"Elementary, My Dear Watson"
Although the phrase is never actually found together in the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it has become the chatchphrase attributed to Sherlock Holmes, the famous fictional resident of 221-B Baker Street, which is the topic of the today’s blog from the Baldpate Inn Key Room.
Sherlock Holmes is definitely one the most prominent fictional characters in literature, or at least he is in my mind. The uniqueness of his character is seemingly unparalleled, with his astute logical reasoning, ability to adopt a variety of disguises, and his forensic skills to help with his consulting detective service. Not only were his abilities unique, he was also considered a “bohemian” by his counterpart, Dr. Watson. Having an extreme expectation for personal hygiene, he then complimented it with his rather disdain for tidiness or any sort of organization. To add to the uniqueness of Mr. Holmes, he also was considered to be rather arrogant and enjoyed baffling the police inspectors with the deductions he was able to make that they were unable to see.
In the four novels and fifty-six short stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that give us the basis for Sherlock Holmes, he is able to help the police inspectors solve many crimes and also interact with some uncommon villains as well including Professor James Moriarty, Charles Augustus Magnussen, and Dr. Robert Frankland.
221-B Baker Street became the setting and residence for this rare setting and characters, and while it was considered to be rather ordinary, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson made this place into a bustling, crime-solving center where people could bring their issues and mysteries, and if unique or adventurous Sherlock Holmes would take their case. Yet at the time Doyle wrote the Sherlock stories, Baker Street did not actually have address numbers into the 200s and it is believed that Doyle created 221-B to avoid using an actual person’s residence.
While being a fictional character, Sherlock Holmes’ residential address is an actual place and we are blessed to have the key to 221-B Baker Street, donated to us by Dr. Watson’s Neglected Patients, a scion society of the Baker Street Irregulars. This key may seem as one that is rather ordinary of the time period, but to those that enjoy literature and even the more recent visual adaptations like Robert Downing Jr. as Sherlock Holmes in two films, or Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC TV series, it is more about the legacy of the character Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created.
Already we as the three curators have been able to give you a brief background to almost a half dozen keys here in our collection. I would personally like to invite all of you in the Estes Park area at some point this summer to come and see the many other thousands of keys we have here in our collection. We hope to continue to inform and enlighten our readers through this blog the rest of the summer.
For now I am off,Jacob
Key Room Museum Curator