For 3 years, it ran in the Greeley Tribune. Since then, it has run in various subsidiaries of the Douglas County News Press. I still have most of my columns in digital format.
For many years, I only gave myself one rule: try to work the word "library" into every piece. My intent was to think in public about just what librarianship means at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.
There have been many advantages for me. I found that putting library plans out in front of the public, and getting feedback about them, helped me make better decisions. Sometimes, I found that it was very difficult for me to describe those plans or policies -- the kind of thing that makes me realize that they might not be good ideas after all. The weekly discipline of explaining my profession to the public keeps me more mindful, more honest. It also has provided steady visibility for the library and its issues.
February 24, 2000 - Restaurants Show Diversity in Douglas County
"Let's go out for lunch" This phrase is uttered about once a week in the Local History Collection. We see it as our sacred duty to sample all the restaurants within a ten mile radius of the Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock. We visit restaurants not only because we like to eat, but also because the variety of food that is available is a reflection of life in Douglas County.
For instance, in our current fast paced society everyone is rushing from one place to another as quickly as possible, stopping to eat can sometimes be just another thing that slows us down. As a result we have more than 30 fast food and pizza delivery restaurants in Douglas County. These restaurants have food preparation and service timed down to the second. They produce reliably decent food at low prices very quickly.
The world seems to be getting smaller as people work together from many different countries. Douglas County has many restaurants that allow you to sample food from other cultures. Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Italian and Greek food are all easily found in the county. These kinds of restaurants tell us about our society too. As people have gotten more interested in other cultures, ethnic restaurants have followed.
Because of Douglas County's status as one of the wealthiest counties in the country, we also have a variety of gourmet restaurants (which I define as anywhere that serves goat cheese), brew pubs, gourmet coffee shops and upscale chain restaurants. These are places where the food is expensive but good. They show us the most up to date tastes in cuisine and restaurant design.
The traditionally rural and small town flavor of the county can be seen in the many cafes, diners and bar and grills which can be found throughout Douglas County. The service is friendly, the food is excellent, and you get that nice hometown feeling from these places. The menus haven't changed that much in forty or so years, so you feel like the world is really not that fast paced after all. They also have excellent hamburgers.
Back in 1918, the Court House Cafe was open in downtown Castle Rock. J. E. Fetherolf ran a barber shop, pool hall and soft drink parlor, and Karl's Pop Corn Stand served "Pop Corn, Fresh Roasted Peanuts, Candies, Soft Drinks and Cigars." These early restaurants demonstrate what kind of "fast food" was available in Douglas County during a time when most people ate all their meals at home.
The Local History Collection documents the history of restaurants in Douglas County by collecting menus, t-shirts, advertising and other items created in the process of running a restaurant. If you have any menus from Douglas County restaurants, especially those that are now closed, we would love to talk to you so you can add to the historical record of the county. I've got to run; suddenly I'm very hungry.