckoned us inside, including Molly.

The artwork was really nice. I noticed that two different artists whose work I liked a lot both were favoring extremely asymmetrical compositions- one was doing pastels of horses in black and white where the horse was only partial and in a corner of the image, and the other acrylics that made me think of Albert Pynkham Ryder but again with the odd compositions where everything is happening way off on one side or the other. I didn't think it was right to take a straight on shot of the pictures, but maybe I should have.

I believe the second artist's name was Frank Sampson. His paintings are on the right.

(to be continued maybe)


Linda said...

Sad, but funnnny! I heart the "We heart Deadville" sign.

I don't think the Szechan Testes sign is trying to be cute.

Art Art does look interesting and the building looks so beautiful on the outside and the inside. I looked Frank Sampson up and he's from CO so it must be him--. That art on the left looks really intriguing.

stray said...

interesting post!

stray said...

(I enjoyed looking up both Sampson and Ryder.)

Sally said...

Here's a link to someone else's take on this nifty gallery.

The gallery itself is here

I google image searched for the horse artist from the list on their incomplete site but didn't find the artist.

Mean Jean said...

When we were in Leadville I think there were 2 places to eat, both sketchy. We had a drink and went to Aspen for food. Aspen is freaky-fake.

Did Leadville ever do anything with the old opera house? They seem to have no motivation or focus as far as promoting themselves.

Namowal said...

Leadville sounds a bit spooky.
The "Cheinese" restaurant sign was sorry, but I give them points for turning the S into a dragonlike creature.
I wonder how authentic the food was? Would it be like the faux-Chinese recipes from the 1960s and 70s where rice+ketchup+soy sauce+crunchy noodles =
"Chinese food?"

Sally said...

Namowal, I can almost taste that 70's Chinese food. No, Mean Jean, they've done nothing with the opera house. The same family still owns it. Weird town.

Hadn't been in Aspen in 15 years. At that time it annoyed me. Now it's so much the capital of Richistan that it's kind of amazing. I watched a woman carefully pour her $5.00 coffee drink on a tree.