Monday, January 19, 2015

Inspirational Mountaintop Ski House

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  It's a day to reflect and honor the slain civil rights leader.  It's not only a national holiday, but also a day that has become synonymous with a long ski weekend.  I don't know whether or not Martin Luther King ever skied, set foot in a ski house, or even went out into the snow.  But I do know that he has "been to the mountaintop".  And I also know of another civil rights who, like King, fought for the rights of African Americans with regard to voting, education, and other rights, but who did live in a ski town....even before it was a ski town.

These two civil rights leaders' birthdays are only a week apart, so today seems fitting to honor them both.  And on this day of recognition, I think Dr. King would welcome sharing the spotlight with one who came before him and who fought for the same things:  Barney Ford, of Breckenridge, Colorado in the 1880's.

Barney Ford was born to a white plantation owner and a black slave on January 22, 1822 in Virginia, and grew up on a South Carolina plantation.  Inspired by his mother to become well educated, Ford taught himself to read and write.  As a young man, he escaped slavery, and fled to Chicago, where he became active in the abolition movement.  There, and in various other locales including Denver, Ford eventually became a successful entrepreneur and businessman (establishing restaurants, hotels, barbershops and other businesses) despite a number of them of them having burned down.  By 1854, when he was just 32, and it was still seven years before the start of the Civil War, he was generating the 14th highest income in the state of Colorado!

Although Ford was apparently cheated out of a gold mining claim on a hill in Breckenridge (by discriminatory laws and an unscrupulous lawyer), the entrepreneurial Fords were highly successful in business and went on to become the wealthiest family in Breckenridge.  Ford played a significant role in the admission of Colorado to the Union as a free state;  and he was the first African American nominated to the Territorial Legislature.  His original house in Breckenridge is now the Barney Ford House Museum. In recognition of his civil rights efforts, a beautiful stained glass portrait of him, resides in the Colorado House of Representatives:

So, in honor of both civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King Jr. and Barney L. Ford, the Ski House of the Day is the Barney Ford Lodge, in Breckenridge:


This ski house is a beautiful 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom house on a cul-de-sac called Barney Ford Drive.  According to Zillow, this house was last sold in 2008 for $1.4 million.  

The house has an amazing panoramic view of the ski trails of Breckenridge Ski Resort, as well as the entire Ten Mile Range.  Absolutely inspirational!

"I've been to the mountaintop..."
                                                                                       Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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