Getting to know … Angela & Buster Beck
On a quiet street in Red Cliff, amid both dilapidated and newly renovated houses, one home has stood for the better part of a century.Buster and Angela Beck have called Red Cliff home for nearly their entire lives, and have witnessed this small mountain town evolve with the surrounding landscape. From the birth of Vail to the death of Gilman, the Becks have established deep roots in one of the Valleys most unique towns.We dropped by and paid a brief visit, to see what has changed and what hasnt in the tiny mountain enclave.
BB It doesnt even resemble how it used to be. There are very few of the houses left that were here when I was a kid. A lot of them have been torn down, and they just build a new one on top of it.
AB Well my mother was from Leadville and my dad was from Salida…BB Ive been living in this house for 82 years. I wasnt born here, but moved here shortly after I was born of course I dont remember that, so Ive lived in this house really my whole life.
AB Well, in those days, women stayed home. We didnt have jobs, and we had a big family with 10 children, so I took care of them. Buster was a log cutter when we got married, and he worked in the Gilman area, the state reservoir, and helped bring water to Denver.BB I worked as a log cutter for years. I worked for a while at Gilman, and also did work at Climax for more than 20 years.
BB I dont think we had many stores left by the time Gilman closed down … I suppose it was actually a dying town. Vail started up and thats where most people started working.AB I worked at the post office. I had worked my senior year half a day, and went to school for half a day. The postmaster here got cancer and they wanted to see if I could go to work. So I worked in Red Cliff for a while, and worked in Gilman until they closed it down … Then got transferred to Vail and I retired there.BB She didnt tell you she was the postmaster at Gilman when they closed it down.
BB We used to have two grocery stores in the town, along with three gas stations. And I dont even know how many bars, but a number of different stores, a clothing store …
AB It used to be pretty self-sufficient back in those days, because most people didnt have cars …BB I think one of the biggest changes was when Vail started. That, and the fact that the railroad quit running through here, and there were two sawmills at one time. Then the mining shut down, and the sawmills and some other businesses followed. AB Now you have to drive to Leadville or Minturn just to get gas …
AB Just be prepared.BB Thank God we still have a liquor store! (laughs). Want to see someone profiled in our Getting to Know feature? E-mail email@example.com, or call (970) 748-0049.
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