Contact: Rich Kurz Page content last updated September 1, 2021
For years, I did not know when my father's father was born. Nor did my father!
But at last I found a copy of my grandfather's birth certificate, and there it was in black and white: 1908.
I also found the certificate of my grandmother.
Whenever ANYONE asked her how old she was, she said, "Twenty-nine" very emphatically or coyly.
It turned out she, too, was born in 1908.
My grandparents met in college. He went to Denison and I am guessing she must have as well.
He was always athletic and she was always petite at four foot eleven.
They married in July 1929, but I am not sure he graduated, what, with the Depression beginning.
My dad was born in late 1930, and was their only child.
Those WERE the Depression years, after all.
John's dad, my great-grandfather, called "C.A.", was an entrepreneur who became wealthy founding a number of early plastics companies during the teens to the thirties. He was also a first generation, native-born citizen whose father came over from Hamburg, Germany and settled in Chicago. C.A. was the oldest, I think, of ten children, and was named after his father, which makes him a "Jr."
Many of C.A.'s businesses failed after Black Friday and he had to start over.
My grandfather only briefly worked in his father's business as an accountant, and ended up during the 30s as an insurance agent.
I never heard or knew any of his stories of growing up or of any dates.
He was close to his cousins, but my Dad was not, and I have had no contact with any of them ever. It's sad.
Again, I think that was because of the Depression.
So you can understand my surprise and excitement upon discovering a set of small, black and white prints that my grandfather took on a trip out west in 1924. I know the dates because he annotated the photos on the back. I was doubly excited because I now live in Colorado and recognize some of the locales. The photos recount what may have been a high school graduation trip. If that is so, he graduated early, so maybe not. They traveled from Dayton, Ohio out to Colorado, to Yellowstone, to San Francisco, and up to Mt. Rainier. It's amusing to see an old Ohio-plated Dodge on the Fall River Road near the Continental Divide. The only four people we ever see in their party are my grandfater (as a 16 year old), what looks like two classmates he called Rob Sterbruch and Ted Bosler, and an adult called "Coach Marquardt".
So that would explain the situation. C.A. must have hired the high school coach to chaperone the boys on this fabulous tour out west that summer of '24.
The prints were all more than half faded and only 2-1/2" by 4-1/2" in size. But modern scanners can pull out a lot of detail. And there is a surprising amount of detail and sharpness on those old, small prints. You can see the cameras they are carrying in some of the photos. And of course, they had the problem of lag time between clicking the shutter and getting back a print . . . only to discover that a finger or a camera strap got in front of the lens.
1920s highway map showing their probable route.
This shows a deep snow drift on the way up Pike's Peak
This is a view of Coach Marquart, Ted Bosler, and myself on top of Pike's Peak. Over to the right is the observation tower.
June 25, 1924 - The Hike Up Longs Peak
This 1915 USGS map identifies the approximate locations of the photos taken on the 25th and 27th.
They were staying at Enos Mills' Longs Peak Inn, which was run by his widow at that time.
It is the beginning point of each days journeys.
The photos on the 25th up Longs Peak are lettered sequentially on the map from A to I with a carat indicating the direction of view. Using horses, they were able to do it all in daylight. Likewise, those of the 27th up Fall River Road are numbered from 1 to 9 with a carat indicating the direction of view on the map. The question marks indicate my uncertainty about the location.
"This is a view of Long's Peak Inn at the foot fo the mountain. I have marked Long's Peak. It looks as tho the peak to the left is highter, but it isn't near as high, as it is closer."
"This picture shows a typical scene around the timber line."
"This is a picture of the guide in front, bosler, then Herbruck, and Coach Marquart on horses nearing boulder field. My horse is in the rear."
"If you will look carefully you can see the horses on boulder field."
"This picture shows Coach Marquart and Rob Herbruch on boulder field. You can see the peak in the distance."
"On snow drift across boulder field while climbing Long's Peak."
"This shows our guide on the left, Shep Husted. And had made more trips to the top than any one else. Notice we are resting at the foot of a snow trough."
"This is a view of the snow trough a hard climb up to the narrows."
"This was taken from side of Lon'g Peak showing western side of the Continental Divide. You can see a dim outline of another range, which is more than fifty miles away."
"This shows the entrance to Rockey National Park
"This is a picture showing the high snow drifts in comparison with the size of the fellows. On the way up to the top of Divide."
"Another view showing the fellows and machine."
"This is a view of the Atlantic side of the Divide showing Coach Marquardt, Bosler, and Herbruch."
"We took a ride up Fall River Road into Rockey National Park. This is a view on continental Divide. Note snow banks and the "Dodge" in the distance."
"A picture of the Atlantic side of Divide. Note how distinctly the timber line shows on mountain to the left."
"This is a scene from the road showing Fall River, took this picture coming down the Divide."
"The picture here shown is a view of Fall River on our way down from the Divide to Estes Park."
"This picture taken showing part of Estes Park in foreground and mountain in rear."
(Postcard from about the same time showing Estes Park, from the south looking north.)
(The original entrance to Rocky was located outside the Park, about 1-1/2 miles from downtown Estes Park.)
(The snow cut on Fall River Road and a party of Stanley Steamers full of tourists.)
"This shows Old Faithful geyser in full play. You can see that I managed to get all of the geyser in the picture."
"This is a closeup of Old Fatherful crater between plays. It was taken within several feet of the big hole."
"Herbruch, Coach Marquardt and myself on the beach at San. Francisco Cal."
"(one of the fellows exhausted in the snow)"
"At the top of the summit looking down into the crater which is filled with snow"