Citation
My Home at Present: Life in the Mine Boarding Houses in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Material Information

Title:
My Home at Present: Life in the Mine Boarding Houses in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Series Title:
My Home at Present: Life in the Mine Boarding Houses in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Creator:
Clements, Eric L.
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Publisher:
Center for Colorado and the West
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Record Information

Source Institution:
Auraria Library
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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My Home at Present: Life in the Mine Boarding Houses in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/my-home-present-life-mine-boarding-houses-san-juan-mountains-colorado[12/7/2015 3:20:56 PM] Home My Home at Present: Life in the Mine Boarding Houses in the San Juan Mountains, ColoradoMy Home at Present: Life in the Mine Boarding Houses in the San Juan Mountains, ColoradoSubmitted by CLEAVITT on 12-2-2014 08:43 PMAuthor: Mark A. Vendl, Duane A. Smith, and Karen A. Vendl Publishing: My Home at Present: Life in the Mine Boarding Houses in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado. By Mark A. Vendl, Duane A. Smith, and Karen A. Vendl. Lake City, CO: Western Reflections Publishing Company, 2013. Black-and-white photographs, references, appendices, index. 8 x 11. Hardcover. Reviewer: Eric L. Clements Reviewer Affiliation: Southeast Missouri State University In the Age of Kindle it is easy to forget that a book is more than the words it contains, that sometimes a book is a pleasant work of arta graceful amalgam of information and presentation. Mark and Karen Vendl, Duane Smith, and Western Reflections Publishing Company have produced such a book in My Home at Present: Life in the Mine Boarding Houses in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado Using eyewitness accounts, newspapers, business records, and census data, the authors explore life in the San Juan boardinghouse in its many facets, from daily routine to crises to high jinks. The first two chapters of the book set the scene, presenting life in the boardinghouse largely through the words of those who lived it. The book covers the era from the earliest mining settlement through World War II, but the authors focus on the years from 1880 to 1920. The third chapter uses census data from throughout the period to create a demographic understanding of the miners and boardinghouse workers residing in the boardinghouses of the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. Boardinghouse cooking rates the full fourth chapter by itself. The food served in mine boardinghouses was normally both plentiful and good. The fare inclined strongly toward a meat-and-potatoes diet necessary to keep hardworking men working hard, though desserts were also fondly recalled. The authors include more than one example of bad boardinghouse cooking being seen as just cause to put down tools and quit the mine en masse in protest. The nutritive value provided was most important, and the authors include frequent eyewitness accounts of food being wolfed down as fast as it could be served up. In such isolated, monotonous circumstances, however, food is also entertainment, often the most interesting thing that will happen that day. The fifth chapter discusses the dangers presented to mine boardinghouses, almost always made of wood, by avalanches and fires. The last chapter of the book looks at efforts to preserve, physically or photographically, the few San Juan boardinghouses extant. Each chapter of My Home at Present is followed by a section presenting large black-and-white photographs 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 AmericanWhile on the Dominguez-Escalante expedition in 1776, Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco drew the first map of Colorado.

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My Home at Present: Life in the Mine Boarding Houses in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/my-home-present-life-mine-boarding-houses-san-juan-mountains-colorado[12/7/2015 3:20:56 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us of the subjects the chapter discusses. The chapter on avalanches includes some sobering images of the demolitions and casualties inflicted by some of the San Juans notorious snowslides. Besides its numerous photographs, beautifully reproduced on heavy, glossy stock, the book features elevations and plans for the Smuggler-Union boardinghouse, includes copies of several documents, and contains a map of the San Juans showing the locations of the mine boardinghouses discussed in the text. The book also has two appendices. The first offers summaries of census data from Ouray, San Juan, and San Miguel counties for the period from 1880 to 1940, using the 1885 state census in place of the lost 1890 national one. The second appendix contains lists of provisions for the Atlas mill and Atlas mine boardinghouses, near Ouray, in 1920. The book contains references but not notes. Instead, it uses parenthetical citation after each of the numerous quotes, which somewhat distracts from the narrative. Since the authors carefully provide the context for each of the many and often extensive quotes used, endnotes would have served as well for citation and been less intrusive. The mine boardinghouse was essential to the success, even the existence, of mining operations in isolated areas of the rugged San Juan Mountains in the era before personal transportation. Part absorbing history, part elegant photographic evocation of the past, part affectionate photographic documentation of the present, the Vendls and Smith have created an important and appealing contribution to the history of the Silver San Juans with My Home at Present Reviewer Info: Eric L. Clements, who grew up in Colorado, is a professor of history at Southeast Missouri State University. He specializes in the history of the American West, with interests in resource extraction, transportation, and historic preservation. He also edits the Mining History Journal the annual publication of the Mining History Association.