David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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 Growth in Allenspark


You may have missed the article in the Longmont Times-Call on September 4, 1994. The headline was “Mountain shoppers out in the no-zone, residents piqued on the Peak-to-Peak Highway.” Cute, huh?

Matt Reed, the writer of the piece, presented the opinions of several residents, one of whom, Dave Fausset, said he would like “a mid-range restaurant and maybe a small bank branch, a barber shop or an honest-to-goodness service station.” He’s also quoted as saying, “We have a number of people up here who are interested in employment but who don’t want to spend $20 a day to commute to Longmont or Boulder. The county really seems to be on a kick of ‘Let’s make it difficult for them.’ They want to make this Boulder’s park.”

Another allowed as how Allenspark “is going to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.”

 Now you’ve gone too far. I know several people up here who aren’t all that happy about having been dragged into the 20th century, much less the 21st.

I have been watching this place for almost 55 years and I’ve seen a large number of people come and go. At the moment we may have 500 or so living here full-time, according to our post-master. Many come thinking they can make a good living, and the fact is you can make a living, but you have to give up some things, and you have to work your tail off. I’ve seen loads of people commute over the years but eventually almost all of them buy a place down below; commuting from Allenspark is just too damn much work, hassle and danger.

For a number of years we had an honest-to-goodness service station here. It was run by Mr. McCollister and he could fix just about any car or truck. I filled the glass cylinders by pumping the handle and then let the gasoline slowly drain, gurgling, from the glass tower into the car, watching the little propeller spin in the glass globe on the front, assuring us that gas was flowing. But times have changed. Mr. Mac is gone and so are the simple days with simple cars. Now you need a computer to attach to the car’s computer and a big stock of parts and a parts delivery service. Allenspark doesn’t need that; we take our new cars to specialists, and cars are more reliable and require less maintenance. They’re also more expensive. We no longer trust them to shade-tree mechanics, which is all Allenspark has ever been able to support.

There was actually talk about a branch bank about 20 years ago. The idea was laughed out of town. And a barber? Boy, would he have gone broke in a hurry 25  years ago. I still see quite a few pony tails around town; Phil Stern hasn’t been to a barber in ten years. A barber in Allenspark would quickly starve, even if he specialized in beards. As for restaurants, the ones we have seem to be doing okay. True, they have changed hands numerous times over the years, but we always seem to have a place to get a decent meal. Of course the Fawn Brook Inn is well above mid-range. But a Denny’s? I don’t think so. Not in my lifetime, anyway. Or yours.

Maybe, on our way to Estes Park to do our banking or get a haircut, we should have a closer look at what Larimer County has done. Look at that big, ugly house nestled on less than an acre in the curve just below Charlie Baker’s place, where they destroyed a rock cut to make a driveway, and where the horses they keep will quickly erode the hill. Look at Estes Park, where you can buy salt water taffy, have Your Name in Headlines or sit in a bar with a bunch of Harley riders. You can pick up your auto parts and go next door to arrange your funeral. Is that really what you want in Allenspark?

Mr. Fausset’s point is that Boulder County is making zoning and land use decisions that make it difficult to have unrestrained growth. He’s correct, and I thank the Almighty and Boulder County, its commissioners and voters.

If and when we have a genuine need, as we someday may, for businesses which support the growing number of retirees, then Boulder County will allow it, in a limited way. But the county’s building and zoning restrictions which make unlimited growth impossible are a blessing, not a curse. Many years ago Estes Park was a nice little village. Sort of like Allenspark.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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