Frontier Historical Society and Museum
The abrupt, deafening silence of nature was perhaps louder than the sound of the once-running engine. George Gibbons Hayes sat alone, his motorcycle stuck in the snow on his Four Mile Creek mail route. The engine was dead. He needed to plan his next move.
The weather had been deceiving. Christmas Eve 1914 was mild. A simple skiff of snow was present in Glenwood Springs, leading Hayes to believe he could use the post office’s Harley Davidson motorcycle instead of his mules and wagon to make a fast delivery to the Sunlight coal camp.
So it was that carrier Hayes struck out for Sunlight, but it was not long before the skiff of snow turned deeper. As he climbed a hill halfway to his destination, the Harley Davidson bogged down. A cylinder blew, and Hayes was stranded.
Perhaps he remembered the disappointing Christmases of his past. Perhaps he felt a sense of duty. Either way, Hayes grabbed his mail pouch and loaded the packages on his back.
Through a deepening snow and with one solid step at a time, the postal carrier cut a path to Sunlight. Night fell. Finally, at one o’clock in the morning, he stumbled out of the darkness and cold and through the doorway of Sunlight’s lighted and warm company store. He was ten hours late, but those waiting for him did not mind. The packages Hayes delivered provided holiday happiness and necessities in an otherwise austere world.
The postman dried himself by the fire, drank some hot coffee and ate some gingersnaps. He then started the long walk back to Glenwood Springs.
After all, Hayes promised to provide the best service he could. For Christmas 1914, his dedicated service was one of the most appreciated gifts he delivered.
The Frontier Historical Society Museum’s 2006 calendar is now available at the museum store, Book Train, Through the Looking Glass and the Chamber. This year’s offering contains historic photographs of events in Glenwood Springs, including the opening of the first Grand Avenue bridge, Professor Harrington’s All Star Minstrels, the Ginger Cookie Band and square dancing in the middle of Grand Avenue. All proceeds benefit the museum. For more information, call 945-4448.
“Frontier Diary” is provided to the Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday.
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