tv Book TV in Denver CO CSPAN September 3, 2016 12:00pm-1:31pm EDT
and most populated with over 3 million people. founded in 1858 as a mining town during the gold rush now home to the u.s. meant that as is a largest corded producer in the world. for the next two hours we will explore the city's history and literary culture. including a visit to the tattered cover. it was started by a man named steve koegel in 19 they bought the store and in a lot of ways we also spoke with juan thompson. his memoir looks at life with
about how they've changed into the place being seen today. never been here before. and someone like me has never been to denver to give me a gives me a sense of the city. denver is a city that was that in the last 30 years it has been a western city western city on the rise. for the last 30 years or so. let's go to the economic make appear. affordability is a huge issue here in the suburbs.
it is just growing it very quickly. >> what is bringing people here? >> is a strong economy and the quality of life. sony people here who moved here the last few years and the neighborhood we are to get ready to have into. one of the parts of denver that has changed the most in the last ten or 15 years. and also the riverfront area. and then union station. i just reopened a couple of
you probably get some empty-nesters and baby boomers who want to live downtown. it's mostly apartments around here. how is that changing the look of denver. it's a beautiful city. how is that changing aesthetically in the new construction. it is expanding for sure. is making much more for them. it is the new mass transit line. it starts right over here. it just opened in the last couple of months. all of these changes are giving them much more urban character. >> what is the down side of living in denver. if you're renting an apartment
in the beautiful city. i've seen a lot of homelessness here. that is another big problem it is similar even though it has known as the cold city. it is more temporary in the winter. just as you get the jobs in the millenials. it is also a place for a the homeless. and people who are living here but aren't living here. they're getting push pushed out onto the streets. you do have a contingency and those parts of society. they might have some drug
issues. were still try to trying to figure that out and what it is. and how much it's affecting that. i'm sure the city is still trying to work on some of these problems and issues. it's an african-american neighborhood going back. when the rest of the city wasn't so welcoming. in just the strongholds of the black community. denver doesn't had as large as a black community as a lot of cities do. it's a very close knit community. what are the holdovers from that neighborhood. there are still some historic buildings appear they have lived here for their entire lives. it is a rapidly changing
neighborhood what is inside now with washington for this it just makes it all businesses. and then some new restaurants a lot of the people that live in the neighborhood now. i haven't african-american friend from high school. and that does have a little bit of resentment. it's very visible reminder of the change that's happening. i think you would've seen a
neighborhood that was much more african-american and culturally proud. with the neighborhood that was struggling. just economically. tell me about the struggle where is it now. back in the 70s and 80s with the boom and bust cycle. with the times that are bad the economy hit the floor. if the downtown that was more like an office park parking lots all over the place. you'd less of a urban downtown and central area. so you are the city council reporter and you are the government beat here what are some of the interesting shifts that you have seen from that standpoint.
i think we have that council elections last year. we have a term limits here. more than half of the council turned over. the councilmembers and if you were in their 30s and 40s. they were set and older. more like retirees. we were representing more of the residence here. residents here. and their point of view. some of them also are more in favor with that. i think you have seen a lot today from the city council. >> we went under eye 70 is there sort of a distinction now that we are officially in
a different neighborhood that we separated this part of town. this is' once you appear. some of it is a highway also. it's very classic urban story it was a very proud looking neighborhood. it's an area that's very high in homeownership. it's a very high latino population. so you had housing on the right ear and then on the left you have the national western back show which is the biggest in the country. for people like me what's a stock show. think really make a state fair.
it has a rodeo they come and show cattle from around the country. so here in this urban area it was such a weird dynamic care. there is a marijuana production facility. because of zoning requirements they are in industrial neighborhoods. they mix block to block. there has been a lot of pushback against that appear. because the industry is taking over all these spaces. and people in denver and colorado get sick of being
pinpointed for the place that marijuana is legal. do you see some legality there. when you drive through denver these are businesses that look like an apple store there's more dispensaries than the starbucks and mcdonald's combined. they turn left on 47. this is interesting because of the neighborhood pushback. there is a small facility on the second floor. that neighborhood pushback conducted the city agreed with them that it was a bad influence on the area.
and concerning developments. they will lose their license this next month they will be appealing it. this is the first time the city has speculated that for the growth license. one of the big debates right now that you can only use it heavily you can't ease it in use it in public. some people violate that law. there will be one or two ballot measures this fall. should we allow them to go do that. and then the other one you see it further businesses including bars within their buildings.
