Tuesday, June 23, 2009

That Staircase!

One of the most unique features about the Hotel Boulderado, in addition to its historic charm and stained-glass lobby ceiling, is the staircase that leads down to the lobby. This cantilevered (cantilever [can⋅ti⋅le⋅ver] noun: any rigid structural member projecting from a vertical support, esp. one in which the projection is great in relation to the depth, so that the upper part is in tension and the lower part in compression) staircase requires no external bracing or supports because of its design. The staircase was made with cherrywood lumber, but the hotel staff and historian are unsure as to where the wood originated. There are no cherrywood trees large enough in Colorado to produce the lumber yield required to build the staircase. The staircase extends from the Boulderado's basement all the way up to the fifth floor of the historic section.

Staircase, circa 1960

These days, the staircase is utilized in Boulderado wedding ceremonies, which are happening more and more frequently now that wedding season is upon us. The bride and the person who gives her away descend from the third floor and walk down to the landing between the lobby and Mezzanine. As they walk down the stairs to the landing, they are flanked by bridal attendants and groomsmen standing on the stairs. The wedding guests are seated along the railing on either side of the Mezzanine and watch over the ceremony. Once at the landing, the bride joins the groom and their officiant, and when they next take the stairs up to the Mezzanine to begin their reception, it is as husband and wife.

Bride and Father ~ Photo courtesy of Cafiero Photographers

Wedding Ceremony

One of my favorite things about this staircase is that it is original to the hotel, which means that since the Boulderado opened in 1909, guests have walked up the same way regardless of which decade they stayed with us. Helen Keller, who stayed at the Boulderado twice in her lifetime, must have held onto the railing for support and guidance as she made her way upstairs.