19 Jun 2008 2 Comments
We had a co-op today called spy school. I’d tell you more about it…………but I’d have to kill you. No, just kidding. The girls got a file folder with all kinds of codes and instructions for how to by a spy. Things like doing a dead drop or a live drop, how to hide messages and the best part, coding. I said a dead drop is kind of like letterboxing. There’s this one box in Central City in a casino, hidden in a phone booth. You have to solve all kinds of puzzles to find letterboxes, maybe now the kids can help me find that one at Buffalo Bill’s grave (argh, I can’t find it!!) They had to decode clues to find a plate of cookies.
Each time they used a different code. They practiced decoding with a graph cipher, an alphabet wheel and others. Before we found all the clues A’s husband came home and removed a snake for her so we got to pet it.
Spy school and herpetology all in one! (It’s a garter snake, don’t worry.) Then the kids got back to decoding and found the cookies.
I got a packet for Joel so I’m sure we’ll have all kinds of codes next week.
After lunch we went back to the Aurora history museum. I know I was just there, but they opened up the Presidential campaign exhibit.
It was so cool. We saw a list of all the presidents and which states they came from.
We saw buttons from Colorado campaigns and some really old ones in the presidential boxes.
Every time we go here to see an exhibit I give the kids some paper to draw on. So they took off to draw donkeys, plates, buttons and elephants.
Hannah just drew circles.
We read the quotes on the walls and talked about each one.
I played ‘I spy’ with the buttons. I had them find buttons with bunting, buttons with state outlines, and buttons with elephants.
We noticed that the democrats had no buttons with donkeys on them. We talked about how in Tom and Jerry when Tom is stupid or has something put over on him, he has a donkey face. We decided that the donkey symbol isn’t shown because it reminds people of stupidity or ignorance. We saw the first ballot box used in Golden, CO, and lots of campaign ads.
They had a TV going that showed presidential campaign ads for television, we watched some of it, but it was 2 hours long so we didn’t see the whole thing. We saw all of the merchandising for the different parties and people.
Hmmm…..who do you think Kerry was aiming at with this pill box?
Hannah thought the smiling peanut was so funny, she just cracked up!
Bethany liked looking at the buttons for Roosevelt (he was in ‘Night at the Museum‘ after all.)
We also saw the pics of the 1908 DNC convention in Denver, wow 100 years and they’re back!
(1908 was also the year the capitol was completed, maybe they hurried it up for that.)
After that room we went down the hall to the Googie architecture. Now, what is Googie (not google) architecture? Glad you asked. We were here not that long ago for the Art deco exhibit and now we travel forward to Googie. It is a design that has flat roofs, straight lines, uses dingbats (that sounds familiar) to attract people on their signs and is associated with the space age and rockets. Think George Jestson. They had examples of architecture and signs in here. Here is the McDonalds on Colfax.
Now, it’s not really Googie architecture because it’s not old, it was just built to look old. But the straight lines of the front with the holes in the curve and the neon sign, very Googie. Here is the La Pradera restaurant and lounge.
The building isn’t googie, but the sign is. This sign uses dingbats to lure the traveler in. The martini glass and the arrow point to the building and the arrow also points to the drink. It’s easy to find the signs, but the actual architecture of a building is harder to find. The Los Toritos building is an example of the space age, flat roof, and angular lines building of the time.
Most of the old buildings have been torn down (See the Ranger motel sign below. That’s why the sign says ‘live like there’s no tomorrow’!) So, we end up with Googie style being mostly about signs and not buildings.
We played around in the middle room, dressing up and making our own googie signage.
I grabbed a folder of historic places in Aurora and found 3 off of Colfax. Then I thought, why not go by and see these and have the girls spot the Googie signs/buildings on the way? So we did!
Here is the McDonalds; we always go by here after seeing a performance at the Fox theater (which is art deco in design.)
Here is the La Pradera lounge.
Here is the Ranger motel, which was being all chopped up, I’m not sure if they’re re-doing it or tearing it down. Again the arrow pointing to a good nights sleep, the cowboy on the horse is typical of the western motif in the area in the 50’s and the letters are cursive for Ranger and square for motel.
Here is Los Toritos and the neat Jestson like front.
Here is the Driftwood motel, again a dingbat arrow and the different font in the signage.
Then we turned to go to the Centennial house, a Queen Anne Victorian that was built in 1890.
It is the oldest of 9 remaining homes that Donald Fletcher built for his community (that would be Fletcher, later Aurora.) The highlight of the home is indoor plumbing and an upstairs bathroom. Next is the H. M. Milliken house, another Queen Anne under the wrap-around porch (added in 1910) that was built in 1891.
Milliken was the first mayor of Fletcher. Next was the Hornbein building built in 1953. I wanted to see the inside, but it was closed. It is Usonian style (a style developed by Frank Lloyd Wright) that uses natural finishes, open interior spaces and is influenced by Japanese design. Here you can see the high square windows and next the flat square sides lined up in a diagonal.
Last to see were the guardhouses at General’s park, another place we usually visit after shows at the Fox.
They were built in 1919 and were the entryway to the Fitzsimmons base. They are mission revival style; now they guard the park and the health center that rose up from the base remains.
If you have a chance, go see the exhibit now and then drive down Colfax to enjoy the space age designs before they’re all gone.