you know, i think denver doesn't want to become san francisco. it would love to have san francisco's vibrancy, but it doesn't want the giant gulf that exists economically there where people just can't, a whole swath of people can't afford to live there. so it's, those are problems that a lot of cities are facing, but denver is, i think, hoping to put its stamp on those issues and solve them more than any city has. >> booktv is in denver, colorado, learning more about the city's literary scene. we spoke with juan thompson about his book, "stories i tell myself," which chronicles his life with his father, author hunter s. thompson. >> i think public image of hunter is best captured by the fear and loathing character, "fear and loathing in las vegas" character which is really all about drinking way too much,
taking way too many, you know, drugs and just being out of control. i would describe hunter thompson as complex. he was brilliant, he was sometimes crazy, he was focused, he was very ambitious. he was given to just eruptions of rage for the, you know, small provocations. he was a complex man. how would i describe hunter as a parent. um, uninvolved, i would say. and i think there was a few reasons for that. first, you know, he was born in 1936, so when he was growing up, he didn't grow up in an era when
fathers were, you know, typically heavily involved with raising the kids. so that was part of it. and be second, writing was always -- that was the most important thing to hunter, you know? family was secondary, for sure. not that he didn't, you know, he didn't love me and care about me, but as far as being, like, you know, no, i'm not going to go out tonight and see my friends, i'm going to stay home and hang out with the kids making dinner. no, that was not him. i've been asked many times why do i call him hunter, and i call my mom sandy. and that's just the way it always was. and i think it's because, you know, when i was a baby and, you know, parents are referring to themselves, for whatever reason he was not going to be dad. and i don't think he wanted my mom to be mom.
he wanted to be hunter, so i think that's what, you know, when, you know, little babies, hunter, you know? not dad, hunter. when he would have these, you know, outbursts of rage, it was -- i mean, the primary thing was just the yelling. but, i mean, he could really yell. he had this deep, booming voice, and i think the scariest thing about him when he was angry is he could be just savage with his words. he didn't, you know, he didn't get physical -- or rarely. his primary tool was a, to say something really cutting and vicious. and because he was so smart and
so perceptive, he knew exactly how to really, you know, just go right to the core of somebody. so that was the worst thing to see. and then, you know, he also threw things. and he didn't throw things at people, but, you know, throwing a plate of food against the wall, you know? high speed? that's pretty damn scary. and i think that was his intent, you know? it was to make us, it was to make a point. and to make it clear that he was in control and that, you know, the thing to do was for other people to recognize that and submit. that was the point. and it worked. it worked. it worked with kids, it worked with adults. it was very effective. i was absolutely afraid of him.
part of it was i was afraid of the possibility of him getting angry. so if i had a friend over, you know, in the middle of the day -- and hunter slept odd hours. he would sleep until four or five in the afternoon and go to sleep at, i don't know, two or three or something, five or six, i don't know. so during the day, he was asleep. so there was this mandate, be quiet. do not wake hunter up. and this really wasn't like a or else, it was just implied. it'll be a bad thing. you do not want to, you know, do not wake the sleeping dragon, you know? and then he would have these outbursts, and, you know, it was, yeah, it was just the possibility of making him that angry was terrifying, you know, to a little kid.
and he was a big guy. and he was loud, and, you know, when he was angry, he was really scary. so, yeah, yeah, i was definitely scared of him. and what's funny is that, i mean be, he never hit me. he -- i can't think that he really was, like, verbally abusive. he certainly was to other people. but it's funny, that didn't matter, you know? it was just the possibilities. knowingknowing that he could do, you know, being afraid that he would do it to me. when i think of hunter being angry, the event that stands out most clearly is one night after my mom and he had been arguing, you know, we're still there in the house, she called the police which was something you just did not do.
she called the police and they came. and my mom was trying to, she was getting some drawers of clothes from her room to to take outside, put hem in the car -- put them in the car so we could drive away, and he -- i remember him grabbing, you know, grabbing the drawer of clothes from if her and, you know, something like, well, you know, you're not going anywhere with that. and it was just such a, just a cruel thing to do, you know, to, for him to just demand that obedience and to exert so much control. and i just, i just, you know, i was, like, 11 years old, like five feet tall, you know?
