David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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The Salvation Army


I’m happy to report that all the good people on Cabin Creek and Big Owl Road now have private telephone lines, well before the spring thaw. I hereby congratulate U.S. West.

’Tis the season when we’re all reminded to put our loose change into the kettles of those devoted Salvation Army bell ringers.

You might have seen an article in the Boulder Daily Camera on November 5, Section B, page 1, designed to tug at both your heart and purse strings, about the Boulder Salvation Army. It said the Boulder Army was $40,000 in debt, that donations are down 15 to 20 percent, that they won’t be able to provide bus tokens or $20 clothing vouchers. It also quoted Brenda Smith, who, along with her husband, Gary, leads the Army in Boulder: “Educating the community is first and foremost before our services. We are a church. Our goal is to bring people into the church and tell them about God. Everything else kind of follows.” She also said, “People have to learn how to become a family, and it’s getting back to basics.” And Gary said, “[The Salvation Army is] such a practical way to apply your faith. Everything you do is from your faith and yet it’s so practical. You’re right there on the front line of helping people.”

Maybe so.

When my grandfather came to this valley in the summer of 1917 he stayed at one of the two excellent hostels in Tahosa valley, the Columbine Lodge. The great and near great (but mostly people with money and leisure time) came to the valley to escape the unairconditioned heat and humidity of the plains and take the mountain air. Edna Ferber stayed at the finest and best known retreat in the valley, Longs Peak Inn, and claimed in her autobiography that our rarefied atmosphere caused her to write very different stories.

Maybe so.

Both of these prime pieces of resort real estate, with a total of about 120 acres and numerous buildings, have been purchased by the apparently debt-ridden Salvation Army, where, we are to believe, they continue to be on the front line of helping people in an ever so practical way. (The Columbine Lodge became the Double JK Ranch and is now High Peaks Camp) In the past few years the Army not only acquired both of these resorts, but it  received approval in 1993 from Larimer County for substantial expansion in terms of building and other improvements, including a $700,000 dining room, despite the objections of environmentalists who believe the land is presently overburdened. And, lest we forget, they pay no taxes, either for what they have, or what they will build.

All this depresses me. At a time when Jerry Falwell sells vitamins and the heads of the United Way and the NAACP are caught riding in limousines and misusing funds, it’s disappointing to find what I thought was the last bastion of genuine charity—those good folks who supposedly had no other motive than trying to save souls with a drum, a tambourine and a trumpet—saving the best for themselves, just like all those others.

I’m sure the Salvation Army has excellent rationalizations for this strange ownership: a necessary retreat for the weary savers of souls perhaps, or a need to bring sinners to the mountains to commune with God and nature. The high road to salvation? Nearer my God to Thee?

Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m the only one who wonders, every time I drive by, what the Salvation Army is doing, owning these places and at the same time begging for nickels and dimes at the doors of supermarkets and whining about a debt?

Maybe so.

One thing, however, is certain. If the Salvation Army can afford to buy and build on these two properties, they sure don’t need my money in their kettles. As for that crushing debt Gary and Brenda are so worried about, I know where they can raise a couple of million bucks, fast.




© 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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