A Denver Day

 Posted by at 2:07 am  Nick's Blog
Jun 212013

Yesterday we had a very busy day playing tourist in downtown Denver. So busy that by the time we got back to our motorhome at the Westminster Elks lodge campground in the late afternoon, I promptly laid down on the couch and took a nap!

We wanted to tour the U.S. Mint, but as it turns out, that takes advance planning, because tour reservations have to be made in advance and they are booked up through the end of next week. But we still found plenty to keep us busy.

Our first stop was at the Denver Firefighters Museum, housed in the historic Fire Station #1, which was built in 1909.

Fire Museum outside 

The museum has an excellent collection of antique firefighting equipment, including this 1942 American LaFrance fire truck (top) and antique steam powered fire engine (bottom).

Fire truck

Steam fire engine

There are also all kinds of vintage fire apparatus including hose carts, ladder wagons, tools, dispatch desks, and even a fire pole kids could slide down! The second floor has the dormitory firemen lived in while on duty and hands on displays for kids of all ages. I know my buddies Mac McCoy and Stu McNicol, both retired from the fire service, would love this place!

From there, we drove a couple of miles to the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys, which is housed in the wonderful old 1899 Pearce McAllister cottage. This is a place that will take you back to your childhood, with its displays of toys ranging from Teddy Bears to a model train layout and Hot Wheels.

Museum outside

But the museum’s claim to fame is the exquisitely crafted miniature houses, which are perfect in every detail, down to the plumbing pipes under the kitchen counters!

Some took more than 10,000 hours to complete and they are all true works of art. Even the cups and plates are handcrafted, as well as woven rugs on the floors!

French kitchen

There was also a display of beautiful cathedrals and castles constructed entirely of wooden matchsticks, the work of artist Paul Marti. All we could say was “Wow!”

Matchstick castle

Our day still wasn’t over! Our final stop was at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, located at what was once Lowry Air Force Base. This huge B-52 bomber greets visitors at the museum entrance.


Inside, the museum has an impressive display of aircraft ranging from experimental airplanes to military fighters, and even an Apollo Command Module test unit.

Aerial view

This is a Vietnam-era F-100 Super Sabre, the first U.S. production aircraft capable of exceeding the speed of sound in level flight.


A bit more mundane and a lot slower is this 1939 J3 Piper Cub, one of the most beloved airplanes by generations of civilian pilots who earned their wings in them. Back when I was a young man I spent a couple of years playing with little puddle jumpers and I always wanted a Cub, but the closest I ever got was to ride in a couple of them.

Nick Piper J3

When we got back to the Elks lodge campground there were a couple of new rigs here with Escapees decals on them. I wonder if they are headed to Escapade too?

Today we’re going to kick back and stay home. I have a telephone interview to do in the afternoon, and I want to get some writing done. And we need to recharge our internal batteries after our busy day playing tourist.

Thought For The Day – No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. – Mark Twain

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  4 Responses to “A Denver Day”

  1. Have you toured the Molly Brown House in Denver? I found it interesting, along with their history museum. I toured both 23 years ago and think the museum is the Colorado Museum of Natural History.

  2. I have many hours of J3 time. It was the most fun airplane I ever flew.

    See ya’ in Gillette.


  3. Older daughter is a graduate of University of Denver (1988). I visited the area a few times but mostly on campus or a drive into the mountains. Sorry I missed a lot. One of these days in our travels………

  4. Nick, you sure brought back some old memories, we were station at Lowery in 67 when Mike was stationed there for tech school. Back then they did not have aircraft there. We lived in the Aurora which at the time was a small town with one of the major Army hospitals. We knew that the hospital had closed years ago, but were not sure about Lowery. I hope that when we are in Denver next summer we will remember to tour both places. Denver was the first place I had my first legal drink, that was because you only had to be 18 to drink 3.2 beer which is awful that is why it was my only legal drink.

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