little, scrawny kid, and i just lost it. i just started screaming at him and, you know, tried to, tried to hit him and the, you know, cop grabbed me and held me back. i wasn't -- [laughter] i was a little kid. there wasn't anything i could do, but i was just, i just couldn't stand any more. i was just so outraged at what a bastard he was. and that really did set my perception of who he was for, you know, for several years until i was able to realize, all right, well, that's part of him. it's part of him, but, you know, that's not all there is. i mean, the single biggest issue was watching those fights and just how he treated my mom in the two years or so, you know, between when it, when that tension really erupted and became visible to me to when my
mom decided to, you know, move out of the house and start the divorce process. and then, oddly, that kind of started the beginning of our reconciliation too, because now i no longer lived with him. and i wanted a relationship with him. it was a complicated, a complicated time. on one hand, you know, i just -- at times i hated him, but he was also my father, and i wanted a relationship. so he would invite me out sometimes, and i'd go out and, you know, spend the night, and we would begin to build that relationship that we hadn't, that we never had before. is and then it took, it took years and years of, you know,
going to visit him, and then things would blow up and, you know, be more anger and tension and then try again. there were blow-ups over, it could be tiny things like once i was there, and he noticed that a book was missing from his book shelf, and so he started getting worked up and hinting that, you know, maybe i had stolen his books. and, i mean, that's just like, like paranoid thinking, you know? and sometimes i just, i'd just get really angry, and i'd yell at him. and then, you know, cool down and start again. but i'm just really grateful that both of us kept trying, you
know? we didn't give up. and as i got older, it got easier. i was able to have more distance. it's a whole different thing when you can choose to be there as opposed to, you know, being in a house where you really don't want to be but there's nowhere you can go. and knowing that i could, if things get weird, i can just leave, you know? that made it a whole lot easier. and he really, for his part, he really tried to moderate, to suppress, you know, his impulses -- [laughter] when i would visit. at least for, you know, a couple days. the nature of our reconciliation was not, it was not based in talking about it. that was not, that was not the kind of guy he was. that was certainly not his generation or his background.
you know, they kept that stuff to themselves. and i think by nature he was not a guy to, you know, talk about, talk about his feelings or particularly wanting to know how anybody else felt. so it was all indirect, which certainly made it complicated. [laughter] because i, you know, my generation is more about, hey, you know, here's how i'm feeling. let me tell you about it. and be he just didn't -- he didn't know what to do with that. so it tended to be more, more indirect. i mean, one of the big things that i finally realized is that he would try to, you know, show his love and concern -- he wouldn't say it, it would be things like as i was getting ready to, you know, leave, you know, after staying there for a weekend he'd say, you know,
here's $200, you know? get some tires. and at first i was like, i don't need tires, what? and then i, you know, with the help of some friends began to realize maybe this is -- what he's doing is he's trying to say he loves me in this really indirect way. and when i started to consider that, it was like, oh, okay. okay, i can -- it's like a different language. and that really helped a lot once i could start to, to look at a what he was doing and what he was saying in that way. like learning to translate it. i am positive that he felt very guilty about how to, about how he, how he was a father.
i think hunter felt guilty about all kinds of things. and, yeah, i think he felt guilty about, about the divorce and about his behavior and, you know, not being around. i mean, one thing he would tell his friends, you know, once i was an adult, he would -- he was so proud that i was, like, you know, had a, had a regular job, you know, and got married and that i was not, you know, a drug addict or a felon. like, he was so surprised that i seemed pretty normal and well adjusted, you know, in spite of our family growing up. and, yeah, the, you know, the way he behaved. when my son will was born, it
added something, something new and good to our relationship. part of it was just seeing him holding this baby, and i would never have thought that hunter thompson would be good with babies, but he really was. i mean, for short periods, you know? i wouldn't, like, ask him to babysit or anything. but he just held, you know, like six-month-old baby just so gently, and, you know, really focused on him. i thought, wow, that's amazing. and it was also an excuse to see him more often. he really, hunter really did have a connection with my son, you know? again, not that it was, you know, that they would go spend lots of time together, but he really felt a bond there.
and it was, i think my son, my son's birth was another thing to draw us closer together. it also helped me to understand how fathers feel about their sons. it helped me to understand that there is this unconditional love that a father has, you know, for their child. and it's just, it's not -- i mean, it's unconditional. it's not because of anything, it's because, because, you know, for me, because he's my son. when my son was going to be born, the question came up, all right, you know, what do you want to be called? and he was adamant he was not going to be grandpa, you know,
granddad, one of that stuff. none of that stuff. i think mostly just out of vanity. he just didn't want that confirmation that, yes, you are 62 or, you know, it's like, you know, you're officially old. so he said he can call me ace. not grandpa, ace. hunter was not happy about getting older. i mean, he wrote many times that he was surprised that he lived to be 30, and he never expected to live to be 67. i think there were a lot of things he didn't like about it. there was, you know, his really, some of his reallied good friends were dying. that was very difficult for him.
and he was a, he was a vain man, you know? getting older is tough, you know? he wasn't, he wasn't quite as attractive to quite as many younger women as he used to be, you know? and the worst of it though, i think, was the physical, the physical impact which was a combination of age and also, you know, 50 years of drinking and drugs really took its toll on his body. and it became hard for him to, just to get around, you know, and to be independent and mobile. and that was, especially for hunter who was, more whom infence was so important -- independence was so important, that was intolerable, to be dependent on other people, you know, for everything was just intolerable.
