Rex Hotel debris yields love letters from the past
By Philip Yates
Special to the Post Independent
When the Rex Hotel was demolished, love stories arose from the ashes. Scattered among whiskey bottles, tobacco tins and the ashes from wood and coal stoves were love letters, hidden for decades.
They told stories of desperate loneliness and unrequited devotion.
“As far as the men are concerned… I hate them all and would just like to make a fool out of them all,” wrote Pauline, a woman from Calipatria, Calif., to her beau Jack O’Brien who was living in Glenwood Springs in 1928. “All except you dear heart mine. I would give my life for you and I mean it.”
Maybe cast into the trash by spurned lovers or uncaring lotharios, the letters escaped historical oblivion when construction workers discovered them in the debris of the Rex Hotel while tearing the building down in November 2000.
Floyd Diemoz, owner of Diemoz Construction, brought the letters forward April 30 during a farewell party for Heather McGregor, managing editor for the Post Independent.
He explained that the Rex Hotel was built as a free-standing structure at 7th and Blake, with windows on the east and west sides.
Some years later, the Star Hotel was built along the west side of the Rex, leaving just a five-inch gap between the two buildings.
Apparently Rex guests tossed trash out the west windows into the gap, where it moldered for decades until the Rex demolition brought it to light.
“Just imagine a little mound,” said Diemoz. “When we started to dig into it, my men brought over some of these letters.”
Diemoz’s crew found 11 letters, all of them written by two women baring their souls for their loves in Glenwood Springs – men who had found new lives in Colorado. Workers didn’t find any replies from the men.
In her letters, written from May to September, 1928, Pauline wondered if O’Brien loved her, even as he was gambling for a living.
“Jack I love you as much that know (sic) matter if you should do the same thing over and over and come to me for forgiveness every time I would take you to my heart and love you and help you… There is nobody else I love. Do you still love me, dear just a little bit?”
In a strange coincidence, letters from a Tennessee woman, written almost eleven years later, were found bundled together with Pauline’s letters.
Jewell, a woman from Turtletown, Tenn., shared Pauline’s loneliness, hoping she could see her love, Eugene Eversole.
“Dearest, I love you so and want to hear you say you love me and to feel your arms around me once more and to know that you are wholly mine,” Jewell wrote, in a Feb. 14, 1940, letter.
Because the gap between the buildings was open to the weather, rain and snow had soaked the letters, making them almost impossible to separate when Diemoz first took them home.
“My attitude was that they were so moldy, I could do nothing with them,” said Diemoz, thinking of trashing the letters. He quickly changed his mind.
“This is beautiful, I have got to save it,” Diemoz remembered thinking. He let them dry, which unlocked the letters’ secrets. Now, he is transfixed by the letters, wondering what happened to Pauline and Jewell, and the lives of their wayward lovers.
Still, he is confused why the letters were found together, even though they were written almost a decade apart. Did Eugene and Jack know each other?
“Did they carry them with themselves, compare their love letters, and after some drinks, decide to throw them out the window?” Diemoz wondered.”Did they carry them with themselves, compare their love letters, and after some drinks, decide to throw them out the window?” Diemoz wondered.
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