Yes, I know…Thursdays with Dan Antion at No Facilities is supposed to be about doors.
Well, I thought I’d throw a stick into the wheel of this event and only share a door frame. Considering I rarely get involved with Thursday doors, I’m throwing another stick into the wheel with this once-in-a-blue-moon post that has nothing to do with holidays.
I hope Dan isn’t wondering, “Who is this woman, really, and where is her door?”
Let me explain…
The doorless photo above was taken at the top of Pike’s Peak, Colorado, in late October. There’s a story behind it.
In July of 1873, U.S. Army Signal Service Sergeant George Boehmer and Private James H. Smith received orders to ascend Pikes Peak in an attempt to ascertain whether the summit was a suitable location for a weather observatory. The location would be the nation’s second mountain top locale and the highest. Shortly after their ascent, another trip was planned with Boehmer and Smith, as well as three others from the Signal Service, U.S. Coastal Service, and Denver & Rio Grande Railway.
Pikes Peak was chosen because it was an ideal location for research related to weather and forecasting, and it was also, at that time, removed from any major populated area; any eastward moving storm could be spotted from its tall peak; and it substantially surpassed the height of the then tallest weather station in the U.S. – New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington standing at 6,288 feet (1,917 meters).
Before winter of 1873, a Denver area contractor was hired to build the first signal station at the top of Pike’s Peak. Within four weeks, a team of thirteen men loaded supplies on horseback and donkey to make the difficult climb up the mountainside. These men constructed a two-room building, a rustic cabin with 18″ thick stone walls. Opened in October of 1873, the summit house was manned year around.
Nine years later, the original signal station was replaced with a larger station to accommodate more people and eventually, in 1888, the Army permanently closed this facility. It was determined that the constant downed telegraph wires and prolonged interruption of service was not worth the cost of maintaining the location.
The weather on top of Pike’s Peak was a constant issue, especially because the initial summit house was crudely and quickly built. The windows and doors were ill-fitting, allowing snow to accumulate through the cracks. Boulders were placed on top of the roof to keep it from flying off. The men at the station also had to deal with high altitude (I can vouch for the altitude issues and how cold it is at the top, even in October). Pike’s Peak is at 14,110 feet (4,301 meters). Cooking is far different at this altitude and it took the crew four hours to boil potatoes and ten hours to cook beans. Coffee would cool just minutes after it was brewed. Conditions were extremely harsh, so we should all give thanks for our insulated homes, heat and easier cooking conditions.
And our doors. Let us give thanks for today’s warm and well-fitting doors.
The gallery consists of stock photos of the original summit house and the updated station. Currently, there is a very modern summit (tourist) house, complete with a food court, gift shop, bathrooms and a little bit of history. The doors were boring, so no photos. The current paved roadway was completed in 2011, after ten years of construction. Prior to that time, the upper portion of the road was gravel.
Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Join in on the fun by creating a Thursday Doors post each week and sharing your link in the comments section at No Facilities, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).