so in the couple days before hunter died, will and my wife and i had gone up to see him, and we hadn't been able to see him for christmas. we normally went will for -- went there for christmas. so this was, you know, our post-christmas visit. and there was nothing unusual about it. we drove up there, and it appeared to be a pretty normal, you know, a normal visit. there was no indication that he had something, you know, he was planning his suicide that weekend. that night there was a an altercation between his -- yeah,
his wife. his second wife at the time and him. and she got upset, he got upset, they were yelling. but it didn't seem, you know, especially mote worthy. i mean, that was kind of normal -- noteworthy. i mean, that was kind of normal for hunter. and then she went to bed, many i wife and will were asleep, and then in an offhand way he said, you know, hey, you know, you might want to take system of these silver cups or this little silver jewelry box. and i was like, well, okay. okay. and i didn't really think much of it. now in retrospect, it makes sense he was, he was definitely -- he was definitely
thinking it was a possibility. and he had talked about suicide for years and years, so it wasn't -- that wasn't a surprise. and i suppose i should have, you know, i should have heard what he was saying and thought, well, this is kind of unusual. what, you know, what's going on here. but i didn't i didn't i didn't. and went to bed, and the next morning it was a really nice morning. his wife had gone into the, you know, the gym, and we were just all hanging out. my wife and will and hunter and i, he was in the kitchen at his table where he liked to, you know, well, do everything. and it was just a really low-key, calm feel.
my wife and will went off to do some sledding on this nearby hill, and it was unusually calm. but in a really nice way. and then i was in a bedroom doing something, and i heard this, this loud like crack or thump, and i thought, well, you know, did he drop somethingsome did he throw something? didn't really think much of it. came out of the bedroom are, looked over, and he was sitting in this, in a chair at the counter with his chin down on his chest, and he looked like he was asleep. i thought, well, that's kind of odd, you know? called his name, he didn't respond. then started to get worried, you
know? has he had a seizure? what's, what's going on here? it never occurred to me that, you know, he had shot himself. there was no blood that i could see. he just looked like he was asleep. and i walked over to him, and then i saw some blood. there was very little though. when people think of, you know, hear that he shot himself, they imagine, you know, blood everywhere, and thank god it was nothing like that. very little blood. and once i saw that, then it all, then it i all hit. then it all hit. and i'd say i panicked really. i had this thought going through my head that, my god, it's finally happened. you know? i've been thinking about hunter dying, you know, someday in the future, and i figured it would
probably be, you know, be by suicide but in a really abstract way. like sometime in the distant future, you know, i'm going to get a call that he's dead, and he killed himself. but for that to all of a sudden become real right now, it's happened, he's dead, i just lost it. i decided to write the book because after, after hunter died the coverage in the media really focused on that, that wild man persona, you know? the crazy, crazy drug fiend. and i really, i really had a problem with that because it just neglected, you know, who he was and why, why he was important, you know? he wasn't important because he
was, you know, an alcoholic drug fiend. that's irrelevant really. and so i was trying to figure out what can i, what can i do? and then the idea of a book came to mind, you know? and then what seemed to make sense was to explain who hunter was to me through my, you know, the experience of growing up with him and how our relationship developed. and i didn't intend my book to be a biography or the last word on, you know, here's the definitive hunter thompson. but it was important to me to show there was more to hunter thompson than just popular conception. >> c-span is in the mile-high city of denver to learn about the city's literary culture.
we visited the tattered cover, a bookstore established in 1971 which soon became a denver institution. >> when you talk to folks who work many publishing here or who are writers here or who work many writing in any way, shape or form, 80% of them, it feels like, have worked here, you know? everybody who is involved in letters in denver or has come through tattered cover. >> we've been here about a year, and in our first week we had president jimmy carter visit us, we've had hillary clinton here, we've had david mccullough to, nathaniel philbrick, lots and lots and lots of authors. >> owning a bookstore has been a dream for most of my working life, and kristin and i had tried a couple of times. we had looked at a couple of different options, and nothing worked out right. so we figured, you know, go big or go home, and tattered cover came into being.
the deal was announced at the end of march in 015, and it was the -- 2015, and it was the lead story -- it was the number two story, i think, on all the tv news, it was front page of the denver post. the next day the denver post ran an editorial about what a treasure joyce is and how much she has meant to the life of denver, and then it named kristin and i by name and basically said, don't screw this up. so welcome to depp very. so transition process is a two-year process. we started officially july 1st of 2015. joyce formally retired july 1, 2017, so we are right now exactly in the middle of it. and it's been incental. every month we learn a little more, take on a little more responsibility and get involved in different departments of the store til at this point to year end, we're really functioning as full members of the management team here.
