File Fact: December 24, 1880, the U.S. Postal carrier Swan Swanson perished in a severe snowstorm on Ophir Pass while delivering Christmas mail and packages from Silverton to Ophir.

The Pekkarine legacy: historical riches for Telluride

From The Telluride Times, Dec. 27, 1979                                                                                     

[The Pekkarine Building on West Colorado Avenue is the namesake of this historical Telluride family. When I came to town in the early 1970s, the “Pekkarine Boutique,” as it became known, was owned and run by Peggy Fino Hebron.]

Lionel trains. Tootsie toys. Shirley Temple. Red Goose Shoes. The Amos ‘n’ Andy Hoppin’ Jalopy. Popeye. David Pekkarine had all the toys a boy could want. His parents owned the local department store, Pekkarine’s, on Telluride’s main street and lavished toys on their second sun until his death of a kidney ailment in 1934 at the age of twelve. David,’s brother, Eino, eleven years his senior, packed all the toys away, “lovingly” according to San Miguel Historical Society’s Arlene Reid, and left them along with the rest of the Pekkarine building contents to the Historical Museum, where they are now almost eerily preserved. 

“Eino never got over his brother’s death,” Mrs. Reid said, “and cried at the mention” of it up until his own passing away in 1973. “People were amazed at the reading of the will. Eino left it all to the two institutions he valued in Telluride. He left the building to the school and the contents to the museum. We wouldn’t have a museum without Eino. He saved everything.”                  The museum also got things he had stored for others “upstairs in that dirty little hole.” The Wheelers, a Telluride banking family, left a whole roomful of Indian artifacts and collections of cut glass. There was the room with David’s toys, and there were the belongings of Eino’s aunt, Aino Solenhino, who came over from Finland to live with him until her death in 1967.  The senior Pekkarines, Mr. and Mrs. Aaro, were Finnish immigrants to Telluride at the turn of the 20th century. He was a shoemaker until the purchase of the department store, and some of his handwork will be part of the museum’s third floor. Eino was “a brain." He was too smart for his own good — a misfit. He studied to be a doctor, but he couldn’t communicate. He suffered terribly. He became an alcoholic, an almost permanent fixture in the Sheridan Bar. He was known (before the ski area) as Telluride’s resident intellectual with two degrees from the University of Colorado and a fine talent for music.

One day Eino stumbled out of the Sheridan and fell in front of a passing car. He was recovering in Grand Junction two or three weeks later, walking around when he “suddenly dropped dead,” remembered Arlene. It was said of him then that he “had the kind of virtue that makes a man admired and the kind of faults that make him truly loved.” He also had the foresight, conscious or not, to preserve for all of us physical reminders of a time long gone by imaginable and therefore real.

45 YEARS AGO

From The Telluride Times, Nov. 29, 1974

Along the San Miguel

If you need help on the Telluride Ski Area or have a mishap, these ski patrolmen are on the mountain to assist you: [Big drum roll for this list — many are still around here] John Stevens, Thomas R. Taylor, Thomas R. Sokolowski, Robert Sullivan, Bill Sands, James W. Good, Michael Muer, James A. Guest, William P. Mahoney, Gregory R. Henzi, Allan L. Ranta, Norman Gray, Robert Forsberg, Gerald Wilcox.

40 YEARS AGO

From The Telluride Times, Nov. 29 1979

Skating rink is coming

It looks as though Telluride will have an ice skating rink soon. Town Recreation Director Gary Hickcox said that he hoped to begin flooding the entire Elks’ Park and to flood nightly until a six to eight inch base of ice is built up. Hickcox emphasized that the location was not an ideal one, due to its sunny exposure. Telluride has been without ice skating facilities since the winter of 1977-78, when Louise Gerdts’ lot adjacent to the former Silver Jack restaurant was used. Located in another sunny spot, that rink provided from 6 to 7 weeks of skating.

New business and faces on Colorado Ave.

[Here is a list of businesses and their operators, which opened that year. Each one could be a story of its own.]

The Iron Ladle (newly operated by Chuck Oddo); Pacific Skis (Ned Mulford and Rod Shoup); The Examiner (Terry Catsman); Small Business (Skeeter Gilmore and Carol Ward); Belmont Liquors (George Braun); Boomerang Service and Parts — 1.5 miles west on Hwy 145 (Bruce Brethen); Rocky Mountain Spirits (Fred and Sandy Sucharski); The Excelsior Café (Sharon Shuteran); Golden Wedge Maintenance (John Cohn).

[I received this note from Verne Gurhold regarding my piece on the Valley Cows, which appeared in my last column. Comments?]

Never existed. All of the cattle who lived on the valley floor were steers as I remember. Steers are male animals who have been "neutered." A cow is a female animal who has had at least one calf. A heifer is a female adolescent. It's odd that the people of Telluride were never really able to understand the difference. I grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm. There was never any confusion about the gender of the cattle.

Bobbie can be contacted at bobbies@telluridecolorado.net. Comments are welcome.