April 2019

FROM:  Allan Ferguson
TO:  Friends of Route 36 – Please share this to all who may be interested

One of the most distinctive of “state” signs. This rustic design was retired by the state at one time but brought back by popular demand.

During the first quarter of this year I’ve been putting finishing touches on my guidebook. Now we’re into production and printing, leading to promotion. A few notes:

  • We should have books by the end of May or early June. The guidebook includes 200 pages of state information, 60 pages of background history, and some 160 photos.
  • Look for our website www.US36guidebook.com within a similar time-frame. The site will feature maps, photos, some history, and purchasing information.
  • My wife, Ruth, and I will be out on the highway during the summer. If you would like to arrange for a book signing and/or a speaking appearance for your organization or club, contact me at aferguson@ecentral.com.

In Newsletter #4 I promised a feature on Colorado. Here it is  . . . .

 How to summarize Colorado?  A scenic wonderland where the West begins, a land written in water, sunny with volatile weather, surprisingly diverse, Midwestern with a Spanish accent, urban with a rural accent, young, outdoorsy, high-tech, modern, forward-looking, independent, optimistic. The most telling generality: This is a state of migrants, old and new; fully half the families who call Colorado home were not here thirty years ago. Among the six states visited by Route 36, Colorado is the only one experiencing significant population growth.

Colorado—More than Mountains. Before reaching Denver and the Colorado mountains, travelers on Route 36 can enjoy a two-lane, 125-mile passage on the peaceful High Plains—an extension of the two-lane experience through Kansas. On a clear, sunny day (most days in Colorado), crystal-blue skies cap a seemingly endless horizon. A treeless landscape is broken only by clumps of cottonwoods along low-lying creeks. Here, the land is best suited for grazing. Herds of Black Angus and Herefords make their appearance, complemented by the occasional bison or llama.

Margaret Brown’s “House of Lions.” Representative of “Old Denver,” this is the house built by the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” and her gold-king husband, J.J. Brown. On Route 36 we first met Margaret Brown in Hannibal, Missouri, where she grew up a generation later than Hannibal’s more famous resident, Mark Twain. A visit to the “Molly Brown House” is one of Denver’s best offerings if you think of it as an exercise in smashing stereotypes—in this case, the stereotype of the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” as portrayed on stage and screen in the 1940s and 1950s.Ms. Brown was, in fact, an indefatigable advocate for women’s rights, juvenile justice, and expanded literacy.

Denver’s Modern Look. No longer a “cow town,” Denver’s modern image is best reflected in the soaring, titanium-skinned façade of the Denver Art Museum designed by Daniel Libeskend (2006). The museum draws major traveling exhibits as well as maintaining its core collection of Native American, Western, African, and modern arts.Visitors to Denver can take in the “DAM,” the History Colorado Center, the Public Library, and the State Capitol all within a few blocks of one another.

Art Deco Masterpiece. This is one of the coolest places in Denver—It’s the retro “Cruise Room” at the Oxford Hotel in Lower Downtown Denver (“LoDo”). A stone’s throw from Denver’s Union Station (1880), the Oxford is billed as Denver’s oldest hotel and is one of the success stories of the city’s historic preservation movement that took off in the 1970s. The Cruise Room will take you back to an earlier, more elegant time. The newest tune on the jukebox is something by Elvis Presley. Otherwise, it’s all big-band jazz, Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, and other stars of the 1930s and 1940s.

The 16th Street Mall. Major tourist attractions in downtown Denver are compactly situated in a square mile connected by free shuttle service on the 16th Street pedestrian mall. The mall has been a catalyst in the renaissance of downtown Denver, cutting through a vibrant alley of hotels, office buildings, shops, and restaurants, and connecting the heart of Denver at Broadway with Lower Downtown Denver (“Lodo”) at Denver’s iconic Union Station.

Guess Who. In this continuing item, we feature one of the many famous men and women to be found along Route 36. Unless you are an antique car buff, this is a tough one. A clue: His last name is synonymous with early horseless carriages powered by steam. That’s right—this is a profile portrait of Freelan Oscar (F.O) Stanley of Stanley Steamer fame. In the story of Route 36, Stanley appears as the Father of Estes Park where he passed summer seasons and was a key figure in building the community.

And Here’s His Hotel. By any measure, “The Stanley” is the crown jewel of Estes Park. Standing on sixty-eight acres of high ground overlooking downtown Estes, the whitewashed “Colonial Revival” resort hotel is a tourism magnet to some 400,000 annual visitors who come to stay, to tour the building, to dine and drink, and to attend conventions, weddings, and concerts. In high season (June to mid-October), non-guest access to the hotel is regulated with a gatehouse and parking fee. Photo credit: Stanley Hotel Media Center

Looking Ahead

Please share this newsletter to anyone you think might be interested in Route 36. They can join the mail list here.

Next newsletter: We’ll have book launch information and announce the debut of our website, www.US36guidebook.com.

‘til then, Happiest of Holidays to you all,

Route 36—America’s Heartland Highway
1743 S. Marion St.
Denver CO 80210
303-722-3441 (o)
720-789-0042 (m)