Walter E. Dandy Letter 07/02/07

Los Angeles, California

July 2, 1907

Dear Mother and Father,

I have a little off time at last and will drop you a few lines. I don't believe I have written you a letter since I arrived in Denver. I have been busy taking in all kinds of sights since then and my time has been extremely limited. Well I will have to be rather brief. So much has passed since then and such little time to tell it. I'll have to keep most of it till I come home and then I'll never be able to tell you a fraction of it. I haven't even had time to keep a diary and I carry the book around with me all the time.

Well leaving Denver it is but 75 miles to Colorado Springs, a very pretty little town of about 25,000 population. Everything clean, broad streets and new by millionaires although they are very unpretentious. You could never tell it by their houses, nothing elegant, mostly neat and cozy. There is not a saloon in the town. It is quite a change from busy Denver. At Denver all is brick, at C.S. everything is wooden.

I had a nice room at the Y.M.C.A. building. The first day I took in the town and went to North and South Cheyenne canyons and the famed Seven Falls which fall down from the mountain, their descent being broken seven times, hence their name. From there went through a very nice park, very nicely kept, and fixed up, everything still result of irrigation.

The second day went over the scenic Cripple Creek then to the mining camps of Victor, Independence, Cripple Creek, etc. It was a grand ride through and over the mountains, a very steady but steep grade all the way. In places we would wind around a mountain 2 or 3 times to gain its summit. then pass over to another still higher, etc. Passed through 16 tunnels. It was grand scenery all the way. We could look down on towns which would appear as mere specks we were so high above them. To give you an idea of the height we were, we encountered a snow storm going and coming 10 miles from Cripple Creek. The line begins to descend to reach the mining towns situated in a little valley about 6 miles apart. Here is where they had so much trouble during the strike and where Myers and Haywood were accused of murder. Everything is non-union now.

Well the next day I went to Marilou [?] which lies at the foot of Pike's Peak and about 10 miles from Colorado Springs on an electric line. I intended taking in Pike's Peak that day but it was cloudy and we couldn't see the peak, so I postponed it till next day. There are several kinds of mineral water here, iron, also soda and sulphur all free (unusual for Colorado).

The next and last day in the Springs, went up Pike's Peak by the cog road in the morning, 14,147 feet high or about 3 miles ascent, took two hours and descent same. After crossing timber line, it became bitter cold, colder the higher up. I used both sweaters and didn't have half enough. There was plenty of snow all around and laborers were cleaning the track so the train could pass. It was colder than any Missouri winter day. We kept warm by a fire at the summit.…

By the way we went into a Cripple Creek gold mine in a 4,000 foot tunnel and watched them mine. They certainly deserve what little they make.

Well the afternoon of that day I took in the Garden of the Gods where the images carved by nature are supposed to resemble some forms in appearance such as frogs, mushrooms, kissing camels, etc. They are certainly very peculiar, but the whole garden does not come up to expectations from the fame it has reached over the country.

Also took in a wonderful cave, called the Cave of the Winds, which was very beautiful. Saw many stalactites and stalagmites, etc. Passed through beautiful Williams Canyon en route. It is probably the most beautiful of all the canyons. Along the walls we could see the carvings of the ancient cliff dwellers, etc.

The next day, Sunday, left for Pueblo for an hour and a half between trains. It's a dirty, disagreeable old town as different from above Colorado cities as night is from day.

Leaving there the train consisting of 13 cars was jammed full. 30 miles out of Pueblo they put on an observatory car, which has no roof but entirely open. I made a break for it and got a good seat while the others were struggling down the isle in the train awaiting their turn.

We passed through a gorge and hanging bridge, a sight I shall never forget, a space not wide enough for both the river and the train, hence the engineering feat necessary to accommodate the latter without disturbing the former. Wall of solid quartz and granite extending straight upward for 2,000 feet, the distance between walls at top being not much greater than at bottom. The scenery was grand all that day and up till midnight. So much so that I remained gazing out of the window on first one side then the other until the next day began to creep in, then I finally had to give up and go to sleep. It was certainly magnificent scenery all the way, high mountains on each side and always (nearly) a stream between (we following the canyon). The streams were as pretty as the mountains were terrible. They were clear and crystal (for most part later in day where mining had not polluted the water) and rushing madly down the steep path, dashing against the rocks, making a seething mass. Every now and then some falls would come dashing down the side of the mountains and rush into the river.

Next morning we had crossed the continental divide and were again in a desert of Utah. About noon we crossed another range of mountains. The descent was as slow as the ascent.

Every 5 or 6 miles there were safety switches. The engineer had to stop his train as these switches are turned against him and if he loses control, the train is dashed up the side of the mountain.

Another remarkable thing is the motive power required to haul trains over the steep grades. They have a big engine for every 8 to 10 cars and for every 4 or 5 passenger cars and then they can barely move.

After passing this range of mountains we passed through some more descent, then into the beautiful and green Salt Lake Valley, as level as the prairie, mountains on the right and Great Salt Lake on the left. It was very pretty, trees, mainly poplar, growing all through valley and all kinds of farming going on, everything of course through irrigation. Early in the afternoon we reached Salt Lake City. After getting a room and having dinner went to salt air beach 25 miles from the city and took a swim in the lake. It was fine but I couldn't help but stay on top. The water was so heavy it's impossible to sink. There are all kinds of amusements all built out in the lake.

The blocks in Salt Lake City are 2½ Sedalia blocks long or 7 blocks to the mile. It is a very nice little city about 60,000 and growing very fast. It is a mistake that everything is Mormon. All denominations are represented. Probably the Mormons are more numerous than any other one denomination but not more than all.

Went through the tabernacle which is a wonderful structure, built so as to seat 8,000 people. Not a nail was used in its construction. Its acoustic properties are marvelous. Standing at back of room 200 feet from front one can hear a pin dropped in front as plainly as if 2 feet from it. It is so constructed that if there should be a fire and the house were full, the building could be emptied in 3 minutes. It contains the 2nd largest organ in the world and the sweetest toned one it is said, although I did not hear it. What makes the organ and tabernacle more remarkable is the fact that both were constructed by men who had had absolutely no training in building of any kind. The organ was built by a man who had never built an organ before and the building by a man who had had absolutely no training in architecture and building of any kind.

Left Salt Lake City early Tuesday afternoon for Ogden where we arrived 1 hour late. The end of the scenic D.&R.G. road and the beginning of the Southern Pacific. As I am getting sleepy and have so much more to write I will postpone later accounts until some future time. The rest is the best but my vocabulary is entirely inadequate to give it even partial justice.

Received your card all right at Salt Lake, Frisco and here. The one at Salt Lake was of the latest date, the others being rather old when I got them. You can drop me a letter to Seattle when you get this.

I don't know just when I will leave here. I am not going to hurry, its too fine to pass by hurriedly. It's the greatest and most beautiful of all I have ever seen.

Hoping you are all well and enjoying yourselves, I remain the same.

Your loving son, Walter