>> this was built inside an old theater that was built in the 1950s and ran for about 20 years or so and then was an abandoned building, and we took it over about ten years ago and turned it into the next location of the tattered cover. this is the room that we have for our bigger events. we can fit about 200, 220 seated people. and if there is no presentation and it's just a signing, we snake the line throughout the store and can get as many in here as they want. >> kristin and i come in with, you know, a lot of publishing and book industry experience. i have a very broad perspective, because i've seen industry from a number of angles, and still every day is like taking a sip of water from the fire hose. there's so much to learn, it's such a large, complex organization to that we're
learning all the time. tattered cover was started by a man named steve cogle in, i think, 1971. joyce bought the store right around the end of 1973. at that time it was a 950-square-foot store, and joyce just is a master bookseller. and the store quickly caught on and expanded, expanded. and in a lot of ways, joyce really invented what has become modern brick and mortar retailing. in fact, if you look at tattered cover and you'll see in the store the green carpets and and sometimes brass fixtures and the dark wood, the original barnes & noble superstores were modeled on this. so we're four locations. we have three large format locations, stores like this one and one tiny store in union station. and we also, in a partnership with another company, have three stores out at the airport. the location we're in now is our largest. this is our flagship. our offices are here, our receiving is here. the selling space is on the
order of 18-20,000 square feet, and the total pace is, you know, plus another 4-6,000 square feet. and we have depending on the time of year and counting all of the what we call per diem staff, folks who sort of work on call, about 150 employees. >> so i recently learned that every time i give a tour i say if there's ever an apocalypse in denver, you want to be in this building. and in the last couple days, i learned that this building was built in 1950, and this whole level was actually built as a fallout nuclear bomb shelter. so this is the best place to come. all of our main offices are in this bottom level as well as we have central receiving. so everything, all of our books come in here, and they get taken out to the different stores. we have our computer team is down here, financial team, and
this open area is where we do all our returns. once the books have been on the shelves for a while and haven't sold, we can send some of them back to the publisher, and and that's where this happens. these are all ready to go. we have books that are, that aren't ready to be on sale yet. we wait for -- tuesday is the release day, so sometimes we have carts waiting to go out. and then this is where all the books with come into first and be are received, entered into the computer and divided up to the different stores and where they're going. down in this corner we actually have a working, functioning workshop. it has power tools and saws
where we'll fix lamps, we'll build new book shelves, fix old book shelves, stain wood. lots of tinkering happens here. and this area over here, this room in here is opposite the door that leads right out to our events area. so we can bring the author right out this door, we can have, we have the chairs for the set-up, the microphones, the books for the event, so it's an easy in and out. very accessible. >> every day is another challenge that's often not connected to selling books. [laughter] it's, you know, whether you're dealing with a staffing issue or something with the physical space goes wrong and, you know, you have a pipe burst or, you know, you might be dealing with different kinds of customer issues, and, you know, we spend so little of our time at the ownership level dealing with the books, and i think we kind of knew that coming in.
but it's, there are days when i'm like, boy, i just want to sell books today, because that's really the most fun part of the job is talking about books. i'm really a biased person to talk about tattered cover's importance to the literary life of denver, but i would say we're kind of the beating heart of literary denver. we are a gathering place for writers' groups. they meet here. we are a gathering place for publishers. so i really believe that we are vital to denver's literary scene, and i feel loo, as i said, we're the beating heart of it. i'm biased. >> booktv is in the mile high city of denver, colorado, to learn more about its literary culture. up next, we speak with author derek everett on his book, "creating the american west." >> boundaries are phenomenally important to american life. we interact with boundaries every moment of every day. and often times don't even think about it.
but you're driving your car, there's boundaries on the road, there's boundaries in the parking lot, and when you mow the lawn, you get to stop at a certain point, and your neighbor's in charge of the next one or shoveling the sidewalk, whatever. there are these boundaries that we interact with constantly. and you think about them especially when they are violated, when you see someone who's parked the way they're not supposed to park at the grocery store, you get mad. so there's this sense of enforcement, of the need for these definitions for how we organize our space, how we organize our society. and whether we're talking about parking lots or whether we're talking about states and cups, boundaries are exceptionally important. one of the points that i argue in my book is the evolution of national boundaries. people talk about the treaty of paris and the louisiana purchase and texas and the war with mexico and oregon and so on. and there's a lot of attention
paid to the development of the nation's boundaries, but it's almost as be state boundaries were always sort of hiding in the background because we talk about, you know, this area became colorado or california or wyoming or wherever, and it's as if that was predetermined, it was predestined. and that was one of the reasons i wrote the book, was to look at how these lines within country evolved just as often and often just as controversially, just as contentious as boundaries between the united states and american indian groups, between the u.s. and european empires as well. there's a great deal of frustration and negotiation and diplomacy and sometimes often even outright battles between communities over where their boundaries are going to be, whether it's between countries or between states. the decision for where boundaries are going to be comes from a number of factors.
