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MANCOS BUILDING GETS ITS 1905 GRANDEUR BACK 01/11/99 Charlie Mitchell's philosophy is to think like a banker. Mitchell stands on a pine floor in his building on the corner of Grand Avenue and Main Street. This building, one of the oldest, biggest and classiest still standing in Mancos, once housed a bank. Mitchell, owner of Western Excelsior Corp., is restoring the 93-year-old Bauer Bank building with few clues about how the building originally looked. Only a few photographs of the building exist, but they are in black-and-white and are of the buildings exterior. So Mitchell is taking his clues from other banks built at the turn of the century. Mitchell also has been digging deep into walls of the Bauer Bank and stripping layers of paint to find the original colors and the building materials. In days, the yearlong restoration project will be complete. Mitchell said it will look at least 95 percent the way it did in 1905. Mitchell bought the Bauer Bank building in 1994. It was shabby and neglected and had been vacant for seven years. A bank had repossessed the building in 1992. The bank hired someone to build a new roof, but the construction was never completed, and the building sat roofless for two years. The Bauer Bank was at the height of disrepair when Mitchell saw it. He knew little, if anything, about restoring historic buildings. He had bought and renovated five other buildings in Mancos, but none of them was historic. The Bauer building holds Mitchell's interest and pride, though. He has had a vision of how it should look. ``It's been a hobby of mine, watching it come back to life,'' he said. ``I bought it because it had a lot of class.'' Although Mitchell does not know how many people owned the building over the years, he knows it has been used as a post office, for apartments and as a dry goods store. A hardware and lumber store occupied the space from 1963 to 1987. Mitchell received a restoration grant for about one-fourth of the project cost from the Colorado State Historical Society. He would not say how much he bought the building for, or how much he is spending to restore it. Mitchell is proud that he has employed only local professionals and used locally made materials to restore the building. R. Michael Bell & Associates of Durango drew architectural plans and also wrote the grant application. Bell said Mitchell has done an awesome restoration job. ``He's a guy who did it just right,'' Bell said. ``He's a craftsman and was very careful. He's of the old school that you do things right.'' George Bauer, a native of Prussia, designed and helped build the bank in 1905. Historians believe Bauer's health deteriorated, and he went to Mexico for medical help. He died there before the building was finished. The Bauer Bank operated in it for 10 years. The building also housed a few professional offices on the second floor and a pool hall in the basement. The building sits on the north bank of the Mancos River. It is 11,000 square feet and is shaped like a trapezoid it has four walls, but only two are parallel. The top of the building is red brick; the bottom is sandstone. The roof is flat and slopes toward the river. Bauer was a stonemason who moved to Mancos in the 1870s. He built similarly styled buildings in Silverton, Telluride, Del Norte and Lake City. When he moved to Mancos, he opened a mercantile store and built buildings. The Bauer Bank at first was in a different building, but that was destroyed by a fire in 1881. Bauer later became a banker and the town's first mayor in 1894. His legacy still stands in the Bauer Bank building and in his mansion the Bauer House, an Italianate-style bed and breakfast owned by Bobbie Black. Both buildings are on the Colorado State Historic Register. Mitchell recycled most of the original wood. He has used less than 500 feet of new wood. He has used seven tons of plaster to rebuild the walls made of wood lath. There is not a square inch of sheet metal in the building, he said. Each room has original flues that still work. Mitchell cleaned them and installed cast-iron stoves with natural-gas fire logs for the heating system. He has installed period lighting, refurbished copper door handles and retained the interior design. The only additions Mitchell made are two bathrooms. ``They didn't have bathrooms in the buildings in 1905,'' Mitchell said while standing in the ladies room. ``Gotta have bathrooms.'' The bathrooms reflect the decor of the early century. Burgundy velvet drapes cover the bathroom stalls instead of doors. The chipped-glass windows have a delicate pattern. Fancy wallpaper border gives the room a regal feel. An antique vanity sits against a wall of the