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Not that I’m discontented with our cafes…

April 20, 2015

We recently discussed an important fact of local history: library book sale prices have remained unchanged since 1989. In buying power, this is like getting a 47% discount, so don’t miss Saturday’s sale, April 25th , from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Now this is not the most interesting bit of local history one might find, but it’s pertinent this week. For more local history, you might look at the library’s archive website, newly organized with ever more new material Joy has been adding from our local history collections.

Go to the library website, and click on “The Salida Archive” tab. The newest addition is the collection of historic survey inventory forms for downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, which you’ll find under the “Research” tab.

These are organized by street and in order by property along the street. Take D Street. You’ll have to go halfway through the D Street file to reach 148 D St. The inventory form has a lengthy section about “Historical Associations” for the property—who-what-when stuff.

One of the early residents of that property was Thomas Jefferson Hampson, Jr., who was the owner of Hampson Bros. & Valdez, proprietors of the Boston Tea and Coffee Co. at 237 F St.

It just so happens that The Salida Archive also has a typescript of Mr. Hampson’s diary for a trip made from Salida, Sept. 9, 1894, to Velasco, Texas, Dec. 21, 1894. If you’ve ever traveled south from here through the San Luis Valley—“San Loui” to Mr. Hampson—you might enjoy taking the trip with them.

They left Salida at 5:45 a.m. (shocking to the diarist; all in a day’s work if you’re opening Cafe Dawn) and arrived at Poncha Junction at 7:15. They camped the first night at Round Hill on the other side of Poncha Pass.

The “States on Skates” skaters are doing better than that. They just passed 1500 miles in 44 days, an average of 34 miles per day. In the San Luis Valley, Mr. Hampson’s party had one 33-mile day, which may have been the longest of the trip, forced on them by the need for water.

They stayed one day in camp in Antonito endeavoring to learn the way to Santa Fe, as well as to have a forgotten Winchester rifle forwarded to them from La Jara, which cost them $1.90. Or about fifty-three bucks today.

After Tres Piedras, the party camped at “Collienthe Creek,” where today we might stop for a hot soak. The roads were sandy and rough. The “Mexicans” were “clever and friendly” and supplied them as needed. However, the group still seemed to take extra precautions to guard the horses and camp. No mention of the source of this motivation: fear, advice, personal experience, prudence camping near a town versus wild country?

They needed wagon repair more often than most cars between here and Santa Fe. And they took their toll on the rabbit population through the valley; there seemed to be daily notation of the number killed.

There’s a lot more to the trip, since they were heading to the Gulf coast. You can read it on the library’s Salida Archive website along with a host of other things. There’s a lot of history just in Historic Survey Inventory Forms.

I was happy to see that my own home on 4th St. has “Late Victorian” under Architectural Style. Others I looked at said “No style,” and I might have taken offense. Mr. Hampson’s location on F Street seems to be gone. Too bad. Boston Tea & Coffee had caught my attention, not that I’m discontented with our cafes, of course.


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