Food, What’s Online, and Better Life through Electricity

March 30, 2020

Coronavirus Update

Public Health References
CDC * Colorado * Jefferson County * City of Golden

The State-Wide Stay-at-Home Order is in effect through April 11, 2020.

Jefferson County’s case count page says that as of 4:30PM yesterday, there were 245 “confirmed, probable, suspected, or under investigation” cases in Jefferson County. There have been 5 deaths and 43 are hospitalized. There are 21 known cases in Golden.

Many thanks to our March sponsors…what a long, strange month it has been. If you find this daily email valuable, please consider sponsoring us for the month of April. As NPR always says, “We can’t do this without you.”

If you’re impacted by the Coronavirus shutdown and in need to food, here are two excellent local resources:

Jeffco Public Schools are providing Grab & Go Meals for anyone 18 and younger. Stop by one of the pickup locations between 10:30AM and 1PM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They will bring 2 lunches and 2 breakfasts to your car for each child. The closest pickup location to Golden is Welchester Elementary (map). Learn more….

BGoldN: The Golden Backpack program, the City, and the Golden Civic Foundation are working with 10 local restaurants to provide food for Golden-ites who are in need and impacted by the current crisis. Go to the drive-through line at Bell Middle School (map). They’ll be handing out breakfasts from 9-10AM and lunches from 1-2PM. First come, first served!

You can contribute cash to the BGoldN program, so they can provide more meals. Click here to donate. They will also be accepting food donations at Bell during the drive through hours (9-10AM, 1-2PM).

Virtual Golden

Friday evening, both Holidaily Brewing and State-38 Distilling hosted fun and interesting “parties” on Facebook live. Karen with Holidaily shared a number of facts I didn’t know, such as the origins of the artwork on their cans. Sean at State-38 unveiled their top-secret recipes for some of their most-requested drinks. You can still watch them–just visit their Facebook pages.

The Golden History Museum has been posting videos every day. Check their YouTube channel to tour one of the cabins at the History Park, learn a Victorian craft, learn a new cooking skill, and more. The Museum’s curator, Mark Dodge is thinking about what artifacts he should collect from this episode in our history. How to tell the story of the 2020 Epidemic to future generations? If you have ideas, contact him at

The Golden Community Center is offering a variety of fitness classes via Zoom and Facebook Live.

5PM Today – Golden History with Barb Warden
Golden United has asked me to do a series of Golden history talks. I gave the first one (1859-1870) last week, but they had some technical difficulties and didn’t get the whole thing recorded. I’m doing a make-up lecture today at 5PM, so we can try again for a recording. Join us today at 5PM to learn about fortunes won, duels, lynchings, high aspirations, and low cunning in early Golden. The next one in the series will be tomorrow at noon. We’re using Zoom, so you’ll be able to watch it live and ask questions. If you haven’t used Zoom before click the link about 5 minutes early, so you’ll have time to install the little app that makes it all work.

6PM Telephone Town Hall with Congressman Perlmutter
Congressman Ed Perlmutter has scheduled a telephone town hall tonight to talk about the coronavirus. He will joined by local public health officials. Learn more about how to join the call.

Golden History Moment

On Saturday, I wrote about Golden’s first electric power company. The Golden Illuminating Company began supplying electric power in 1887. On Sunday, I added some interesting follow-up information about the company’s founder, M.H. Morrill. Today I’ll tell you about the next several decades, as electricity wormed its way deeper and deeper into our lives.

Advertisements from 1920s Colorado Transcripts – Click to enlarge.

1915 The Jefferson County Power and Light Company purchased the Golden Illuminating Company in 1915. This company moved their offices to Washington Avenue and had a small showroom of electrical appliances. In fact, a big part of their business plan seemed to involve selling appliances on the installment plan. For a time, the company would not sell them outright–they insisted on adding payments to the monthly electric bills. This company extended service beyond the Golden city limits, into Fairmount and Morrison. By 1926, they had grown from approximately 300 customers to 1242.

1926 Several regional power companies, including Jeffco Power & Light were consolidated to form Colorado Central Power Company. The new company covered Golden, Morrison, Englewood, Littleton, Fort Lupton, Plattevill, Johnstown, Milliken, Hudson, and Keenesburg. The new company’s main offices were in Golden, on Washington Avenue. The new company continued to push electrical appliances, but by this time they had competition from other stores, including Linder Hardware, just down the street. They began advertising that cooking with electricity was cheaper and cleaner than cooking with coal or wood (no soot).