odd-shaped room. It belonged to Mitchell's mother. The small trash can is a tin tube with a wooden lid. Mitchell made it for his mother when he was a child. The hallway has an authentic feel. The sculpted wooden banisters show burn scars from cigarettes. They may be blemishes, he said, but they are authentic and add character. Mitchell found four pints of whiskey in one wall. In the basement he found an old, non-mechanical Coca Cola rack. He even found teeth. A dentist once had an office in the building. Apparently, when the dentist pulled patients' teeth, he put them through a slit in the wall usually reserved to discard razor blades. ``We pulled off the wall and a bunch of teeth fell out,'' Mitchell said. Mitchell has already rented four of the six office suites on the top floor. The Absolute Bakery and Cafe operates in the back of the building. Mitchell said he is looking for a renter for the main room, where the bank was, but he is picky. ``I don't want any rubber tomahawks in here,'' he said. Mitchell said he is committed to retaining the history in the building. He has hung original bank or business documents sent to or signed by Bauer on the walls. Mancos citizens and historians have been bringing them to Mitchell as mementos. He put his own time capsule in the building, and he also is putting the building into a 100-year trust so that it stays in his family's possession. The main room on the ground level is the last to be finished. Mitchell plans to paint and redo the lettering on the bank vault. It's one of the few pieces that has stayed in place and remained unchanged. Mitchell opened the thick, black metal doors using the combination lock. He peeked inside the empty, dusty room. ``See if you think your money was safe in this thing,'' he said. Bam. Kathunk. Click-click. Ziiip. He slammed the door, locked the handle and spun the combination lock. ``I'd think so,'' he said, and laughed. The tin ceiling in the main room is the only place in the building with exposed wood. Mitchell is waiting for only a few more pieces of decorative imprinted tin to arrive. After nailing the pieces into the wooden slats, Mitchell will paint the ceiling white. He said several people have suggested that he leave the tin its original silver color, but he won't. ``You gotta think like a banker did in 1905,'' he said. ``They really did things classy. There's no way George Bauer would not have painted his ceiling.''
HIGH TECHNOLOGY HELPS PRESERVE HEIRLOOMS 01/11/99 03:03PM Somewhere in that dusty attic, damp basement or chilly garage are boxes of precious photographs, paintings, family papers, baby books, christening gowns and home movies tucked away for safekeeping. You might think your heirlooms are fine where they are. The boxes are taped up, the kids can't get to them, they're not exposed to sunlight. But Leah Davis Witherow, archivist at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, knows better. She shudders when she recalls the times she has descended into old basements and found boxes of mementos ruined by dampness, mice and bugs. By the time they're discovered, the damage is irreversible. ``They are the link to your family's past your family memory. When people are gone, papers and photos live to tell the story, and every family has a unique story,'' says Witherow. In a new year, why not make a resolution to preserve your heirlooms for generations to come? Modern technology has provided improved means of preserving, restoring, converting and properly displaying or storing these irreplaceable items. Video production companies can transfer home movies and slides to video. Photo restoration businesses use computers to fix damaged snapshots. And CD-ROMs have become the newest method for storing photos, film and family documents. Tom Brandt of Colorado Springs started a CD-ROM storage business, Disc-It, because of his own concern about his family photos. ``If there was a fire or flood, or something of that nature, everything would be gone,'' he says. Putting copies on a CD gives those heirlooms a life of at least another 100 years, and several copies can be made to share with other family members, or stored in a safe deposit box. Here are some suggestions from the experts for restoring and preserving family mementos. Photos: Most photos are damaged by water or humidity, or from curling when stored in boxes. People often roll up long, panoramic pictures of military reunions or school graduations, says Richard Stites, owner of Restored Images, who has been salvaging damaged photos for more than 30 years. Take damaged photos to a professional restoration service. If pictures are framed under glass, clean the glass with a damp cloth or paper towel. Do not spray cleaner on the