Saturday, December 9, 2006
Santa and Reindeers on Main Street
It was a gorgeous day, blue skies, sun, 66 degrees F., and Santa Claus making his list and getting his photo taken by proud parents. I took my foster granddaughter, Amber, to see the reindeer and ponies. There was a herd of seven reindeers from the Top Rail Ranch in Penrose in a pen at the local bank parking lot, which opens off Main Street. They are smaller than I realized and some had very large antlers, these were the females, there were only two young males. They are very tame and unafraid of even crowds of people. I was entranced by them, but then, I think camels are cute.
Santa's helpers were taking people on rides in a small decorated wagon pulled by two ponies, Biscuit and Gravy. I didn't care to try to climb up on the wagon but Amber enjoyed a ride around the block. That mansion behind the wagon was the home of the founder of Florence. For many years it has been a mortuary since Mr. McCandless didn't need it any longer. He named the town for one of his daughters.
We were lucky to find a parking spot in the parking lot. Main Street and the side streets were parked solid, I hope people were doing lots of Christmas shopping at the antique stores and art galleries. These are the kind of activities that make it fun to live in a small town that is an antique shopping mecca.
The picturesque commercial buildings along Main Street, that are now filled with antique shops and art galleries, were built at the turn of the Twentieth Century with the wealth of the gold from Cripple Creek, on the flank of Pikes Peak. The Florence and Cripple Creek RR carried the ore to be processed in several mills in Florence. There was also an active oil field and two refineries here, and numerous coal mines. Now Florence has antiques and art, Cripple Creek has legalized gambling and the old RR bed is a tourist scenic road through the Phantom Canyon. It's a tough life, but someone has to live here. We love company so you are all invited to stop by.