1930 By the early 1930s, the company was serving 7500 consumers in 11 towns. They began servicing Pleasant View in 1930. They experienced some ripple effects from the 1929 stock market crash. Colorado Central Power Company was owned by a parent company–Empire Public Service, based in Delaware. That company was over-extended, and in 1930 they offered stock, promising to pay a dividend of 6-1/2%. A number of Golden people bought into that offer. By 1932, Empire was in receivership, and its investors lost their money. Nonetheless, Colorado Central Power continued on.

March 25, 1937 Colorado Transcript Ad

During the 1930s, they supplied power to several WPA (Roosevelt-era public works) projects, including CCC camps in Morrison and Mount Vernon Canyon, the new dam for Ralston Reservoir, and to Camp George West. As the Depression lingered, they stopped the relentless advertising of appliances and instead began a decades-long campaign to get people to use more electricity. They emphasized that the more electricity the public used, they cheaper they could provide it.

In the post-World War II era, they continued to encourage everyone to improve their lives by using as much electricity as possible. A 1959 advertisement showcased this house on 16th Street as being thoroughly modern, with plenty of electrical conveniences:

The concept of reducing energy consumption was a few decades away!

Downtown Golden shining brightly in the mid-1950s. Notice the Colorado Central Power Company’s neon sign mid-block, behind the PAINT sign. Click to enlarge.

Many thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and many thanks to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!

Current Events and Follow-Up on the Past

March 29, 2020

Golden Eye Candy: Summer Sunset in Golden by Jesse CrockClick to enlarge

Coronavirus Update

Public Health References
CDC * Colorado * Jefferson County * City of Golden

The State-Wide Stay-at-Home Order is in effect through April 11, 2020.

Jefferson County’s case count page says that as of 4:30PM yesterday, there were 213 “confirmed, probable, suspected, or under investigation” cases in Jefferson County. There have been 5 deaths and 34 are hospitalized. There are 17 known cases in Golden.

Local News

Don’t forget the Bear Hunts going on in Golden! If you have a teddy bear around the house, put it in the window–give the neighborhood kids something to hunt for on their walks!

Golden Business News

Tributary Food Hall is serving their customers during the current distress by offering a Farmers Market. You can visit the Food Hall to make your selection or order online for curbside pickup. Here’s what they have planned for this morning:

  • We have toilet paper!
  • We have a fresh bread order coming in at 10am
  • We have deli meats and a fresh order of steaks and bacon from Riverbear Meats
  • We now have cupcakes from Goldmine Cupcakes!!
  • We restocked the homemade granola, pico de gallo and guacamole!
  • We have pasta and homemade marinara and bolognese sauce.
  • We received a fresh order of chicken breast from Colorado Native Foods.
  • At our liquor store we have $20 on all bottles of wine, $30 bottles of vodka and bourbon. 32oz cocktails to-go, 6 packs of beer and canned cocktails.
  • We have bags of fresh vegetables & fruit from Growers Organic
  • Coffee and lattes from Generous Coffee
  • Pizza and fresh bolognese sauce from Fringe Pizza
  • Sandwiches from Mr.Miner
  • Fresh juice, smoothies and salads from Kona Bowls
  • Thai food from Thai Kuhn.

Cafe 13 has set up a Little Market inside the Cafe. Pick up some staples–milk, bread, eggs, sliced turkey, cheese–and get some great take-out food at the same time. You can go inside to shop and order, or call in ahead of time for curbside pickup. The market items and the restaurant menu are both listed on the website.

Spinster Sisters (based right here in Golden!) has what everyone wants–hand sanitizer! Their FDA-registered sanitizer is made with 62% ethyl alcohol, aloe vera, and essential oils comes in Lavender Lime and Peppermint Tea Tree. What’s more–they are on SALE, today only, for only $5.98. Their retail store is closed right now, but they are making hundreds of shipments every day, so turnaround time for mail order is quick. Order on the website.

A Golden History Moment

I got a lot of response from yesterday’s column about the Golden Illuminating Company, so I thought I’d add a few more things. First, M.T. Morrill, the president of the company, lived in this house at the corner of 12th and Arapahoe for 26 years. His predecessor in that house was Joseph Standley, a businessman who made a fortune in mining, then moved to Golden to pursue other investments. Standley Lake in Arvada is named after him.

Second, two years after he sold the company, Mr. Morrill was traveling home to Golden after visiting California. He became ill while driving through the desert. His traveling companion, his brother, apparently didn’t drive, because the two of them had to camp for four days before Mr. Morrill felt well enough to drive on. He made it as far as Las Vegas, New Mexico but died a day later of typhoid fever. That is something we rarely see these days (at least not in this country) because it’s acquired from drinking contaminated water. If we do get it, we can cure it with antibiotics.