glass, because it will run down to the bottom of the frame, seep under the glass and damage the picture. Do not stack weights on a picture to flatten it if it has curled. A dry, brittle picture will crack. Do not store pictures with newspaper clippings. In high-humidity areas, newsprint can stain the picture. Along the same lines, don't mount pictures opposite clippings in a scrapbook so that they touch when the album is closed. Encase pictures in plastics like mylar, Melinex or Estar, found at photo or hobby stores. Plastics that contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride) break down into hydrochloric acid, which can cause damage. It is important to record photo subjects because years later there may be no one around to identify the people, place, time and occasion. However, don't write on the face of the picture, or use a ball point pen. Use a soft graphite pencil on the back or attach an acid-free label to the back and write on that. Color pictures will fade under ultraviolet light. Never hang them in direct sunlight or under fluorescent lights. Use ultraviolet-inhibiting glass when framing. Wash hands before handling photographs because oil and salts on skin can damage the photos over time. Do not do anything to photos that is irreversible, such as mounting them with tape or glue, or laminating them. Transferring home movies and photographs to video and CD-ROM: Those old 8mm, Super 8 and 16mm home movies are good candidates for deterioration: dampness can attack and ruin the emulsion on film. To avoid that consequence, store the film and negatives in a cool dry place. Even if you've taken good care of your home movies, however, the chances of viewing them are becoming slimmer because projectors no longer are manufactured. ``It's passe as far as recording home memories,'' says Sam Kelley of Pinetree Video Production, who has been transferring reels of home movies and boxes of slides onto videos for six years. The answer is to transfer home movies to video or CD-ROM. Before getting films transferred, check the boxes or canisters for dates to help make a record of the film and put them in proper chronological order. Many films were mailed to Kodak for processing, and postmarks on the box can give a clue to its date. Get an older family member to view the film or video with you to help identify the people and places on it. Film can cost 10-12 cents a foot to transfer to video but can be edited first to select the best segments. Music and sound can be added for an extra charge. A video can hold as much as 400 feet of home movies. A CD can hold an average of 100 to 150 still pictures but little more than 15 minutes of video or film. Computer technology that allows pictures to be scanned onto disc is relatively new and time-consuming, and it can be expensive, depending on the job. Professional costs range from $300 to $1,000. Transfer to CD can be done at home with a computer, scanner and other equipment but may be of lesser quality, depending on the equipment used. Videos and CDs should be stored upright in a cool, dry place. Books, clothing, textiles and art: Always wash hands before handling or use cotton gloves. Wrap books and clothing in acid-free tissue and store in a dry place with a fairly constant temperature. Keep all items books, clothing and art free of dust, which is abrasive. A buildup of dust also can attract humidity. Make sure clothing and textiles are clean before storing them; bugs are attracted to dirt. Do not starch linens, because it also attracts insects. Check stored items every six months or so to make sure they are safe from bugs and deterioration. Drycleaning is not recommended for vintage textiles. Some items may be too fragile to clean; consult an expert first. Do not expose books or clothing to direct sunlight. Store up off the floor in a room where the humidity and temperature are fairly constant. Do not store books near old furniture or carpets, which often attract bugs that will migrate to the papers and books. Leather, like paper, is organic in origin and will begin to deteriorate over time. If leather-bound books are kept on wooden shelves, line the shelf with an acid-free paper, because wood is very acidic and will affect the books. Never remove a book from a shelf by grabbing the top of the spine and pulling. Reach back and gently slide it out by touching the pages. Wrap family Bibles in acid-free tissue paper and store flat. Old family portraits on canvas or wood should be cleaned or repaired by a professional in art restoration. Do not hang artwork in direct sunlight or in rooms where the temperature and humidity fluctuate. Also avoid hanging artwork over a fireplace, where it will be exposed to soot and smoke.
