"My grandparents, Clifford Staley and Jeanette Henderson Staley, came to Colorado from the east coast in the early 1900's to start their life together in the new West. They first lived in Caribou where Cliff worked in the mines in the area until they could establish themselves. They were able to buy the Keystone Gold Mine in Magnolia. The property consisted of the mine, reputed to have a vertical shaft over 400 feet deep and a good vein of gold ore, a preprocessing mill, and a miners' cabin. The cabin was built into the side of the mountain and made a cozy family home for the Staleys and their three children.
Cliff and Jeanette Staley
They had two sons, Cliff Jr. and Jim, and a daughter, my mother, Doreen. The children were born in Boulder and raised in the beautiful Colorado Mountains. It sounds idyllic to me, but of course then Magnolia and Magnolia Road were nothing like they are today. Magnolia was remote from Boulder and difficult to get to.
There were other mines, cabins, miners and families, but it must have been isolated. The children went to a one-room schoolhouse on Magnolia Road for their primary education, but to attend Boulder High School, from which all three graduated, they had to move to Boulder and live with family friends, far away from home.
The Staleys and Cliff, Jr.
The trip from the Keystone in Magnolia to Boulder was a long, arduous one. The dirt road down to the canyon was extremely steep and wound treacherously back and forth, with sheer drop-offs. Once in the canyon, the road was still difficult to negotiate because they were travelling by horse or mule and wagon. A team of several pairs of mules would bring the huge loads of ore down from the mine in wagons with only big wooden brakes to contend with gravity. It must have been terrifying. When the family would come down to Boulder for supplies and groceries once a month, they would also come by wagon, but used a smaller team of horses. I wish I knew when they got their first car, but I always think of this trip as being by wagon.
Cliff on Magnolia Road, December 1916
I remember, as a child, seeing the big black iron post in front of Valentine's Hardware Store. It was used for tying up the customers' horses, and I imagined my grandparents' wagon sitting there, being filled with supplies and groceries. The trip for supplies was not a one-day excursion. As a special treat and for a much needed rest after the long ride, the Staley family would stay overnight in the Boulderado Hotel. What an adventure that must have been for my mother and her brothers, and what a welcome respite for their parents.
At age 17, my grandmother, Jeanette, travelled alone to America from Glasgow, Scotland, arriving in New York City. She went to Drexel Institute (now University) in Philadelphia and became a secretary. My grandfather, Cliff, came from an entrepreneurial family in Indiana and New Jersey and attended Notre Dame University. He had also travelled. As a teenager, Cliff and his father came by private rail car to Silverton, Colorado to see some mining property. It might have been that venture that inspired my grandfather to come to Colorado to pursue his own dreams. While Jeanette and Cliff were worldly folks with lots of experiences, my mother and her brothers had only lived the quiet mountain life in Magnolia. Boulder must have seemed like a big, exciting city, and the Boulderado must have looked like a palace.
During the two World Wars the mines were shut down. After World War II, it was too difficult to restart the Keystone Mine and make a living mining for gold in Colorado. So, the Staleys moved 'into town' into a lovely old house on Walnut Street and spent the rest of their years in Boulder. Cliff lived into his late 80s and Jeanette lived into her mid 90s.
Cliff and Jeanette, March 1963
Like many of us, I so wish I had had the opportunity to talk to my grandparents and my mother more about their lives and their perspectives on the world and Boulder in the 1920s and 30s. Nonetheless, each time I set foot in the glorious Boulderado Hotel I think of my mother as a young girl who was able to stay with her family in such a special place. I am very grateful to those who have preserved this historical treasure for all of us."
-- Barbara Berryman
The following was found in the notes of Leila Besse Leonard (1891-1976) by her grandson, Denis. It is dated May 17th, 1911 and recollects the first Boulderado wedding ceremony on record.
"Papa made arrangements with the management of the Boulderado Hotel for the wedding to take place there and for our guests from the mountains to be entertained overnight. The minister of the First Christian Church officiated. We had placed our membership letters in this church soon after our arrival in Boulder and had become quite well acquainted with Rev. A.L. Ward. The ceremony was held on the top floor in the manager's apartment, then the party came to the mezzanine floor by the elevator, coming on down to the main floor by the stairway as the hotel orchestra played the Wedding March. The dinner was served in the private dining room. Lee was employed in Denver, and we left on a 9:30 interurban electric train and were soon settled in a three-room flat at 1861 Clarkson -- then a rather new building."
-- provided by Denis & Terence Keleher
Lee and Leila, circa 1910
A copy of the wedding invitation.
**Favorite Story ~ December 2008**
A snippet from my mother's memoirs. Hattie Kistler, born in Longmont in 1900, was a student at the University of Colorado. The following episode involved the Hotel Boulderado.
"It was a year of desperation."
The year was 1918, and this referred to the influenza epidemic -- several of mother's close friends had died.
"One of the light-hearted experiences of that fall occurred when Irma and I were summoned to the office of the Dean of Women. We really had no idea what we might have done! Well, here it is -- we were seen in the dining room of the Boulderado Hotel eating a meal with two young men! (It was a Sunday evening and we were returning to Boulder from a weekend in Longmont.) It seems we could have eaten at the cafeteria or the drug store but to go to a hotel dining room was strictly out of order!"
One of the young men referred to was Jim St. Clair, a longtime friend from childhood. Hattie and Jim were married in 1923, soon after graduating from the University of Colorado -- and subsequently became my parents!
-- Pat Ostwald
Hattie Kistler, circa 1916 (left) and Jim St. Clair, circa 1918 (right)