One of my many projects here at Blackstone Rivers Ranch is to fill the Events Center with photographs of Idaho Springs when it first began. I’ve been working with Don at the Historical Society of Idaho Springs to fill it with wonderful photographs dating back to the 1900’s. Don has been spending a lot of time taking these old glass negatives and making them like new again! His work is beyond impressive and he has so many to choose from! It was hard to pick just a few. While working with Don, I have learned a lot about the history and the stories behind all the pictures I have chosen to fill the Events Center, and thought it was a good idea to give you a taste of what I’ve been learning!
The majority, if not all, of the photographs I have picked are done by Clarence Marchington. Clarence Marchington was born January 12, 1875 in Georgetown, Colorado. His father was a mill man and miner and his family actually prospected much of the mines here around the Clear Creek County area.
Prior to his photography, Clarence Marchington used to own a bowling alley. After that, he worked for Louis Teitzle at his photography studio, which is where he met Emma White. Emma was in Idaho Springs visiting her Aunt Marsha from Mystic, Iowa when their romance began. Clarence and Emma got married in December 9th, 1901 and on their honeymoon they both enrolled in the Guerin College of Photography in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1902, they returned to Idaho Springs to open their own photography studio at 1633 Miner Street (which they bought from his past mentor, Teitzle and is now the Westwinds Tavern). Their store not only included taking photos, but later added novelties, framing, fishing tackle and sporting equipment. Clarence also used to paint his own post cards! They used to have a whole wall dedicated to his one of a kind post cards that people could purchase! Clarence did a lot of work photographing the mines, taking portraits and documenting the landscape around Clear Creek County.
Emma and Clarence had three children: Grace was born March 13th, 1963; Sam was born November 18th, 1904; and Dorothy was born December 5th, 1906. All of which later got married and had children of their own.
Clarence Marchington retired from photography in 1935, and gave his store to his daughter, Dorothy, and her husband. They remodeled it into a grocery and meat business. After ‘retiring’, he was asked to help at the Metszer Plant (which is now the Arapahoe Manufacturing Company) in Englewood to make bullets for the war in 1942. He stayed there until the war was over and he was said to be the last employee to leave!
Later, him and his wife moved to Englewood, where they both died. Emma passed away August 6th, 1961 and Clarence died December 17th, 1963. Just a few days passed what would have been their 62nd wedding anniversary.
One of my favorite photographs that I had printed is one we call the Greek Goddess. There are three different versions of this photograph. All of different women (what a scandal)! One of the three photographs taken, was of Emma, Clarence’s wife! This photograph is a different woman, and is truly beautiful! Wrapped in a bed sheet and set on top of a pedestal, it is definitely something to be looked at in awe! This photograph is flawless!
My other favorite photograph is of their children, Dorothy and Sam. Not only do they look like they had a full day of hunting, but the rabbit is almost as big as Sam! What a fun family day indeed.
All these photographs and more can be seen at the Events Center at Blackstone Rivers Ranch! Come and enjoy our history and all we have to offer! Blackstone Rivers Ranch is overflowing in history and we would love for you to come and learn with us! If you would like to learn more, go to the Visitors Center in historic Idaho Springs to see and learn so much more! The people at the Historical Society of Idaho Springs are absolutely wonderful people and are happy to share what they know. All just a short drive into town from Blackstone Rivers Ranch!
For more information about the Historical Society of Idaho Springs, go to: http://historicidahosprings.com