Thursday, December 29, 2011

picture perfect...

this photo looks like it could've been taken at the turn of the century...that's 1900, not 2000.  although in 1900 there would've been very little ground showing.  victor boasted a population of around 15,000.  hard to believe now with a population of around 500.  so many of the old buildings and houses are gone.  after the mining boom peaked and ebbed, many structures were abandoned and ravaged by years of neglect.  thankfully enough still remain intact to give a good representation of what the little mining town looked like back in the day.

i'm marking the days off on my calendar until we close on the olympia hotel.  i'm torn between wanting to stay to get started on it and going to arizona for 6 weeks to rest and soak up some sun.  but with the hectic schedule of 2011, my head tells me to go for the relaxation.  i'll be ready to tackle the project with renewed vim and vigor!

Monday, December 26, 2011

an original piece is coming home...

after receiving an ebay gift certificate for Christmas, i began looking for vintage victor colorado items.  to my surprise and delight i found this old c & h sugar barrel stamped victor colorado.  as i looked at it closer, i couldn't believe my eyes!  also stamped on it was purity steam of the earliest businesses that operated in our building, now home to marigold mercantile.

i was nervous all day, waiting for the auction to end and hoping against hope i wouldn't be outbid.  so with my strategy planned (and credit line ready to tap if necessary) i was determined it would return to it's original place of use.  joy oh is coming home!  i am a strong advocate that artifacts from the district should stay in the district.   let's just say it will be over my dead body that it leaves victor again!   and should the dead body scenario happen sooner than later...let it be known to all that this piece is to go to the lowell thomas museum.  so let it be written, so let it be done!

Friday, December 23, 2011

chipping away...

work is progressng on the office space in back of building.  although the process of chipping off plaster is slow, exposing the original brick wall underneath is turning out just like we were hoping for.  the evidence of a fire in years past is still evident on the cargo door that leads to storage area.  it will remain intact in an effort to keep the building as original as possible.  i can barely wait to have a real office again.  after packing up all our files into tubs when leaving IN and working off  my kitchen counter for the last 6 months, it's more than likely the barn red paint that's going on the floor won't be dry before i'm dragging my desk and file cabinets in!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

anxiously awaiting...

just 2 more weeks and we'll be closng on the olympia hotel and old plumbing shop next to it.  the olympia is one of the oldest, longest running hotels in co.  it has been shut down for several years, but our hopes are to have it up and running by gold rush days this coming july.  i immediately fell in love with it because it hasn't been 'updated'.  all the original woodwork, transoms, flooring, etc are intact.  it needs a good cleaning and painting and then the fun can begin.  oh, i guess i should mention it needs a new roof, new windows, brickwork repair, plumbing repair, electrical repair...minor details as i look through my rose colored glasses that i always wear when considering an historical property...i really should get those fixed!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

saying goodbye...

it is with great sadness that we say goodbye to terry's mom, carmelita rose akins.  after passing from injuries sustained in a fall 2 days ago, we want to honor her life by posting pictures of some of the happy times we've had together in recent years.  here she is, enjoying the arizona winter with us in tucson a couple years ago.  her specialty was mouth watering pies and with an abundance of fresh fruit available, there were pies on the table almost every evening for dessert.

she loved her family dearly.  here she is with great grandson, tristin.  she always had time for cuddling, squeezing and smooches.

and who else but a loving great gramma would endure the 'help' of little fingers?

terry always said she gave him the best hair cuts ever...her barber chair was always open...anywhere!

the sonoran desert museum was a favorite place to visit.  she really enjoyed the beauty of the desert and excaping the snow and cold temps of a missouri winter

great gramma rose has room on her lap for a tired little girl and grandpa terry still has energy to push everyone.

she was a devoted Christ follower and we are confident she is rejoicing in the presence of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  She used her God given gift of hospitality to the fullest, and we thank God for her faithful witness to her family and friends throughout her life. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

true shabby, no chic...

finally got our clothesline hung to display several clothing items that belonged to a victor resident from years gone by.  they are from the 30's and almost threadbare.  they depict how hard life must've been in this mining community at that time.  they have been lovingly patched in several places, several times, obviously trying to get a little more wear out of them.  the cotton fabrics are such 'homey' prints.  i could look at them for hrs, pondering what life must've been like for the woman who wore them.  i'm thankful to my friend, linnea, for rescuing them and passing them on to me to be displayed at marigold mercantile.  may they be a constant reminder of the blessings that abound around us...even in these hard times.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

big rig in a little alley...

almost missed getting photos of the last 'deposit' being made of the best of my 'junque' at the old antlers hotel in victor.  we traded a house for another commercial fixer upper.  this one will have to set for quite awhile as there's another hotel ahead of it on the to do list.  this building no longer functions as a hotel.  after a fire burned off the upper floor several years ago, only the ground floor remains.  it will be renovated into individual store fronts eventually.  the rv would barely fit down the alley, and we were promptly advised that we'd never make it out the other end, so it had to be backed out.  sure glad i wasn't driving!