of course, there's general guidelines that congress had set down about where a state's boundaries will be or a territory before it becomes a state, and yet there's also often contribution from people who lived in the region. mining groups, farming groups, people who wanted to make sure that their communities were embraced in one place and not in another, and there's a fine line to walk between who has the most say, do the locals have the most say, does congress have the most say? it was a incredibly diverse tapestry of how these boundaries are going to come about. because of the 48 state lines west of the mississippi river, all of them were fought over at the national level, at the local level. everybody had a big stake in the game. you look at the map, and you think, you know, that's where nebraska is supposed to be, and where else would we put nevada? it was supposed to be right there. and yet those lines changed and
evolved a great deal over the span of much of the 19th century. there was a major debate in the 19th century about using geometry or geography for state boundaries. and the idea of geography was to use rivers, mountains, maybe river basins, water basins as a sensible, predetermined limit for states and for these future political communities. the idea behind geometry was to get the divisions made as quickly as possible and to define them as clearly as possible so that you knew exactly where your authority stopped and the next place's authority began. and that was important for landowners, it was important for law enforcement. you wanted to make sure that you knew exactly where your authority existed, and you didn't want it to be vague. and rivers tend to move unless
they're deep in a canyon somewhere. it's difficult to point out exactly on a mountain range where the water flows from one side or another. so it's difficult to use, for example, the continental divide. it's hard to mark it, it's hard to enforce it. and so the idea of using geometry over geography was simply a practical way to make sure that laws were enforced as clearly and quickly as possible. and the oregon/washington border is a good example of this geography versus geometry approach because there were a number of debates as to how a state should be formed north of california. and for a long time, there was talk -- and to this day remains talk about putting the boundary along the cascade mountains. so you'd have oregon and washington essentially about half as big as her today, and then another state on the east side of the cascades in what's
now the upper columbia river region for both washington and oregon. and so there was a lot of talk initially about just using the cascades going from california all the way up to the canadian boarder or and having one long, skinny state on the pacific coast and then sort of a no man's land behind that until, you know, such time as as they thought it was worth bringing the rest of the pacific northwest in. you had others who advocated for using the columbia river as a boundly. it was -- boundary. it was a major geographical divide, certainly. it makes, it makes it difficult to interact from one side of the river to another. but when many of these boundaries were created, rivers were not seen as dividers, they were seen as uniters. a river was a highway. and so that was the core of a community rather than something that split it in half. so you wanted major rivers at the center. and, for example, that's why missouri is the shape that it
is, arkansas the shape that it is with the missouri and arkansas rivers right at the core. you wanted those as the heart of your community and not as its limits because that's where your commerce was. that's where your settlement was. and the columbia river was big enough that it made sense certainly down toward the mouth, toward portland and that area, it made sense for the columbia river to be used as a boundary there. once you got upstream, the boundary between oregon and washington shifts from the columbia river to 46 degrees north. and that was a point of contention all the way up until the 1950s, because oregon's constitution said that their border followed the columbia and the snake all the way up into what's now the idaho state line. and washington said, no, we have that little corner of southeast washington where walla walla, washington, is today.
that's a part of our community. and it was defined in two different ways. oregon's state constitution had one boundary, federal law had a different boundary, washington state had a different boundary. and finally, oregon accepted that it was not going to take walla walla away in the late 1950s. but it took a century for oregon to decide that it was going to finally relinquish its claim to that little chunk of the pacific northwest. california and nevada boundary is a bizarre fight that has gone on ever since the california gold rush. when california was admitted to the union in 1850, it had the mostly geometric boundaries that we see today with the accidental hinge in the middle of lake tahoe between its verse call line and then the -- vertical line and the diagonal one that goes from lake tahoe to the colorado river. and that was twined for california -- defined for
california as usual because geometry was simple, easy, clear to mark so that everybody knew exactly where their authority was. there were a lot of people in california who thought that the crest of the sierra nevadas made more sense. if you don't get over the mountain range, you have the eat your relatives when you're stuck with the donner party, so it's a major mental and physical block. and when nevada was organized in the 1860s, nevada's boundary was declared to be the crest of the sierras. it just seemed to be an obvious place to have a limit. the problem with that was that nevada's boundary then overlapped california's territory, and there were a number of feuds between the territory of nevada and the state of california, and residents living in that region would often elect members to both the state and territorial legislatures, in some cases the same person would serve in
sacramento and in carson city. and nevada asked repeatedly for california to give up its claim west -- or east of the sierra nevadas, and california refused in large part because if that's your territory, you don't want to give it up. you've got your claim to it, so you're not going to surrender it willingly. and california politicians also pointed out that if the crest of the sierra nevadas was defined as a boundary, it would take a thousand years before they could figure out exactly what that meant, where precisely is the border if it's along the crest of the sierra nevadas? and it's not just some pedantic little legalese point. this is a heavily mined area. you need to make sure that your property is protected, you need to know what state or territory's laws you fall under. and so having that vague idea, well, am i in nevada right now,
am i in california right now, that's exceptionally disconcerting to someone who wants to make sure that they're following the rules, that they're getting all of the benefit, all of the profit out of the land that they claim. the most contentious of any state boundary must be the missouri/iowa line because when it was defined for missouri in the 820s, it ended on a series of rapids called the rapids of the river des moines. ..
