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Early Tourist Attraction: Burro Rides

Tourists in early 20th century clothing posing before setting out on a burro ride to Castle Rock.

A wide group of circa-1910 tourists, about 11 seated on burros and the rest on foot.  Castle Rock in the background.
Early Tourism: Burro Rides Up Castle Rock

Tourism was a new and growing industry in the first quarter of the 20th century. Long-distance railroads were some of the earliest instigators, encouraging people to see the sites in America–particularly the new national parks. From that beginning, tourism filtered down into increasingly local pursuits, including amusement parks such as Elitch Gardens, which were accessed by trolley systems.

Two men sit on the porch of a small wooden building with Real Estate & Insurance painted over door.  Burro tied near by.
This Quaintance office originally sat at 13th and Washington. It was later moved to the base of Castle Rock to serve as the ticket office for the Scenic Railway. - enlarge The large sign next to the door says: PHOTO CARDS WITH BURROS CAST ROCK IN BACKGROUND. 4 FOR 50 CENTS $1.25 PER DOZ. Burros For Hire 35 cents per Hour Trip to Castle Rock 50 cents Lookout Mountain $1.00(?) KODAKS FOR RENT DEVELOPING AND PRINTING

One of Golden’s earliest tourist-centric businesses offered burro rides to the top of Castle Rock. The business owner, Charles Quaintance, also operated a photography studio at 13th and Washington. He took photographs of every group as they began their ride to Castle Rock and developed the photos while they were gone. When they returned, he showed them the photos and offered them for sale. (This was a precursor to the sales tactic we still see at popular tourist spots like Disneyworld.)

Those of us who collect old photos of Golden encounter these burro photos fairly frequently, but no two are alike, since every one of them shows a different group of tourists!

Thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!