boarded up windows on the antlers building.  the door to the right was the door going up to the hotel.  now it just has stairs to nowhere...maybe a roof deck someday? 

another photo found in an old book showing the door up to the hotel.  the window is cracked, words barely visible, but will be repaired as much as possible and reinstalled at some point in the future.

our love of old buildings will be the death of us.  just one request...bury me in victor's sunnyside cemetery with wire bedsprings around my grave!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

old doors...

i stumbled across some photos online taken by a photographer in 05 of interesting historical buildings.  to my surprise, two doors of our buildings were included.  

original gardner mercantile, 1899

olympia hotel, 1899

nothing is more exciting to me than chippy paint and historical buildings with great potential!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

show and tell...

does this qualify for steam punk?

it's actually what's left of the tire rim of the trailer my husband was pulling behind our motor home to bring the last load of our possessions from IN to CO.  it was 1 am and he had made it as far as co springs and felt a 'rumbling'.  thinking  it was a rough lane, he checked his right mirror and changed lanes.  the rumbling continued, so he checked his left mirror to pull back over and that's when he saw sparks and flames shooting out from under the trailer. 

after getting the rig pulled over, he saw he'd been dragging the trailer on the rim, tire gone, for who knows how long.  the steel belts from the tire had wrapped around the axle.  the jack broke from the weight of the trailer while trying to jack it up to change the tire.  thankfully a good samaritan stopped by with a heftier jack and he was able to get it changed and made it up the mountain, arriving about 4 am.

we're thinking we've used up all of our 'moving' grace.  God has spoken...this is your last move you crazy people!

Friday, November 25, 2011

higher ground cafe...

every now and then, i like to look through the picture files on my computer.  tonight i ran across these pictures from one of our many 'adventures'.  we can only laugh about it now.  it was several years ago and while out looking at a jobsite, we happened to stop in at a little cafe on a lake in 'zimmyville'.  after ordering our breakfast, i got to looking around at all the filth and couldn't/wouldn't eat what i had ordered.  BUT...there was a for sale signed propped against the wall.  i did another take...hey, this place could be cute!  the next day we made an offer on it, owners!  that was the first of august and within 4 weeks the place was remodeled and open for business by labor day.  but wait...i don't like to cook!

entrance the mop bucket part of the decor? 

 yea, this is why i couldn't eat  my breakfast.  had this place EVER been health department inspected???

cafe entrance and counter after

here's our son in law, justin, looking way too happy about cleaning the greasy filth off of the fridge after being talked into joining this adventure with us.  ever heard the expression "grin and bear it"?

do these pants make my butt look big?

 akins excavating truck getting filled with unusable furnishings from the cafe. 

grill and vent hood before cleaning.  there's a little drawer on the left where the grease runs in...then you clean it out.  this one was totally packed with congealed grease, barely able to pull it out.  then we took the front of the stove off and i literally had to stick my arm back as far back as i could to pull out huge grease blobs.  cleaning the vent went much faster, i just got some carb cleaner from the shop, stuck my head up in the vent and went after it.  they both turned out spotless.  in fact, they were so clean, i wouldn't let anyone fry anything on the grill.  one morning a man came in wanting fried eggs.  he was promptly told we didn't fry eggs.  he was incredulous, saying, "you have eggs? have a grill?...why don't you have fried eggs?"  what was i thinking?

starting the renovations.  this stub wall would be rebuilt as a solid wall to conceal kitchen / prep area

slightly different angle, but this is the rebuilt solid wall
dining area before

dining area after

front dining area before

front dining area after

and now the hoosier cabinet has made it's way to marigold mercantile in victor, co.  still full of amish specialty foods.  wow, what a journey for all of us!

lesson learned?  don't step out of your comfort zone in business...i should've stopped with the renovation!  after lasting a whole 6 weeks, we locked the door and put the building up for sale.  if you're ever in the area of baldwin lake in union, michigan, stop in at george cafe...they like to cook.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

a walking tour...

you are here...victor co.  on a recent trip back to IN, i found these letter tiles and had to have them for my store.  they are available at the following website:   take a look!  during my open house, they got knocked off the counter and the v came up missing.  so for several days, it was ictor.  then gertrude from the german bakery came in with the v.  she had been standing by the letters when they fell and the v went in her big coat pocket...mystery solved.

as i was walking up the street to the bakery, i had to take a picture of one of my favorite buildings in victor, the fortune club.  just across the street on the other corner is the monarch hotel.  after being empty for several years, it has just sold and i can't wait to see it get the attention it deserves.

i had to add a picture of my mom's felted wool ornaments she makes by hand.  so many little details and wonderful knubby wool fabric.  each one is truly a one of a kind.  now she's working on donkeys and penguins...i'll be anxious to receive a new shipment from's always like Christmas!