they would claim to live in whatever opposite territory or state when the local sheriff came to collect the taxes. we are sorry we live in iowa so we can't pay taxes to you and iowa claimed they were in missouri. and they would host parties with the sheriffs sheriff's from both sides so when they called their malicious into the reason there was a chance that you would have a minor civil war. in large part over the same situation that the ultimate civil war it would take place at a quarter century later. free territory whose authority is where. this was a major concern it was a major concern for congress.
they were called out in december of 39. it was a miserable situation. and ultimately the read leaders simply declared peace on their own without consulting their governor into show their true feelings towards a governor to deer were found and they were shot one of the deer representing the governor of iowa territory so they executed their governors buried them and everybody went home to where the fire was. it is a sort of farce of insanity that goes on this feud was known as the honey
war. there were very valuable trees in the region that everybody wanted to control it says a great deal about the impact. of who controls what territory how much do you want to be in charge over your neighbor you want to compete with your neighbor but it also says a great deal about identity. the governors at least were willing to fight for the idea that this is missouri's soil and this is iowa territory soil. it is a part of the community. there was a joke that went around the region for the longest time. when the boundary was clarified there was a farmer
who lived in the region and was delighted to hear that his farm has been defined as being in iowa. because he have heard that the claimant in the soil of missouri was terrible so he didn't want to be a part of that. is the odd balance of nonsense and then real implications of identity of authority of legal power of even military power. the line which seems innocuous today meant everything to the people of the 1830s. there has been a very little change to boundaries if it changes the boundary is it is involving more than one state.
often because estate boundaries are defined you can modify the constitutions they have to approve it. there had been a few examples of states in that have slightly modified their boundaries for example they worked out deals with kansas and nebraska to move pieces that the missouri river has shifted and even though at the river moved the boundary does not. you are left with these tiny little pieces of missouri on the nebraska side or the kansas side those areas become problematic. it seems like some waste land. and yet if this is a piece of missouri on the other side of the river and there is no a bridge within 50 miles or 100 miles or so people can do whatever they want in that little piece of territory in missouri can't really stop them and even though it is
attached to kansas they have no authority to some states have alternated parcels and surrendered one piece here or there. that is an ongoing thing because unless you're talking about hells canyon or that grand canyon workers will move and that is one of the reasons they make horrible boundaries. it needs to be clear and defined forever and ever amen. it's everybody legal authority. the last him there's any major state boundary change when west virginia broke away from virginia and that was during the civil war. that was a special case the last time there was a peacetime change of state boundaries and state definitions in massachusetts
let it go to be a separate state coming in as part of the missouri compromise. but that is the last time there has been any peacetime change of the state boundary that's 200 years ago now. i don't see it ever happening. if they start to change the boundaries everybody is going to do it. i don't really see anybody in any party in washington dc saying working had to start making stars microscopic. this week's trip continues. with them.
when i was a kid and my father worked at the denver post and we used to come down here once a month there was a night out on the talent. we couldn't see across the room i would tell people you couldn't hear anybody from the sound of the ice hitting the cocktail glasses. with competing. papers. with the politicians. it was a place to get things off the record perhaps into establish relationships that would lead to stories down the road. it was erected in 1925. ninety-one years. they were gathering place for local journalists and
politicians the original footprint included room for 4 billion tables. one of my favorites is the during the eisenhower administration in the 50s as most people know he married them. they turned out to be lowry air force base. i think his name -- name was phyllis. without much entourage. they wanted to stop by for lunch. the story was related to me. they have a nice lunch.
just wait for it. they would have a good time. members were inclined to stay in the bar area. then they would leave to play golf. behind you happens to be a coat closet. i've been told it's been a place for people who were going to are going to be interviewed but didn't want to be seen that was the purpose of the coat closet. it will interview in private. it is the place to take the visitors. this is one for reporting. it was a dark day indeed. they were honored there was another one for combine.
without needing to write any words to go with it. with the lobby of the denver post you would see the entire series it's part very powerful. my favorite is over here. these are commercial airport passengers. the story is told by these we get to recount with visitors the people who have never seen that and probably are never going to go someplace else where they might see one. makes the press club special.
when things started to change it was when readership for both locals started to dwindle. in the digital age has an impact so when the news closed that was a sad day for everybody. there went a number of jobs in realism that were never to be recovered. as they continue to shrink that's when things began to get really tough. and for other competing places where they used to meet. they take a look at some things. they made a very good point.