Third, the July 10, 1930 Colorado Transcript included the following article:

In this day when even a slight flicker of the electric lights is the signal for a rush of “trouble shooters” a few Golden people remember the old Golden Illuminating Company and its brand of juice.

Power was generated here in Golden, with steam. In the evening the engineer in charge would fire up and then adjourn to the Opera House Cigar store for a game of cards. There he would stay until the lights began to grown dim, when he would rush back to the power house, fire up again an hasten back to the game. Some evenings when the hand was particularly interesting and the game hard fought, the lights in Golden would be almost indistinguishable before the engineer could get back and get sufficient steam in his boiler.

Another thing old timers like to remember is that electric light globes were free. The customers merely turned in their burned out globes and received new ones in exchange.

Many thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and many thanks to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!

Golden Power

March 28, 2020

Coronavirus Update

Public Health References
CDC * Colorado * Jefferson County * City of Golden

The State-Wide Stay-at-Home Order is in effect through April 11, 2020.

Jefferson County’s case count page says that as of 6PM yesterday, there were 180 “confirmed, probable, or suspected or under investigation” cases in Jefferson County. There have been 5 deaths and 24 are hospitalized. There are 16 known cases in Golden.

Golden Business News

10AM-2:30PM Grateful Bread is open this morning. They will be using a take-a-number system instead of asking people to wait in line. When you arrive, approach the door and take a number. One of the employees will stand in the parking lot, holding a white board showing the next number. (Innovative!) They will have focaccia, Belgian dark chocolate chip cookies, and dozens of their regular favorites.

4-9PM The Buffalo Rose is offering a nice selection of take-out food–appetizers, salads, burritos, hot sandwiches, kids menu, deserts…even adult beverages to go! Add a bottle of wine or a can of beer or cider to your dinner order. Place your order online or by phone (720-638-5597) and they will bring your meal to your car at the curb.

12-7PM Are you ready for some variety? Golden City Brewery is offering 4-paks with your choice of ten different beers, growler fills, and (here’s the variety part) flights-to-go! You choose the beers and they’ll fill five jars for you to take home and enjoy. (We’ve been enjoying their Social Prohibition Hazy New England IPA this week.) The Brewery’s take-out hours are 12-7PM Sat & Sun | 3-7PM Mon-Fri.

A Golden History Moment

Electric Poles on 15th Street, circa 1900
Click to Enlarge.

Golden has had electric power since 1887. M.T. Morrill was working as a schoolteacher in Georgetown in the 1880s, but was keenly interested in electrical power generation. As a sideline, he built the first electric light plant in Georgetown. When the time came for the City of Georgetown to contract for a larger scale plant, they gave the job to someone else. Georgetown’s loss was Golden’s gain. Morrill moved his equipment to Golden in 1887 and persuaded our City Council to allow him to illuminate our streets.. He and his wife both attended classes at the School of Mines to expand their engineering skills.

Upon receiving approval from the City in August of 1887, Morrill and his team immediately began sinking poles and stringing wires. By December of that year, we had lights on our principle streets and in some of the buildings. Opera House events became very bright, dazzling affairs.

Rate Card – Click to enlarge.

Morrill’s firm was called the Golden Illuminating Company because at that time, “illuminating” was seen as the main job of a power company–there were few other uses for electricity in 1887. Rates were determined by “Candle Power” and time of day. Customers purchased their lamps, fixtures, and cords from the power company.

Within a few years, other uses began to develop. Golden had an “electric steam laundry,” which was located right at the power plant. The Transcript acquired electric presses and became one of the company’s biggest customers. One of the downtown merchants (Nick Koenig) acquired an electric cigar lighter and that was a focus point of his advertising for months to follow.

Golden Illuminating Company on Jackson St., between 12th & 13th
From the 1893 Golden Globe Industrial Edition
Click to enlarge

The plant ran on steam, and so burned coal. The number and size of boilers increased as demand for electricity increased. Imagine having a coal-burning power station half a block east of Washington Avenue! Over the years, the possibility of using water power was discussed, but water was so precious that people didn’t like the idea of allowing anything to interfere with the flow of water to Golden. In about 1906, the Golden Illuminating Company began buying its power from a Denver firm and was able to stop generating it on Jackson St.

In 1903, the City renewed its contract with the Golden Illuminating Company, effectively granting Morrill a monopoly on electric lighting in the Golden area. The arrangement was mutually beneficial. With continuous equipment upgrades, the company was able to reduce the cost to consumers by 20% in 1907.

Morrill sold the company in 1915 and died two years later. He is buried in the Golden Cemetery.

Many thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and many thanks to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!