What Boulder resident hasn’t enjoyed Eben G. Fine park on a hot summer day? The shadiest place in summer Boulder, Eben G. Fine park boasts lots of trees, and flanks the Boulder Creek. In fact, Tube-to-Work Day begins there, as the park is nestled nearly up in the foothills. Now the restorations that had been going on there, to replenish and restore the creek beds, are complete, and the park is looking better than ever. But who was Eben G. Fine, the man for whom this park was named?
“Mr. Boulder” was a pharmacist with a photography hobby, which he later made into his profession. He was a founding member of several local climbing and hiking clubs, to which expeditions he’d bring his photography equipment and capture the beauty of Boulder’s landscape. And as this was in the early 1900s to the 1920s, you can imagine what a Herculean haul that was.
Fine became “Mr. Boulder” as a moniker for his enthusiastic sharing of Boulder’s beauty–”Boulder’s biggest promoter,” according to Boulder historian Sylvia Pettem. He singlehandedly became the strongest advertiser of our great city when he gave up his pharmaceutical profession and traveled the country by railroad, presenting his “Rambles Through the Rockies” lecture, replete with many photographs of especially Boulder. This was especially welcome to the people (and officials) of the city, as this was a particular period of time when everyone wanted Boulder to grow. And grow it did; who knows how much Fine’s more than 5,000 presentations to groups in 31 states had to do with it. Certainly the Burlington Railroad told him he’d done more to advertise Boulder’s beauty than any ads they’d put out.
- Fine’s most frequently done Boulder presentation was at our own Chautauqua Association, which he did for over 40 years.
- He claimed to be the first person to climb Arapaho Glacier, discovering that it was that and not, say, a snow field.
- He was mainly known for his hand-colored slides.
- His stepson, Hal Coulson, did a lot of the photography with him, and they had a photo imprint together for a while called “Fine & Coulson.”
- He was a founder of the Boulder Chamber of Commerce.
- He died at the age of 91 by falling out of a second story window.
- The restorations to the park of his name were mainly to stabilize the creek beds and replenish the wildlife habitat. They were finished this past June, just in time for Tube to Work Day.
Feature photo credit: Image via Dave Dugdale on Flickr