when i look at it more positively this is a museum in a lot of ways. it's a great place. to be able to come and be around that for an event it makes it a good day. it's as important as it can be in any point in time. if you truly honor the past and what the future to be as positive as it possibly could be. for the denver press cub -- club to go away for whatever reason all the history would be lost. every time someone new walks through the front door it looks around they always say i have no idea. and by the time they leave i don't know how he places you
could try like that. i know this place is always like that. we are in denver colorado this week with the help of our local -- local cable partner. his book a land made from water looks into how water and irrigation helped with the founding of colorado. >> water was one of the central factors in the development. over overarching almost everything except perhaps gold in buffalo. water is one of those things that you cannot live without it central to colorado and its lifestyle in existence. in many ways water defines what is colorado in the west. with essentially a desert
area. when the first americans started to come out to the west. but the very area that we are standing in and down to the arkansas river and out. in the report they climbed it. the great american desert. they saw little wisps of trees in eastern colorado. it was very dry and they realized that there was no possibility for agriculture. in one report it even said that the possibility for physical isaiah is a she did not exist.
in eastern colorado they were coming up from places like council bluffs or the missouri river for many miles in many days on horseback on the high plane but when you got here you have the front range many of those are still flowing. things started to change. there had been other beaver trappings that have gone on extensively. also they started to hunt buffalo. here were were standing there was the brown bear.
a lot of animals like that. we saw how green the area was. there was this gradual shifting in perceptive to one that has some potential for agriculture and then everything changed. almost overnight. in 1858 just behind where we are standing at the junction cherry creek in the southside river. within a matter of a couple of years they started to move into colorado. right where it near we are standing.
all in rapid succession. people started coming but almost simultaneously with that some of the people looking for gold realized that money was not to be made in the mountains it was to be made in growing food to sell to the farmers and the minors. they were needed in the mines. and other vegetables. it was a rush to appropriate and utilize colorado's water. to be thinking about appropriation was very different from what occur in the eastern united states. they incorporated ideas from england and that basically
said if you all went next to the river you can access it. and use that water next they got out to the west and they realized that if any individual or corporation were to buy out the land along the river you can effectively shut out everyone else from using that water. so a very radical idea developed in colorado and that is the the doctrine of prior appropriation that occurred here. and it stated simply that whoever settles the land first would have the first right to water. in all of the court cases recognized that the eastern dr. would not work in colorado they said explicitly that you
can build across other people's land. imagine today creating a wall and putting it a constitution that would say i can condemn against the private property. that's almost unheard of in america. that was one of the things that was done in colorado. they said we need to be able to access water without accessing water there was no possibility of a future for the state. people that were the elites and people that would have benefited from privatizing the corridors along the rivers realized that even then if they have the most diverse use of water across the landscape it would create the greatest benefit in the constitution it
said water is a property of the people it also says that you should not deny the right to devote water to access water. it did cause problems when we started to do that. different perspectives on how that should occur. some people thought that it should prevail. others thought that the colorado system made more sense in so what happened was after the colorado constitution wasn't acted --
to figure out one of the details in concerns that was in fact a constitutional way of going forward. if you are up on left hand creek in boulder county. several people up there in 1878 that were living down below noticed it was a very dry year and they weren't getting water. and they realized a little higher up settlers were diverting water and using it and the have of that followed by the name of ruben coffin who was a civil civil war veteran he was in some of the worst titles of the civil war got together another eight or nine men and went up and all the way up into the mountains where there was a diversion in the left-hand company was
taking water into the left hand creek to bring it down. we didn't really like the idea. they were not happy about that. long story short they have a trial in boulder coffin and his buddies lost. they weren't done. they appealed it to the colorado supreme court in the supreme court justice the former heard the case and was intent on making the crime appropriation doctrine the laws of the land. it was a decision as a legal doctrine covering that.
that was the supreme court decision that was replicated around the american. as the state began to grow people started to claim more and more water capital would come in. there were companies that started to build hundred mile long ditches in the northeastern colorado others would start to bring others would start to bring they realized that the growth depended on water and they started to develop water systems. by the 20th century the rise of private capital and use of water became so money intensive that it became hard for private individuals and corporations in around that
time then we started to see governments getting into the action it was passed in congress. they started to build reservoirs. the shift from private capital to large governmental institutions. so the state of the water appropriation in the american west is still a bigger system it has changed in many ways the basic idea of this remains. if you have the senior ditch then you get higher rights to the water than the others that came after you. other things had muscled their way to the table. behind us in the possibility
of having water run for recreation. those things were never imagined in the water system was originally created but starting with the environmental movement of the 60s and 70s there was a shift in perception about how it was being used. it was critical for environmental services. people started to do things that would get more water into rivers to protect the corridors by open spaces along our rivers and do read developments. the appropriation is still there is sort of the infrastructure in the background that gets things moving it's the other things
that people see today like the passages they get people's attention. for the lifestyle that we have out here in the west is critically important to have flowing rivers they are a lifestyle amenity and then an environmental amenity. people living colorado not just to eat and grow crops people living colorado because our national environment is so wonderful that it's something that is important to coloradans into visitors out here in the west. having those free-flowing rivers is one of the essential features in the west. we are challenged and how to balance our use of the water