Saturday, April 07, 2007

Evergreen? Perhaps Not!

Just south of Denver is the suburban town of Littleton, Colorado. Littleton is a nice bedroom community with the typical homes and businesses one expects to find. Santa Fe Drive is one of the primary north-south routes through town, and as such, is always very busy. Heading south out of Denver, Santa Fe splits off from I-25 just south of downtown, and meets the highway again in the town of Castle Rock, in Douglas County. This road was once the main highway along the front range, as it was, and still is, US Highway 85. Although it has been superseded by Interstate 25 for long distance travelers, it is still an important local corridor, as it carries a heavy traffic load, as well as having a light rail route parallel to it.

Back in the days when US 85 was an important long distance highway, it was much like many others. As it passed through the towns and cities, there were motor hotels, or motels along the side of the road. In Littleton there remains one such business, the Evergreen Motel. Lying just to the north of Arapahoe Community College, and beside a McDonalds restaurant, this establishment has outlived its time. I didn't think it was operating any longer, but it does have a telephone listing, so I guess it is. With land values what they are, I would think its time is running out. Yet, I can easily imagine a time a few short decades ago, when the glowing neon and fresh paint on the sign that today shows the ravages of the years, beckoned weary travelers to a night of rest along the busy highway. The comfort of "steam heat" must have been something that seemed very soothing on cold nights along a snowy Colorado byway.

What was once an oasis of warmth and sleep now stands largely forgotten along the side of the road, cramped in between more recent structures, awaiting its meeting with the unforgiving wrecker's ball. When that happens, one more piece of mid-Twentieth Century Americana will be gone.

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