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Heart of the Village - TravelStorys

Walk Cuchara

Location Trip Time Travel Type
Colorado 30 minutes

Heart of the Village

You're standing in the heart of the original Cuchara Camps, which were founded by a man named Dr. George Mayes. George was originally from Memphis, Tennessee and found out about Cuchara while searching for an ideal place to bring his brother, who was in poor health. The Mayes brothers moved to the area in 1908 and it didn't take long for George to begin inviting friends and family to join him at what he marketed as a "health resort". Truth be told, there were no shops, restaurants or resort in Cuchara at the time, but George had a vision and it didn't take long before people began to buy into George's dream, putting up a small tent community along Dodgeton Creek. George envisioned more than a glorified camping village, however, and once he ran out of friends and family to talk to about the wonders of Cuchara he began running a print advertising campaign and even plastered a truck with ads about Cuchara. Those ads promised a "cool delightful climate" and "good building lots" and George drove that truck throughout Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. His main marketing message was to offer the "splendor of the Rockies" to "folks of moderate means." And, eventually, Mayes' vision began to turn into a reality. Tents up and down the Dodgeton River were eventually replaced by shanties, then cabins, and, in some cases, beautiful four-season houses. As you stand here in the village take a moment to notice the Timbers Restaurant - a relatively recent addition Now imagine back to a hundred years ago when the Chuck Wagon Restaurant stood in that same spot. It was the only restaurant, bar and dance hall in town. Across the square was the only local grocery store, now a gift shop. Standing in front of Timbers, take a look up at a wire strung overhead. That wire plays an important part in one of the unique traditions in this town. On New Year's Eve everyone gathers in the square for the annual pinecone drop in which a large handcrafted pinecone swings on a wire and pulley system. Once the pinecone reaches its target the town officially welcomes in the New Year traditionally with Auld Lang Syne. Since many locals are the "early to bed" type, the event happens at 10 PM and is referred to as "Cuchara's New York New Year's Eve."

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