AUSTIN HISTORY BUFF HONORS BIGFOOT WALLACE 01/11/99 So who the heck was that old man with the great white beard, named Bigfoot Wallace, and what was his picture doing on the obituary page of the Austin American-Statesman on Thursday, 100 years to the day after his death? Bigfoot Wallace is a Texas legend, and his picture was on the obituary page because Sloan Rogers paid $72 to put it there. ``He was so many things,'' Rogers said. ``He was a tracker, an Indian fighter, a Texas Ranger; he fought in the Mexican War; he drove a stagecoach between San Antonio and El Paso and was attacked numerous times by Apaches and Comanches and desperados. He came here in 1839 to help build the Capitol. But there's not one street named after him, no schools, no parks, and I think that's kind of sad.'' Rogers is a 34-year-old security guard who lives in South Austin. He grew up near Mount Bonnell, on which he and his friends would spend their days scrambling about. You don't grow up playing on Mount Bonnell without hearing of Bigfoot Wallace. There is, for example, the oft-told tale of how Wallace came down with cholera, or typhoid or some other malady that caused him to lose his hair. Unwilling to face his betrothed in such condition, he moved into a cave on the mount, treating his scalp with bear grease to restore his bushy growth. Before that could happen, though, a friend brought news that Bigfoot's beloved had married another. Whereupon he reportedly proclaimed: ``I'm glad she's gone. Any woman who wouldn't wait for a man's hair to grow out, I don't want.'' His hair did grow back, but he never married. Fueled by that early interest, Rogers began reading about Wallace: a children's book, a couple of contemporary biographies. But it wasn't until he discovered the Wallace archive in the Barker Texas History Collections, where his mother worked, on the University of Texas campus, that his study really caught fire. ``Before, it was just kind of a passing fancy, but the Barker Center just blew me away,'' he said. ``Everything in the books kind of paled by comparison to what's there. They've got a large collection donated by his family in Virginia, letters from his family and from him, photos and a leather suit that belonged to him. The torso part has the original sinew that held everything together, like the Indians used. What you get from the archives is so much more than in the books; it fleshes him out really well.'' William Alexander Anderson Wallace was born in Virginia in 1817. He came to Texas to avenge the deaths of his brother and a cousin who had been killed in the Goliad Massacre during the Texas Revolution. But by the time he got here, that war was over. He farmed some around La Grange and came to Austin in 1839 or 1840 to work on construction of the new Capitol of the Republic of Texas. Though he always signed his letters ``W.A.A. Wallace,'' it was here he got the name by which history knows him. Wallace, descended from Scottish Highlanders William ``Braveheart'' Wallace and Robert Bruce, was a big man at 6 feet 2 and 240 pounds. But it wasn't his own feet whence came the nickname. There are several versions of how it happened, but Rogers thinks the best evidence shows that an Indian ``who was really just a nuisance he killed a few people'' had been prowling around the home of one Gravis, who tracked the large footprints to Wallace's cabin at what is now 10th and Rio Grande streets. Gravis accused Wallace of being the prowler, and to prove that he wasn't, Wallace placed his own feet in the prints, which were clearly larger. Amused by this, Wallace's friend and cabin-mate William Fox announced that he believed he would just call Wallace Bigfoot from then on. He did and it stuck. Wallace lived in Austin for three years hunting, logging, digging water wells and then moved to San Antonio. He was part of the ill-fated Mier Expedition into Mexico. The soldiers were captured by the Mexican army, and some of the prisoners were executed, chosen by lot. Wallace drew a white rather than a now-notorious black bean, saving himself from death, but he spent 19 months in Perote Prison. He joined the Texas Rangers and fought with them in the U.S.-Mexican War. As a Ranger captain after the war, he commanded a company of his own, fighting Indians and border bandits. His tracking skills were renowned. For eight years he drove a mail coach more than 500 miles each way between San Antonio and El Paso. During the Civil War, he helped guard Texas' western frontier against the Comanches. His later years were spent in Frio County, where there is a small museum of his life and exploits, at Bigfoot, about 30 miles southwest of San Antonio. Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie wrote of him: ``He summed up in himself all the frontiers of the Southwest. His picturesqueness, humor, vitality and representativeness of old-timey free days, free ways and free land have broken down the literalness of every writer who has treated of him.'' And of him, Sloan Rogers does not aspire to treat. ``If I could write a book about Bigfoot, I would. But I'm not really the writer type,'' he said. It's just that Wallace was a famous man in his day, and he's not so well-known anymore. ``He's just been overshadowed in this age of what people consider heroes: Michael Jordan, movie stars,'' Rogers said. So when he paid to put Bigfoot Wallace's picture in the paper on the 100th anniversary of his death, said Rogers, ``I was just trying to do my little part to give him some of the notoriety he used to have.''
GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL LATEST BID TO PRESERVE SPUR CROSS RANCH 01/12/99 04:47AM Gov. Jane Hull's proposal to spend $2.5 million in state money to help preserve Spur Cross Ranch is just the latest plan to preserve the 2,200-acre parcel near Cave Creek. Dotted with American Indian ruins and home to the only stream that runs year-round in Maricopa County, Spur Cross Ranch is ``part of the magic of Arizona,'' Mrs. Hull says. The ranch was once at the center of a complicated land-swap proposal that would make it part of the Tonto National Forest. In exchange, developers could build homes on 3,000 acres of national forest land near Scottsdale. But that deal fell through last year amid squabbling over the costs of the deal and whether it was a fair trade. Developer John Lang had said he planned to build luxury homes and a golf course on the Spur Cross parcel, which Cave Creek Mayor Tom Augherton has said has an estimated worth of between $8 million and $40 million. Now, Mrs. Hull says state and Maricopa County officials are negotiating with the land's owners to buy and preserve Spur Cross Ranch while allowing some public access. ``Very frankly, if it's not preserved it's going to have homes all over it,'' Mrs. Hull told reporters Monday.
AGREEMENT REACHED IN BIGGEST LAND ACQUISITION IN CALIFORNIA HISTORY 01/12/99 A nonprofit conservation group has brokered a tentative $54.6 million deal to buy 437,000 acres of privately owned Southern California desert land, the biggest land acquisition in state history. A non-binding letter of intent was signed Monday by Wildlands Conservancy, the Bureau of Land Management and San Francisco-based Catellus Development Corp., which owns the land in Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve. As part of the preliminary agreement, Wildlands Conservancy will donate $18.6 million. The environmental group is seeking congressional approval for the remaining $36 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Yucaipa-based group also will buy another 20,000 acres from property owners with holdings inside the boundaries of Joshua Tree. It also will eventually link the land between Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve with a wildlife corridor. Transfer of the land would occur by January 2000. ``The historic agreement reached today could not only bring half a million acres of private inholdings into public ownership, but also ensure the permanent integrity of much of the wilderness, parks, critical wildlife habitat and recreation areas of the California desert,'' said Ed Hastey of the Bureau of Land Management. Catellus, formerly Southern Pacific Railroad, is the largest private owner of California desert real estate. The company has publicly declared its intention to develop or sell its vast desert holdings.
http://www.phillynews.com:80/dailynews/99/Jan/13/local/FLAG13.htm FBI agents recovered a lost piece of African-American history in Philadelphia this week, the battle flag of one of the first black Army units to fight against the South in the Civil War. The flag had been missing for more than 20 years. Adealer in Civil War historical artifacts tied to sell it to an undercover FBI agent for $29,136. Charles Wilhite, 53, of Shawnee Mission, Kan., was charged with knowingly taking a stolen object of cultural heritage across state lines..
http://www.news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid254000/254602.stm A little lizard may have revealed one of the mysteries of how humans spread around the world. After studying its genetics, a scientist in Australia thinks he can now explain how people colonised the islands of the Pacific. Christopher Austin studied the mitochondrial DNA of the Lipinia noctua lizard. Mitochondrial DNA is passed down virtually unchanged from mother to child. It mutates at a steady rate and therefore provides a useful evolutionary clock that allows scientists to track genetic lineage. "The extreme genetic similarity between the different colonies indicates rapid colonisation from a single source, which I take as support of the express-train hypothesis," Austin says in the science journal Nature. "Although they are geographically part of Micronesia, the people of Kapingamarangi Atoll are Polynesian in origin. The L. noctua from there are also of the central/eastern clade, which strengthens the association between L. noctua and human colonisation," he adds.