Jefferson County, Colorado: A Unique & Eventful History | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/jefferson-county-colorado-unique-eventful-history[12/8/2015 12:59:50 PM] Home Jefferson County, Colorado: A Unique & Eventful HistoryJefferson County, Colorado: A Unique & Eventful HistorySubmitted by jainlayconley on 2-22-2010 10:29 PMAuthor: Carole Lomond et al Publishing: Golden, CO: Views Publishing Company, 2009. 644 pages. Color photos, maps, index. 8-1/2 x 11. $39.95 paperback. Reviewer: Phil Goodstein Historians generally look down on vanity booksvolumes that feature people who have paid to be listed in chronologies of local areas. Yet, such works are often all that survive about small towns, counties, and institutions. Even such seminal works as Jerome Smileys History of Denver and LeRoy Hafens Colorado and Its People are filled with biographical sketches of individuals who subscribed to and helped underwrite the tomes. Often, the biographical information in such compilations is the only available source for individuals otherwise forgotten by time. Commercialism, of course, is often extremely crass. It sometimes leads to eliminating uncomfortable controversies while being nothing more than a booster account of the status quo. It provides readers with no guidance why considerable segments of the population vehemently opposed projects sponsors of such books have promoted. Such histories are usually more public relations than examinations of the people, places, institutions, and forces that have shaped the present. During the past generation, Jefferson County has surged to equaling Denver as the most populous section of the Centennial State. In the process, locals have produced some excellent studies of the area, such as Pat Wilcoxs 1976 anthology, Seventy-Six Centennial Stories of Lakewood and the Arvada Historical Societys trilogy on that pioneer community. In 1962, Jefferson County Bank issued a good basic overview of the area by Sara E. Robbins, Jefferson County, Colorado: The Colorful Past of a Great Community Added to this is From Scratch: A History of Jefferson County, Colorado compiled by the Jefferson County Historical Commission in 1985. Numerous pamphlets and guides exist on such places as Evergreen, Edgewater, and Golden. Histories of other counties have also proliferated since the beginning of the new millennium, many of which have been commercial ventures. They do not, however, have blatant advertising. The last is most visible in Jefferson County, Colorado : A Unique & Eventful History! by Carole Lomond and associates. A thick, well-illustrated, coffee-table-sized volume, it reflects the multitude of the area and the problematic nature of public relations parading as history. With glaring advertisements scattered through its pages, it reads more like a glossy magazine than a serious pursuit of the past and present. Even so, it is much to be preferred to supposedly serious volumes that have paid advertisements in the text in the guise of being objective histories of firms such as are found in Tom Noels Mile High City: An Illustrated History of Denver Lomond is a Jefferson County functionary, being the founding editor and publisher of the countys City and EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanWithin Colorado boundaries are lands once claimed by Spanish kings and Mexican governors.
Jefferson County, Colorado: A Unique & Eventful History | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/jefferson-county-colorado-unique-eventful-history[12/8/2015 12:59:50 PM] Mountain Views a magazine. She describes herself as additionally being the publications janitor, advertising sales, and public relations staff. Unfortunately, she has a horrid writing style. In places, she is unable to keep exclamation points from dominating the text! Supposedly, they show how wonderful the area is! They also highlight how, in the absence of a good copy editor, the book unintentionally provides quite entertaining reading! The problematic text is apparent on the back cover where there is mention of the Territorial Capitol in 1859. In reflecting on the rather rowdy character of bars in Morrison in the 1980s, the book talks about how the community sought to attract a more gentile clientele (238). Apparently, Jews and Mormons were causing the commotion. In discussing the Lakewood Country Club, the book realizes that bankers are highly dubious members, calling them notorious (286). Missing from Jefferson County is a solid discussion of the origins of the county and how its boundaries were determined. While the study mentions the Taj Mahal as the modern seat of the county government, it fails to discuss how highly controversial the building was. Missing is a basic political analysis of Jefferson County. This is most unfortunate. In recent decades, the way Jefferson County has swung from a Democratic enclave to a Republican stronghold back to an area where Democrats have been most successful is a national model of the transformation of suburban politics. Nor are the facts in the volume always reliable. Typical is the discussion of Lakeside. On page 121, the reader learns that the shopping mall next to the amusement park was built in 1957 and torn down in 2008. Two pages later, the text states that the center opened in 1956 and was demolished in 2007. In referring to the landmark Jewish Consumptives Relief Society, the book drops the final s of Consumptives, continually referring to the sanitarium as the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society. Larry Varnell is celebrated as the author of Women of Consequence: The Colorado Womens Hall of Fame It was by his wife Jeanne whom the text ignores. Numerous other errors are scattered through the text. Often, the book is highly repetitive. Different sections refer to the same events and institutions. There are, for example, three separate sections on Rocky Flats, the countrys nuclear bomb processing center from 1951 to 1989. To her credit, Lomond mentions the controversies about the complex. On the heels of this is her best writing in the book when she lambastes corrupt and cowardly politicians who allowed for dangerous and polluting broadcast towers to be placed atop Lookout Mountain. Illustrations are at the heart of Jefferson County Many are outstanding. Unfortunately, there is no systematic listing of credits of them. Not all are well placed. For that matter, the layout of the book is extremely uneven with jumpy and most uneven columns. Some of the pictures, seeking to combine the past and present, produce a hoaky result. Efforts at rephotographing to compare the past to the present not only fail to align, but the use of color in the modern pictures distorts them vis--vis the archival prints. Cutlines are extremely inadequate. They often fail to specify exact locations or even identify many of the fascinating works of art that fill Jefferson County. A good bibliography is also lacking. Not only is the index uneven in quality, but it is not precisely in alphabetical order. Despite such problems, Jefferson County more or less accomplishes its purpose as a promotional, booster volume. With its endless references to 2009 as the end of history, it will quickly become dated. Nor will it be a book researchers will eagerly consult in the future. Still, it is illustrative of the contemporary flash of promotional history while offering enough names and locations to provide an uneven guide to the county recalling Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson County, Colorado: A Unique & Eventful History | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/jefferson-county-colorado-unique-eventful-history[12/8/2015 12:59:50 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us Reviewer Info: Phil Goodstein has written extensively on Colorados past and present. His works include the four-volume Denver from the Bottom Up looking at the region from the Pikes Peak gold rush through World War II, and Denver in Our Time a two-volume examination of the community from World War II into the twenty-first century. He frequently gives walking tours through the area. In the Naysayer, he comments on state and city politics. Add new comment