It's Really All About Art!
This side project of mine began in 1957, when I was 15 years old. The Denver Tramway Corporation, where my father was general attorney and Grandad was the president, was moving to a new building and destroying all photos, records, maps, and documents of historical value! Knowing how interested I had always been in Denver's streetcars, Dad brought the company's only complete set of the company's employee bulletin called "Tram Topics" home for me. Mom had different ideas, and within a month, she hauled this treasure (the only existing full set) to the "ash pit" and destroyed it. Now carefully on guard against further conflagrations, Dad took me with him to the Tramway's office building where I found a book with almost 100 rare photos of tramway streetcars taken during the 1920s, as well as an official history of the company. This history, which I copied by hand, became the first writing for my eventual three-volume set of books, as well as my first research. Through the Western History Department of the Denver Public Library, I located two Denver Tramway historians and photographers who became my new-found friends: Ed Haley and Dick Kindig. They photocopied, and thus preserved, the photos in this book. I knew someday that I would publish a book about Denver's streetcars, one of the great loves of my childhood, and I was so grateful that I was not getting help toward this direction.
I forgot all about the idea of a streetcar book during the 1960s and 1970s. Finally in 1983, while living in Santa Rosa California, I thought about the book again and inquired with some friends in Colorado: "Is anyone working on a book?" "Not really," was the answer, but I was told about a Tramway employee who had collected thousands of pictures and they were now for sale. This man, Jim Kunkle, shipped me thousands of photos and slides, and I went through them and bought most of them at a very reasonable price. Now I knew I was going to write that book.
I moved back to my home state of Colorado in 1984, and I contacted my old friend, the late Dick Kindig, who was one of Colorado's greatest railroad photographers and a big fan and documentor of the Tramway, and he introduced me to the late Rev. Morris Cafky. Morris was the author of several of the great books about Colorado railroading and a also a Tramway enthusiast. We teamed up to write the ultimate book on Denver's streetcars: a three-volume history. Soon the late Ed Haley, who was an amazing researcher, writer, and authority, came on board as a writer and researcher. His primary interest were the beginnings - the horse and cablecars of the 19th century. Kenton Forrest soon began helping as our chief editor and finally co-author. From 1984 to 1990, I made trips from Fort Collins to Denver, to work with Ed, and I spent many hours in front of microfilm machines, going through Denver's old newspapers... doing the research. The third and final volume of this huge work came out in 2011... a 54-year journey for me.