By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
But don't try to pull anything funny. Back in the flood of '65, Surplus had a surplus of water and looters, and management has learned its lesson. "Shoplifters will be merrily beaten to a bloody pulp," announces one of the many signs over the crowded aisles of glorious stuff.
Rob Haider, a thirty-year employee, says Surplus does a raging business during the National Western Stock Show, when ranchers come searching for tools nobody else carries anymore. The store does a brisk trade in certain metals, now that prices have gone through the troposphere, and has become a not-so-secret source for sculptors and mixed-media, found-object visionaries up and down the Platte.
"We get a lot of artists looking for strange things," Haider says. "We get people from Oklahoma, Nebraska — all over, really."
The place even gets people from the Home Depot a few blocks away. The big-box stores may be shuttering mom-and-pop hardware joints elsewhere, but the staff at this big box know where to send folks who are looking for a hard-to-find fitting, accessory or tool. That's a source of consolation to Melody Cox, wife of the late founder's grandson. A couple of years ago, Cox tried to throw a party to celebrate the store's sixtieth anniversary but couldn't get the local media to cover it.
"I tried to get the newspapers and TV to come out, but they wouldn't come," she says. "Yet they go to Home Depot."
Yeah, but try to find a grenade at Home Depot. — Alan Prendergast
430 South Quebec Street
If you want to see a who's who of Coloradans, stop by Fairmount Cemetery.
Everyone is here, celebrating an eternal coming-out party. Governors Henry Buchtel and Ralph Carr. Mayors Quigg Newton and Robert Speer. Tycoons David Moffatt and Horace Tabor and leading ladies like Elitch Gardens founder Mary Elitch Long and famed madam Mattie Silks. There are even a few villains, such as Sand Creek Massacre instigator General John Chivington and Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon John Locke. And many are trying to show one another up with gravestones, monuments and mausoleums of ever more pretentious opulence.
"You can definitely tell people's egos," says Barri Boren, former executive director of the Fairmount Heritage Foundation, the cemetery's historic preservation organization, as she strolls down the cemetery's "Millionaire's Row."
Yes, agrees her companion and successor Patricia Carmody, one week into the job, though she adds, "Death is such an equator. Everyone went out the same way." The rich and famous might have gotten dolled up for the big party at Fairmount, the city's premier resting place since it opened in 1890, but this was one club that everyone was invited to, as evidenced by the grave markers: some big, some small, adorned with everything from Native American symbols to Chinese lettering.
With a nice breeze blowing through the cemetery's lush 270 acres and 4,800 trees, the mood here is far from funereal. It's always like that at Fairmount, which has long doubled as one of the region's nicest parks. When it first opened, Denverites would make a day trip of the five and a half miles to the cemetery to picnic and frolic in the oasis of green in the otherwise empty prairie.
They also came to enjoy the sculpture. "It's like an art museum," says Carmody, pointing out the statuary of good Samaritans and angels, and admiring obelisks and classically proportioned Greek temples. They're on the lookout for tree-trunk tombstones, a sign the deceased was a member of the Woodmen of the World fraternal group, as well as stone lambs, moving symbols of infant burials.
Boren's worked at Fairmount for years: "As I got in there and learned all the history, it just kind of grabs you." Carmody, a nonprofit expert, has never worked in a cemetery, but she's excited — the 170,000 underground residents notwithstanding. "I don't need to hang around the bodies, but I'm not apprehensive about it at all."
They're planning to spread the word with a Colorado Day jazz concert on August 1 at 8 p.m. in celebration of the State of Colorado's 132nd anniversary. It will be just like old times: music and picnickers among the gravestones.
The two women are quick to add that Fairmount's a fun place to visit any time of the year, for biking, bird-watching or (deceased) people-watching. Not only that, points out Boren, but the cemetery's meandering lanes are perfect for teaching teenagers how to drive.
With everybody already six feet under, she points out, "You can't kill anybody." — Joel Warner
Town Center at Aurora
14200 East Alameda Avenue, Aurora
There's a fine difference between lounging and loitering. And at this mall, the mere whiff of loitering — particularly if it's coming from a young black male with a penchant for hip-hop wear — brings with it an increase in the high-pitched whirring sound of patrolling mall cops on Segways.
Cousins Dawan, Devon, Jaciani and Jake, on the other hand, have mastered the subtle art of the lounge. In the end, it all comes down to style. Maybe it's the particular pitch of their lean, hanging out around a bench on the second level, or the playful banter they maintain with each other and female passersby.