Saturday, November 23, 2002
Steamboat Springs Dear Friends Halden,
Well, last time I wrote, my letter ended rather abruptly. Fred was ready to leave for town, and I had indicated that I wanted to go along. So, where was I? Oh, yes, I was telling about getting REA, wasn't I?
It seems unlikely that we will ever again ride to town with team and buggy or make any long trips in a Concord coach. And the three livery barns in Steamboat have almost no business.
But what a pleasure it is to drive into town in our enclosed Dodge auto from right at our doorsteps, no less.
The Roosevelt administration is claiming credit through the New Deal for ending the Great Depression. Well, certainly no one can deny that during the current administration, the quality of rural life (and urban life, too, for that matter) has reached a higher level that anyone could have imagined what with automobile transportation replacing the horse and buggy, on fine modern roads which have replaced rutted and muddy cow trails. Coal-oil lamps and lanterns replaced with electric lights, electricity made possible such home comforts as air conditioning and indoor plumbing, clothes washers and dryers, cook stoves any number of kitchen and shop tools and gadgets and, perhaps the most significant of all, refrigerators.
But, as for as claiming credit for the ending of the depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt should share recognition with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. And, sad to say, the real driving factor in our improved economy has been the horrible war in Europe, and the almost certain eventual involvement of the U.S. in this war.
Well, enough on politics.
How fortunate we are to have Elmer to take over the management of S Bar S while we were in Arizona; and for that matter Elmer has been our "straw boss" (and a very good one) ever since Frances and Elmer married in 1936.
When we returned from Arizona, spring of 1939, we found the beautiful new S Bar S Ranch bridge almost finished. All it lacked was some of the cottonwood three by 12 foot plank flooring, and some of the rocks to fill the log crib piers, and the flooring had to be finished so that the remaining loose rock fill could be transported by horse-drawn stone boat across the bridge to the piers.
This flooring is made by sawing cottonwood logs from trees which our crew cut on our river front hauled by sled to a small sawmill just above town (to the south) and then the planks hauled back to the ranch.
Well, near the end of January, Elmer and Slim, in the early morning, were about to top over Slate Creek Divide with their two sled loads of logs, when they saw a huge plume of smoke over Steamboat. On reaching town, a pile of ashes lay in place of the Cabin Hotel.
I must close now.