Crawleys and Thatchers


DSC01520Pueblo is basically a blue-collar town on plains that roll into foothills leading to the Rocky Mountains.  Some call Pueblo “Your Melting Pot” but actually it’s 95% Caucasian and Hispanic.  Spanish-speaking immigrants began coming to Pueblo in the 19th century to work in its mines and mills and have always been part of its culture.  Today, Pueblo claims to offer low-stress lifestyles and a cost of living 13% lower than the national average.  John Thatcher, however, was seeking adventure and opportunity when he moved from Pennsylvania to Colorado in the late 19th century.

He certainly found opportunity.  John married Margaret and started a dry goods store.  By 1893 he was successful enough that they could afford to build a 37 room pink granite stone $100,000 mansion.  Margaret loved roses and called her new home Rosemount.  At one point the Thatchers owned 30 banks.  John and Margaret eventually had 5 children but, like Downton Abbey’s Crawleys, family crises and unhappy relationships followed financial and cultural success.  Rosemount is a 5 Compass attraction.

In a town where most homes were made of adobe, the Thatchers clearly wanted to impress.  They hired an architect who had built a home for Thomas Edison and, seeking the latest innovations, spared no expense. Rosemount had a room just for dishes and an intercom system that reminded me of Downton Abbey.  In fact, a lot about this house, like Chicago’s Driehaus and the Bay Area’s Filoli, reminded me of Downton Abbey.  If an American version follows the British one when it’s 5 season run ends, which has been announced, I’d nominate Rosemount or one of the other two for filming.   Margaret Thatcher, by the way, would be an amusing name for the family matriarch in an American version of a British series.

Ruth loved the uncharacteristic Tiffany chandeliers hanging throughout the mansion, and I loved the go-for-the-size-record front porch.  Speaking of size, A 9 by 13 feet Victorian stained glass window named “Kingdoms of Nature” was and still is certain to impress anyone climbing the stairs to the 2nd floor.  Other unique construction touches included an army range stove in the kitchen that now looks just like an expensive outdoor grill.  Wired for electricity, the light fixtures converted to natural gas after dark.

Of the 5 Thatcher children, Albert died when he was 3 and Lenore got meningitis at the age of 23 while preparing for her wedding.  She didn’t survive.  The Thatchers’ 2nd daughter Lilian married but divorced quickly and moved back to Rosemount.   She took back the Thatcher name and eventually redecorated the house.  Her brother John Henry became a rancher with 3 children.  His great-grandson now runs the family spread. Raymond never married and stayed in Rosemont until he died in 1968.  The house retains 85% of its original furnishings thanks to Raymond’s longevity and family involvement that continues via a foundation.





About roadsrus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roadsrus

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