Friday, June 12, 2015

Reaching for the Stars

Hello Everyone!

As you may all know here at Baldpate Inn we have a very wide array of keys from several famous people. From the Hitler to Poe we have a great deal of historic figures. However, both Matt and I have noticed that there is a surprising lack of keys donated from present day stars. As a result of this we have decided to mail requests to the stars asking for donations. Both Matt and I believe that by reaching out to the modern world we will not only be collecting bits of history from our generation but also giving the Baldpate Inn the recognition it deserves. Who knows, maybe Woody Allen or Ellen DeGeneres will talk about us!

Your Friendly Curator,
Isabella Vinsonhaler

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Baldpate and Prohibition?

As I was browsing through the Key Room today, I came across a rather different key. Hanging in section 5 was a corkscrew with a tiny glass bottle attached. Upon examining the tag, I discovered the items were donated by Mrs. R. C. Nisbet, Lillian Nisbet, and John L. Drummy (all from Denver, Colorado) on July 3, 1927, when they had stayed at the inn. The detail of the key that most drew my attention was the poem written on the back of the tag. Considering the age of the tag, most of the writing is smudged and hard to decipher. I did take the time today to interpret the writing to share with you all. The poem reads the following:

In the olden days, one of the ways
To be rid of sullen faces
Was to partake of the gin in the
bottle herein
And still retain your good graces
But now with a key you can gain
To Baldpate, run by the Maces
Then your gloom will fade as you
park in the shade
of this most famous of watering

With my background in poetry, I didn’t hesitate to jump into analysis of this poem. In my analysis, the poem insinuates that the bottle may have, at one point, contained a small amount of liquor. With this bottle being donated in 1927, at the height of prohibition in the United States, it’s easy to see that the guests did not care too much for the laws. In fact, they are blatantly against it.

The poem opens with the writer (not sure of which guest) being reflective of the past and how free the use of alcohol was. They push their anti-prohibition stance with the line, “And still retain your good graces.” Pre-dating the prohibition era, the temperance movement had set out on a war against alcohol, claiming that alcohol encouraged vices and profanity. The ideas of the temperance movement eventually helped spark prohibition and make it catch flame. The writer wants us to understand that drunkenness does not exactly mean belligerence. You can, in fact, keep your “good graces” under the influence, according to this poet.

The last couple lines of this poem stood out the most to me, personally. They refer to the Baldpate as the most famous “watering place.” Considering the context of the poem, it may imply that the Baldpate, at one point, may have served alcohol illegally. The chances are probable, as such places were rampant during prohibition, ultimately causing its downfall. This, however, is bold speculation and is reliant on my own interpretation of the poem.

There are also many different ways this could be interpreted. These guests may have come to the Baldpate and been relieved at the sight of served alcohol. On the other hand, the inn may have just been a respite for the guests. Being up in the mountains, miles from town, may have presented them the opportunity to drink their own alcohol without fear of being caught in a public place, like the town of Estes.

This poem goes to show that the Baldpate is rich with history. There is history in these walls that we may never even know about. The most we can do is speculate. Most of these stories don’t have a first person account that we can turn to. Though we may never truly know the history of the Baldpate, it surely won’t stop us from trying to find out as much as we can.

Remember to always stay on the search!
-Matthew Porter

The key, donated by the Nisbets and John C. Drummy of Denver, Co.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Key to a Hammond Organ

Hello Key Room Blog! My name is Matthew Porter, one of the two curator interns at the Baldpate this summer. I come to Estes Park from Ithaca, NY. I attend school at Ithaca College, where I study English. I hope to one day pursue a professorship in my field. I have just completed my freshman year and I look forward to the three ahead of me. I have been at the Baldpate for a little over two weeks now. I am completely fascinated by the different keys that I find on a daily basis. This is my first time off of the east coast. I have never seen beauty as pure as the mountains surrounding Estes. I am stricken with awe and inspiration every time I look out the window.

In the key room, located right next to the door, we have an exhibit of musical keys. Among the collection, there is a key from a Hammond Organ, signed by the inventor Laurens Hammond. The Hammond Organ is one of the first electric keyboards created. Its influence has reached many musicians of varying genres (specifically within Jazz and Rock). The white key taken from his organ holds massive significance in the progression of music. 

Laurens Hammond was born on January 11, 1895 in Evanston, IL. He attended Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where he received a degree in mechanical engineering in 1916. While working for an automobile company, he would often tinker on his own. His first major invention came in 1920: The soundless clock. With his discovery, he went on to open his own clock company, appropriately named the Hammond Clock Company. 

His interest in music did not come until 1933. Hammond was not a musician by any means. He was just fascinated by the sounds that were produced by the phonograph that he had in his lab. Hammond and his engineers soon began to experiment with producing musical sound through electronic synthesis. With their experimentation, Hammond finally discovered the use of the tonewheel. The tonewheel is the most crucial part of the Hammond Organ, for it creates the sound when the instrument is played. 

The use of the organ took off soon after its creation. It was originally intended for smaller churches to get an organ sound without the space requirements of wind driven organs. Like most inventions, the original purpose was not quite what it became known for. The Hammond Organ is most well-known for its presence in early Jazz fusion, along with 60's rock. Notable artists that use the Hammond Organ include Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Doors, and The Grateful Dead. 

Laurens Hammond passed away on July 1, 1973. His instrument, however, will forever live in the classic sound of bands that we now look upon as timeless.

If you would like to hear a sample of a Hammond Organ, feel free to click the links below:   Compilation of Hammond Solos   Walk with me Lord- Terry Bradford   Boogie Woogie on the Hammond

Until next time!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Memory from Afar

Upon rifling through the key room's mailbox, I stumbled across an email sent back in April. The email had a wonderful black and white photograph of two strapping young men in their military dress in front of the steps of The Baldpate Inn. Along with the photograph was a short message explaining who these people were and their connection with the Baldpate. The sender of the email was none other than the son of the gentleman on the right of the photo- Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. Walter Hagan.

Both Hagan and a friend arrived in Greeley, Colorado in the year 1942. Here to complete tech training at UNC during WWII, Both chose to visit The Baldpate Inn. It is always amazing to be able to see in to the past, throughout the war great tragedy was created and witnessed. As a result it is always awe-inspiring to see moments of joy during those times.

This photograph for me not only creates a sense of happiness, but also a carefree feeling. It is as if Hagan and his friend were completely detached from the atrocities of war and were back to the root of themselves: two young men out having fun.

P.S. We hope to be able to put this photograph among our photo documentation collection in the dining room!

Your Friendly Curator,
Isabella Vinsonhaler