Friday, October 24, 2014

From Little House on the Prairie, to Big House-on the Prairie!

George Norlin, from Kansas to Colorado.

"A philosopher of ancient times once dared the paradox that the greatest good fortune lies, not in having the most possessions, but in having the fewest wants."

George Norlin, President, University of Colorado from 1919 - 1940


          Laura Ingalls Wilder got the credit for her recollections of a childhood in the Midwestern woods and northern prairie, but one suspects that if she (or her daughter) hadn't written them down, we would have a backup account from George Norlin.

His Swedish parents arrived in the United States in 1869, and two years later he was born in a little cabin about 100 miles northwest of Junction City, Kansas, near today's Concordia. Later in life he remembered the storms, locusts, floods, beautiful days, festivals and everything else that accompanied that challenging life.  He remembered the little schoolhouse, a mile and a half from his home, to which he was thrilled to go every day classes were held.  Hastings, in Nebraska, was not far to the north, and after college there, he went to the University of Chicago for a degree in Classics.  He started teaching Greek and related classical studies at the University of Colorado in 1899, and in 1901 went to Europe and the U.K. on his first sabbatical.  This was providential, because he met Minnie, his future wife, at the Sorbonne.  They were married in June 1904, and what is even more providential is this:  Minnie was the niece of John Covert, the American Consul at Lyons.  And he owned the house on the right, at 907 12th Street!  So when George and Minnie came back to Boulder, they had nice new digs in a recently built (1885) big house on the prairie.  And it was on the prairie!  If you look at contemporary photos, you see hardly any trees; just prairie grassland, which in many areas persisted for a few more decades. In 1917 George was called to be an interim president, standing in for President Farrand, who had gone to oversee the Red Cross effort in France (Farrand went on to take the presidency at Cornell University in 1919, so Norlin lost his "interim" status, and he and Minnie moved into the President's residence on campus.  Minnie had bought the 12th St. house in 1914, so in 1919 she sold it.

The house has had few owners; five from the Coverts through the current one, and is in excellent condition.  It is for sale now, and if you would like a tour feel free to give me a call!

I am not the listing agent, but he will be delighted if I bring a buyer.

In a future posting I will discuss Norlin's collection of essays and addresses, Things in the Saddle. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1940. 

All the best,

Jim Broaddus  303-819-8895

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ruminations on an Old Art Education Book

"Great is the man who can dream and then with a pencil, paint and brush, change his dream into a perfectly designed automobile, an artistically planned park or a beautiful cathedral."

Thomas G. Nichols

 We found this wonderful old book edited by Bess Eleanor Foster last week, and want to know more about it, then share with you what we have learned!

It is comprised of paper cut-out projects, and has examples of completed work by children from kindergarten through the early grades.  The artists who did the illustrations and project outlines seemed to have an arts-and-crafts background, and an illustration of one child's painting appears to be a bit fauvist.  Included are three sheets with drawings by a child.

 The publisher, T.G. Nichols of Kansas City, also published a series entitled The Teachers Extensions, involving several volumes on civic education. And, in 1938 Nichols published a series of posters the Character Culture Citizenship Guide.  Our copy is for sale!

Call me at 303-819-8895.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


"People often tell me that what surprises them most is watching me cook and talk at the same time."  Jacques Pepin

Like walking down the street and chewing gum at the same time?  I don't think so!  This is a book for aspiring professionals by an experienced professional, starting with the basics! Pepin published La Technique in 1976, La Methode in 1979, and put them together in this edition of 2001. 830 pages including the index, and it's good for you, whether or not the recipes are.  A fine to as-new copy, it is $15.00 at the shop.

It came in with around fifteen others, a few of which are pictured here. 

Come in and take a look, at our other cookbooks as well!

We have other cookbooks for professionals and talented amateurs-Laurel's Kitchen, a massive work by Bilheux and Escoffier on Special and Decorative Breads, and a large work from Cordon-Bleu.  Not to mention a title on Elvis's favorite recipes (which surely contributed to his early demise).

Monday, October 6, 2014


"God created paper for the purpose of drawing architecture on it.  Everything else is at least for me an abuse of paper."  
Alvar Aalto

Architects usually present artistically finished drawings to their clients and to the builders who will bring the plans to fruition. But before the sophisticated and accomplished drawings come the doodles. Doodles that, if we are fortunate enough to see them, allow us a glimpse of art being born.  Look at this collection of early sketches compared with photos of the completed buildings and you will see how a vision is materialized

On the left is Erich Mendelsohn's other-worldly sketch that brings to mind H.R. Giger's Alien. On the right, the finished project, the Einstein Tower in Potsdam, a solar observatory which was his first public commission. It was built of brick due to a concrete shortage after the Great War.
Next is his sketch for the Universum Kino, the first modernist theater in the world. It was built in 1928 in Berlin and suffered bomb damage during WWII. Here you can see that it has been recently refurbished.

 Closer to the present is an example by Robert Venturi; first his doodle, and at right  the house.  It was built for his mother, I believe.  But one observer wondered where would she have a cup of tea?

The last example is by Boulder's own iconic architect, Charles Haertling.  His drawing reveals how easily organic shapes flowed from his imagination to the paper.  Remarkably, his imagined shapes took form in the beautiful Caldwell House at 415 Drake in Boulder.

