I've split my time between Guffey Colorado and Colorado Springs for the past four years.  Times and lives change and I"m moving on now, selling the "Hobbit House" and concentrating on my little slice of heaven here in the Springs.

 From the start I"ve known that Guffey is a special place, a unique place in Colorado I would argue.  The tiny population (26 but 700 in that postal area) is not what makes it unique but its location and people.   Unlike the locals I can't claim to fully understand what makes Guffey tick but a few observations might be interesting. 

It's been described as "thirty miles from everything and close to nothing". Think of it: Canon City, 30 miles. Hartsel 28 miles.  Florissant 28 miles. Cripple Creek, 28 miles.  Divide 30 miles.  The nearest gas station is 20 miles away at Evergreen Station.  The town (which legally is not even a "town") has no police, no grocery, no cell phone service (unless you drive 3 miles to the top of Gold Hill and get lucky), no daily newspaper, no DSL and no church.  The relative isolation of Guffey enhances its uniqueness in sort of the same way as mountains encouraged the individual development of Greek city-states.  Not a few would count this isolation as a positive.  Opinions are still divided as to the need for cell phone service.

 Since I lived on "Main Street"(obviously a turn of the 20th century booster idea) there were three standard questions asked by lost passers-by: 1. How far to Cripple Creek? 2. Where can I buy gas? 3. Why doesn't my cell phone work? Since it's not on the way to anything you need to happen upon it, like Brigadoon or be specifically looking for it.

On the positive side Guffey has a fine volunteer fire department and EMS, a thriving, modern library, a rec center and a K-8 community school with its own telescope.  Two saloons/restaurants serve as the unofficial community center in the evenings while Rita's Place is the coffee shop and art gallery where locals meet in the morning.  Rita Mick, the gracious owner and entrepreneur, along with the table full of locals referred to as the"Prevaricator's Club" made me a welcome member of the community "from the git go". The social calendar is dotted with appearances by regional folk and country musicians at Rita's, the Freshwater and the Bull Moose along with fun and fund raising events at the Community School. 

 Guffey seems to be comprised of people who went there on purpose to find tranquility, natural beauty and the room to swing their arms without meeting someone else's nose.  I think you might be surprised at the diversity of lifestyles and philosophies in Guffey. Both male and female pioneers of Guffey pride themselves on self-sufficiency and independence.  There seems to be a comfortable balance of both female and male craftsmen, tradesmen and artists. 

How many towns the size of Guffey have their own wolf preserve, animal hospice, observatory, veterinarian,  world-class bronze sculptor, town museum and 4th of July "chicken fly"?

The economy of Guffey is tenuous, like most small towns.  Locals are content with night skies that show that there really IS a Milky Way (WOW!), with fishing and hunting on limited public lands and the knowledge that what  each of them  does is important to every other person in the town.  There are a number of millionaires living in the vicinity but you'd never know it when they kick back with a Bud longneck at the Freshwater or Bull Moose.  If there are such things as status symbols in town they might include a new Dodge pickup or a freezer of elk steaks. 

 They are jealously proud of their little town and most can't imagine living in any city.  My old friends at the round table at Rita's might not agree but I feel that there are are lot of unregistered libertarians running around free and unfettered in Guffey.  That's why the unofficial motto of Guffey is "Guffey-Either you get it or  you don't".

The pure dark nights and impossibly gorgeous night sky in Guffey makes it an ideal location for a Chris Peterson's observatory.  Those in Guffey prize the dark, heavenly night sky so much that leaving yard lights or flood lights on is strongly frowned upon. 

I will miss the ability to know almost everyone in a town, to matter to them, and to care about everything that happens in town.  If you are seeking a nearby escape from pollution, crime, traffic and big brother you could do worse than stopping at Rita's Place for a cup of coffee and community.  But please, leave your big city pre-conceptions and ideas behind, remembering that it's Guffey----either you get it or you don't!

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Tags: Guffey, Place, Ritas, hobbit, small, town

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Comment by Robert J. Armstrong on January 29, 2013 at 1:17pm

Guffy is indeed an interesting little town. My wife and I made a side trip there last fall after seeing trees near Cripple Creek. We really enjoyed hot chocolates and some fresh oatmeal pie at Rita's! It is a fun place to visit and helps get one off the busy road between Divide and Cripple Creek and to see the back road to 11-mile lake. We also had fun seeing the wild donkeys along the road and even had a few heads inside our car window looking for apples. CUTE!

 

Bob and Jan Armstrong

Colorado Springs

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