3 generations of Hubbards in Glenwood Springs, 3 Grand Avenue bridges
Bridge ribbon cutting event
Friday, June 22, under the bridge at 7th Street
9:45 a.m. – Children’s chorale
10 a.m. – Speeches, including an expected appearance by Gov. John Hickenlooper
10:45 a.m. – Time capsule is sealed, followed by ribbon cutting and cake
11 a.m. – TwangBox band performs
* Look for Post Independent Facebook Live video from the event
Glenwood Springs will, once again, witness bridge history on Friday.
The brand new Grand Avenue Bridge — gateway to a city known for its defiant, roaring history a la Doc Holliday to the more serene hot springs — will officially be dedicated with a special ceremony.
The event marks the official completion next week of the two-and-a-half-year-long, $126 million bridge project.
While Friday’s Grand Avenue Bridge ribbon cutting and time capsule ceremony will feature distinguished speakers including Gov. John Hickenlooper, the event will also afford one long line of Glenwood Springs natives quite a unique opportunity.
In case you have not already, meet the Hubbards: a family who, over the course of three generations, after Friday, will have witnessed the dedications of all three Grand Avenue Bridges.
Dating back to the late 19th century, Charles Hubbard, grandfather of Carleton “Hub” Hubbard, heard the construction and saw the finalization of the original Grand Avenue Bridge and the revolutionary route it paved across the Colorado (Grand) River into the city in April 1891.
Hub’s father, Carleton Hubbard senior, also saw the original bridge, in addition to the one later constructed in 1953 and with a young Hub.
“He was brought here as a baby in 1887, so he lived with the old bridge its entire life also,” Hubbard explained of his father Carleton. “So he was very happy to have a new bridge in 1953.”
While Hubbard cannot say he saw it with his own eyes, the lifelong Glenwood resident recounts a story that a small plane once actually flew underneath the second Grand Avenue Bridge in the 1950s.
“This was after the Army, after World War II. He had been a pilot. He flew his plane under the Grand Avenue Bridge,” Hubbard said of the unidentified flyer. Definitely not an official part of any dedication ceremony, Hubbard explained, “I think he had a few beers.”
Hub, however, does vividly remember driving over the old 1953 bridge and down Grand Avenue in his historic, all American automobile.
“When I was in high school, my father bought me a used car. It was a 1932 Ford pickup, and it would not go over 30 miles an hour,” Hubbard said. “Not every kid in town had a car, and I would get a bunch of kids in the back of it, and we would just drive up and down cruising the strip on Grand Avenue in the evenings in the summer.”
When asked how the “Glenwood strip” of today compares to those summer nights driving down it with his friends in his 1932 Ford pickup, Hubbard, without question, misses a particular food.
“I can remember things that were there that have certainly changed over the years, probably for the better. Although, I’m not sure, some of the things that were there when I was growing up … were pretty neat. There were hamburger stands on Grand Avenue.”
Hubbard also mentioned having been a regular at the soda fountain or what locals back in the day referred to as, “The Goodie Shop.”
“We even had a theater. Two theaters in town at that time,” Hubbard said.
Today, Hubbard along with countless other Glenwood residents in attendance at the ceremony may sign a scroll, which will go into a time capsule to remain sealed until presumably July 2085 — the city’s bicentennial celebration year. At which time Glenwood Springs’ future generations will undoubtedly remember and pay tribute to lifelong Glenwood residents like those of “Hub” Hubbard and his family.