check back soon as i'll be posting pictures of our newest, next adventure...our own hotel! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

this girl loves to pose...

meet linnea coworker/co junkie.  she couldn't resist posing for the camera at the store grand opening last week.  notice the striking resemblance in stature to the christmas lady in next photo.

i found this cute little artsy piece at a local thrift store and was immediately reminded of linneas photo from the open house. 

and here she is at age 16...posing way back then.  but the interesting thing is her surroundings...a garden of marigolds!  we think it was Providential that we would one day end up 'playing' together at Marigold Mercantile.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

aisles are made for dancing...

awe, get a room!  well, with the great music provided by local musician, greg brazill, at the store grand opening, these two just couldn't resist a little two steppin' right in the aisle.  my good friends, kathy and jimmy justice never miss a chance to cut a rug.  jimmy is the caretaker at the most beautiful lake i've ever seen.  bison lake...where i caught my first fish ever, and it was a whopper!  kathy makes pies that are off the chart good, particularly her apple crumb.  she recently made me one that i took home hot, right out of the oven.  there wasn't much left of the crumb topping by the time i got home...and it's only 3 blocks away.

the grand opening went very well.  i'm always more comfortable behind the scene, but somehow thought it might be socially unacceptable for me to go work in the backroom while it was going on.  i love talking to people one on one, but crowds make me nervous...always looking for the closest door to make a quick exit.  it must have something to do with being claustrophobic.  my husband says he's going to quit buying me tickets to events that involve going below ground, as i always bail on him.

my brother and sister in law snapped this picutre in cripple creek of donkeys that have the run of the town.  supposedly they're descendants of original burros from early mining days.  this picture reminds me of something my husband always tells people.  he says i'm a horse and he's a donkey...because a donkey knows when to quit and will sit right down when it's tired, but a horse will run itself right into the ground, not knowing when to stop.  he's right yet again. 

i'm so grateful for the help they gave me getting ready for open house (brother and wife, not the donkey).  particularly when i worked through the night and ended up having to sleep during the day.  someone had to open the store and they both stepped right in and handled it all.  i was so out of it when i woke up that evening that i couldn't figure out what day it was or what they were doing at my house.  seriously gotta cut out those all nighters! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

gold coin club...

after finding myself afoot one morning after fuel pump went out on my vehicle, i decided just to walk to the store...even though my neighbors graciously offered to take me (after all, it's all downhill).  it was a beautiful cold, crisp sunny day.  i always do a double take when i pass by the former Gold Coin Club.  although i haven't researched all it's history, i know it was a 'hopping' place at the turn of the century, providing an upscale gathering place for local miners. even Teddy Roosevelt paid a visit there during the labor wars.   after the decline of the mining industry, it was also used as a hospital.  now privately owned, it is a beautiful reminder of the glory days in victor, co when fortunes were made...and the search for gold. 

after pondering for weeks what i could use for price tags in the store out of the norm, i was down to the last week before i was to open.  time to start pricing, and no decision on tags yet!  then walking down an aisle of walmart, they they were...a roll of carnival tickets...perfect!  although it made a little more work by way of punching holes and stringing each tag, it was just what i wanted.  then it was a mad dash to get all the store items priced and tagged.  thanks to my mom who came to help for 2 weeks, everything was priced and ready to go on opening day.  what a trooper...82 years old and she can work circles around most young whipper snappers!

here she is showing one of the local women some vintage amish boy hats brought from IN.  the amish jams, salsas and pickles have been a great hit in the store.  check out for a complete list of products.  and if you ever pass through middlebury IN on US 20, look for the big red roof building and stop in for home made donuts and candy crunch.  we call it amish bite and you're hooked!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


during a trip back to IN for a short visit, i passed by our old house and was reminded of when we renovated this little barn at the back of our property for a young lady that God brought into our lives.  one day as we were trying to find a place for her to live, we both looked at each other about the same time and said..."hey...what about the barn!"  well, that's all it took and we were on our way.

here she is painting.  from the beginning to the end of the project, she rolled up her sleeves and jumped right into the mix of things...and we really know how to mix things up!

and she even got pretty good at swinging a sledge!

this is what we started with.  as i remember, the barn measured about 12 x 18...not counting loft.

i've seen the big guy break out a chain saw for some of our renovations...only a sawzall needed this time.

old loft out, ready to start putting it back together.

view of living area under new loft

view from loft, looking down at steps

bedroom end of loft.  there sets mr. bear, her constant companion.

this is the before area of where new bathroom went in...a little breezy!

bathroom after

before area where kitchen went in.

kitchen after

now we've all moved on, different towns, different states...but will remain life long friends.  she's an amazing young woman, wife and mother.  we'll always remember the teeny tiny barn house experience!