Union Station Denver, Colorado
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Westward Bound — Modern Conveniences

The end of a long, first full day of travel found the Hiles in Denver, Colorado, with a few challenges to be addressed upon their arrival.

The end of a long, first full day of travel found the Hiles in Denver, Colorado. Ella said the Denver depot was “a beautiful one,” and she was right. Originally built and opened in 1881, the original building was, at the time, the largest building in the American West. Destroyed by fire in 1894, it was rebuilt and reopened in 1914, forty feet taller than the original. The photo posted here is a modern one typical of the holiday lighting displays, and the large Union Station – Travel by Train sign was only added in 1952, but in other respects, it was much like what the Hiles experienced in 1919.

Soon, however, the idyllic landscapes that “we kept craning our necks so as to miss nothing” and the splendor of architectural excellence gave way to the practical realities of life on the road with four pre-teen children. Moreover, the journey almost ended right then and there.

We ate our supper on little round tables in the lunch room then Oscar went in search of a hotel to stop for the night.

I will state here that there were six in our partyL namely husband and myself. Wilbur age eleven, Ralph age seven, Dallas age four and Lois age two years. Lois was not feeling well for she had eaten something that did not sit well with her, and she also had a bad cold.

Oscar came back to the depot and we proceeded directly to the Wynne Hotel, where he had engaged a beautiful suite of rooms and bath. Soon our children were fast asleep in “Morpheus” arms, but Lois did not feel well and I was afraid that we would not be able to continue on our journey next morning, but I doctored her through the night, having prepared myself for emergencies, which I advise anyone to do before starting on a trip, so when morning came Lois was much better and we were able to proceed westward.

Ella Hile Diary, 4-5.

Nor did the travails end there, and as you read the next paragraph, try to keep in mind Ella and Oscar are accompanied by four pre-teen children …

On leaving the hotel we took our position in the elevator and pushed a button as per directions, expecting to descend to the ground floor but no sign did we see of moving, the scenery remained the same. We tried again (remembering the old maxim “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”) and waited a minute, breathlessly expecting Mr. Elevator to descend perhaps to dash us down into some dark abyss beneath the hotel and snuff out our lives, thereby cheating us of our trip., but, no, Mr. Elevator still refused to budge. So we did the next best thing, piled out children, luggage and all, and walked down stairs, feeling rather sheepish and unused to modern conveniences. We bought some hot rolls, cookies and fruit to go with what we already had and boarded the D & R.G. train Thursday at eight thirty May 1.

Ella Hile Diary, 5.

Fortunately, the day would get better, as the Hiles head south towards Pueblo, Colorado, and then west through the Royal Gorge, and on to Salt Lake City and places beyond. However, there would also be emotional moments of a different type along the way. See you tomorrow …

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