File Fact: Sept. 16, 1891 – final spike of Rio Grande Southern Railway near Rico, Colorado.


From The Telluride Times, Sept. 23, 1976

Electrical accident injures two at Brown Homestead

Robert Ben Kerr, 28, and Jim Frackelton, 42, remain in serious condition this week from a near-fatal electrical accident at a construction site. The two were feeding cable up a conduit on a telephone pole along Highway 145 at the Brown Homestead condominiums a mile west of Telluride. The cable reached the tap and fell onto the 12,000-volt main feeder line, shocking both men for approximately three minutes, according to several co-workers who watched the scene in helpless horror.

As a result, Frackelton had part of his right foot amputated and his right arm remained in danger. Kerr has lost part of his right hand.

Frackelton and Kerr were standing in a six-foot-deep trench dug to bury the electric service line for the 20-unit project. Frackelton was pushing the cable up the conduit and Kerr was a few feet behind him, pulling the cable along the trench. The cable, grounded through the conduit and the two men, connected with the live, uninsulated wire on tap, trapping and burning them in its current until the main line melted apart after about three minutes. Heart massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation were immediately administered by several workers when the current stopped. Both Telluride ambulances, staffed by Dr. Gardiner Pier and several EMTs, rushed the pair to Montrose. The men were not wearing protective equipment usually used in work with high-voltage lines.

A barbed wire fence several hundred feet long was electrified during the accident. It is considered the probable cause of a fire that broke out about two hours later in an old wooden barn on the Brown Homestead site.

The accident came four weeks after the electrocution of John Sullivan while painting a house in Telluride. A tall metal ladder that Sullivan and another man (It was Jim Bond) were carrying came close to an overhead wire and was struck by an electric arc. In 1974 a construction worker was killed across the road from the scene of this recent accident, when he came in contact with an electric wire.

Can’t believe it’s been that long, Ben.


From the Telluride Times-Journal, Sept. 26, 1996

[Dedicated to “my girls”]

Talk of Telluride (Gossip)

The High Hilton Ranch in Delta was the scene of the Second Annual White Trash Weekend. The weekend doubles as the birthday celebration of Jolie Donnell, the female sovereign of trash on the Western Slope. I think that the participants have taken a vow of secrecy about the weekend, but here’s what I do know. Becky Harvey, Bobbie Shaffer, Laura Iverson, Jena Williams, Mamie Bloom, Barbara Krebs, Dee Pearce, Hilary Borget, Deanna Swaim, Kathy Roe, Kathy McLaughlin, Diane Lyons Bambick and Jane Dunham took part in the festivities, which included a rafting trip on the Gunnison.

A three-and-one-half hour trip turned into an iron-woman workout when they took the wrong bend on the river. It was a one-way trip into the affluent of effluent (look up these words in your trusty Websters to get the true meaning). Not a pretty sight — or sweet-smelling either. These Trash-ettes then had a lesson in portage. The only way out was up and over a steep embankment to get back to the Gunnison. It was a river trip that will go down in trash history.

[Compiler’s Note: The cooler alone must have weighed 100 pounds. But those were the days when “Big Laura” was still around. It’s bittersweet to reflect on that weekend, since tragedy has struck several of these dear friends all too recently. So please permit my self-indulgence in revisiting the good times.]


From The Telluride Times-Journal, Sept., 26, 1991

Marvadeen’s Mouth (Gossip)

[Well, while I’m at it, might as well go back to where it all began.]

Wilson Mesa and its women may never be the same after Mary Woodland and Hilary Borget’s “Slumber Party from Hell, Part Two.” About 20 ladies [the same ones who were even trashier five years later], followed the martini signs to the party, which featured martinis and poker. Not to worry — Lee Zeller provided the security for the event, which was highlighted by the Midnight Madness Fashion Swap, Part Two, featuring recyclable attire modeled by the women. Their slogan: “We don’t do mornings!”

[Following is a note I received from Bob Beer regarding the article I included last time on the Butch Cassidy robbery]

Here's some info on Matt Warner's autobiographer: "The Last of the Bandit Riders."

Matt was the young man who held the horses during the Telluride robbery. He wrote the book in the late 1930s.

Kindle for $4.99. But hardcover: $750 and paperback for $579. My late father-in-law found an edition in Topeka, Kansas and gave it to me. But when I loaned it to another, never got it back.

Such is life. Bob

Bobbie can be reached at