Take out a piece of paper and try a drawing of your own.  What kind of structure can you imagine?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

415 Drake:Charles Haertling's House for Lawrence and Helen Caldwell

"There's more excitement and movement in curves than in straight lines.  When you use them, everyday existence gets to be exciting; it's an elevating experience."

Charles Haertling and the Lawrence Caldwell Residence,  
A collectible house for sale!

After 19 years as an electrical engineer for mining companies in Venezuela, Lawrence Caldwell retired with his wife Helen to Boulder in 1966.  By 1968 they were in this house, having had the good fortune to hire Charles Haertling as architect.  Lawrence's past is obscure to me; because he came to Boulder so late in life there is not much local information, and I have not seen an obituary.

Haertling, on the other hand, had a deep and wide career here as possibly the most creative architect in Boulder's history.  Except for some churches, most of his projects were residential, and they are as far as I know all different. But most shared an organic (in a biological sense) quality, as if they were living organisms.  He never saw a curve he didn't like.  His houses were sculptures you could live in, and as a rule they were very muscular, partaking in the lives of their owners.  Two people living in a Haertling house were two of three, the house being an active third.  Often the house would be very active, since he often made use of curves and sharp angles, with the drama those shapes created.  He paid attention to and studied his clients' ways of living and their needs, and made houses that would suit him and them:

"The building has my signature, but if I kept my clients at arms length, all my buildings would look the same."

He designed the Boulder Eye Clinic at 2401 Broadway, St Stephen Church in Northglenn (his son Joel showed a film of its construction several years ago), the Volsky residence at 711 Willowbrook, then the Kahn and Jourgensen residences on Flagstaff Road.  For a complete list, see Joel Haertling's site about his father's work. Another reference, by Andrea Coberly in 2012, is here.

The Caldwell Residence has had only two owners after Helen sold, and they both live there now.  But they want to pass it on to someone else who will take the same care they did.  Call or email me if you would like to see it. I am not the listing agent, but can represent you as a buyer.

Jim Broaddus            Real Estate of the Rockies             303-819-8895    

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why not OLD cookbooks?

Brillat-Savarin and The Physiology  of Taste

Beth Pilar, in her interesting “Cooking in Community” column for Wednesday’s Daily Camera, wrote about a Denver group known as the Food Lover’s Book Club.  It’s about time we had something like that on the Front Range, and everyone should read her articles.  She included a color photo of good cookbooks , some of which we have at home or have had at the shop in Lafayette.  She encourages us to “Find out what new cookbooks you’d like to add to your shelf,” no doubt applies to one of the Club’s goals.  But don’t forget the old stuff! There have been many excellent treatises on cooking and eating, and we owe it to ourselves to search them out and read them.   Here are some comments on one, below:

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s  Physiologie du Gout, or The Physiology  of Taste, was published in 1825 at Paris, and has never been out of print.  Never!  For good reason, as it has a combination of perception and wit that reminds me of that displayed in Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:  “He was a perfect host, and ate everything with a courage worthy of a more important cause” (in this edition, p. 190).  It is not so much a cookbook, but a series of meditations on eating and drinking that satisfies readers even 190 years after its publication.  In the opening section, the author lays out his 20 aphorisms, the most famous of which, according to the translator, is:

“The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a star.”

It is a great resource not only for witty comments on people and their eating or drinking habits, but a gold mine of common sense:

“Those persons who suffer from indigestion, or who become drunk, are utterly ignorant of the true principles of eating and drinking.”

Our copy’s translation is the one done in 1949 by M.F.K. Fisher, a noted gastronomical writer whose output would have been stellar even without her contribution here.  It is a reproduction of The Arion Press’s 1994 fine press edition of 200.  I wish we had that one!

Here is the Wikipedia article on Brillat-Savarin, which is worth reading.  He was a lawyer and politician living in France, and published the work that made his fame in the year before his death.
You can find Brillat-Savarin in many editions-easily-on Advanced Book Exchange.  Prices vary, from really inexpensive to really dear. Put it next to your favorite cookbooks.

Meanwhile, the Sept. 29 New Yorker has a note on a possibly noteworthy survey of American cookbooks from the 18th century to now, BooksThat Cook. Check it out on Amazon!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Real Estate in Boulder: Sold numbers in May/June of 2014 & June 2013

Here are the MLS statistics for detached homes sold in Boulder during the noted months.This is just raw data, but we can ask questions and come to conclusions if we dig deeper.  Some houses went under contract right away, and some took longer.

Take a look at houses sold vs average and median prices. 

Call me if you have questions!  I can get this kind of information with greater detail for any area in Boulder County!  303-819-8895

June  2013:
101  houses sold, ranging from $326,500 to $3,150,000.
Average was $736,491 and Median was $650,000. Average days on market was 57 and houses sold for 98% of their last list price.

May 2014:
64  houses sold, ranging from $350,000 to $2,597,000.
Average was $842,896, and Median was $751,000. Average days on market was 89, and houses sold for 98% of their last listing price.

June 2014:
84  houses sold, ranging from $350,000 to $2,830,000.
Average was $816,597 and Median was $726,417. Average days on market was 61 and houses sold for 99% of their last list price.