The Gargoyles of West 7th Street
Watching Over Trick-Or-Treat Street
by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor
Some are squat, some winged, some in collar and chains, and some dragons with lanterns in their mouths. Not all are on the street level; keep an eye out high above for the best-hidden gargoyles overlooking the westside street where these creatures meet!
By far the most Halloween-spirited street in Leadville is West 7th Street. Not only home to the one-and-only Trick-or-Treat Street, but West 7th is also speckled with oddities that on a cold, fall night raise neck-hairs and quicken a step. Towering tangled cottonwoods, crooked staircases, and more than a dozen gargoyles – all on the first block!
At the beginning of West 7th Street on historic Harrison Avenue stands both the Masonic Lodge and The Tabor Grand Hotel. The Tabor Grand claims itself the tallest building in the city, with its daunting height and architecture, along with the stories one might overhear from residents about the alleged tunnels and pathways that run beneath it – make for a grand entrance to Halloween Street. But no gargoyles stand guard there.
About Gargoyles in Leadville Today
Gargoyles were a centerpiece of Gothic architecture, popularized during the Medieval Age between the years 1200 and 1500 AD. They were designed as an early decorative gutter, spouting water clear from the walls and foundations of a structure. Technically, such a creature that does not serve as a waterspout is not called a gargoyle, but a grotesque. While gargoyles primarily served drainage for stone castles, it is believed their secondary purpose is to represent and ward off evil entities from trespass. The bestial features of a gargoyle were determined by the stonemason alone.
After Stapleton Manor, West 7th then climbs high to overlook all of Leadville around the 700 block. Large Victorian homes tower on the north side of the street, reached by narrow recessed staircases which lead to massive lawns. Other spooks and guards of the netherworld keep watch, including a glam-rock skull in a rainbow wig on a pike, and Chinese guardian lions or “foo dogs.” A view south-and-east offers Leadville between a wrought-iron fence and the Mosquito mountain range.
West 7th Street then descends a hill and intersects West 8th, which brings the nightwalker back around to Harrison to start in a loop over again. It would take several trips to spot all of the more than fifteen gargoyles and grotesques that live on West 7th.
This is the week for a proper meet-and-greet with these watchful statues on Trick-or-Treat Street. Happy Halloween!
Brennan Ruegg works in the Lake County School District, taking good care of your children.
Make It Sweet at 10,200 Feet!
Leadville’s Trick or Treat Street will be happening from 5 – 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31 – Halloween. Held annually on the first two hundred blocks of W. 7th Street, this family-friendly event offers a safe, traffic-free place for kids to get their treats door-to-door. Costumes abound and most of the neighbors decorate their houses, getting into the spirit.
Remember, this year there will be NO haunted mansion. After 20 years, The Stapletons put the fright-filled house tour to rest last year – at least for now! But you’ll still see them handing out some goodies! To fill in that gap a “Spooky Zaitz Park” is in the works for Halloween night at Leadville’s downtown city park located on the east side of Harrison between 6th and 7th Streets.
Trick or Treaters are also encouraged to visit downtown businesses from 6th Street north to 8th Street who will be ready with some goodies for the costumed kiddos. This will happen from 5 – 6 p.m.
For the adult set, Periodic Brewing will host a Hoppy Hour Halloween special on October 31 with ½ off drafts for those in costume. Treeline Kitchen will be offering some hot cider to help keep everyone warm as temperatures are forecasted to be in the teens on Thursday night. Bundle up!
For weekend warriors, there are some options. The Manhattan Bar will have their Halloween Party on Friday beginning at 9 p.m. and includes a costume contest. Also on Friday a few blocks south on Leadville’s man drag, local band Groovespeak will be laying down some tunes and cranking up the Monster Mash dance floor at The Scarlet. The music kicks off at 9 p.m. down on the corner of 3rd and Harrison in downtown Leadville on November 1.
That’s a wrap for the spookiest day of the year at 10,152 feet in Leadville Today. Have a safe and Happy Halloween!
The Thriller Flash Mob from Halloween 2012