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  • Forney Museum of TransportationForney Museum of Transportation Denver, Colorado
    The Forney Transportation Museum is a unique transport museum in Denver, Colorado, that was started by J. D. Forney, the founder of Forney Industries, Inc. Fort Collins. This wonderful museum contains a marvelous collection of 500 displays, which its early years centered mainly on antique automobiles, then expanding into all areas of transportation; and getting its slogan, "Anything on Wheels" soon after. Some of the very unusual types of transportation include a Forney locomotive that was designed by a second cousin named Matthias N. Forney, an amphicar, a Big Boy locomotive and Amelia Earhart's "Gold Bug" Kissel. It started out as a private collection and has grown into one of the most magnificent transportation collections in the world. Forney became interested in classic and antique cars after his children and wife gave him a 1921 Kissel yellow tourister, the exact same model as the car that he used to court his wife, Rae. His company produced numerous products, like the Fornair airplane, battery chargers, central vac system and portable vacuum cleaner and auto generators; but the most well known are the various models of electric welders and welding supplies. He soon began taking in older cars and carriages as trade-ins on his welder sales and in 1961, the museum was incorporated in Fort Collins. It became a non-profit in 1964. The Big Boy Union Pacific #4005 that is one of his favorite and is one of the last examples of the world's biggest steam engines, a 4-8-8-4 type. It had been involved in a crash in 1953, and was one of 25 built and now only 8 are still housed in museums. The Forney locomotive 0-4-4T is another, it was designed by Matthias and patented, with a tank-type of engine that had to built by a few manufacturers. The one housed here was built by Porter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1897 and had been used mainly for elevated railways like the New York Elevated Railway, the Chicago Elevated and the Brooklyn Elevated. Initially called "little girls", there were over 500 were still in service around the turn of the century, carrying both passengers and freight. The steam powered locomotives on the elevated would only last a few years before being replaced by the modern electric engines. The Forneys were then sold to buyers around the world for short haul freights and passengers, plantations, lumber and mining runs. The Forney locomotives were used in the Denver region for both passengers and freight runs, with the Denver, Lakewood and Golden Railway and the Denver Circle Railroad had become the most well known. The museum is spread across 70,000 square feet and there is an equal amount of space available for future expansion.  One of the finest automobiles in the museum is the 1923 Kissel Speedster, Model 45, "Goldbug", a 6 cylinder, 41 horsepower beauty that was owned by Amelia Earhart. Her parents had divorced while the family lived in California, and her mother and sister, Muriel would be moving to Massachusetts so that Muriel could start school at Harvard and the family start a new life in New England. Muriel had gone on ahead by train, to start summer classes and look for a place for the family to live. Amelia and her mother had stayed in Los Angeles to tie up loose ends, and then would use the canary yellow "kizzle" as Amelia called it, to travel to Boston. She didn't care for train travel and felt like the car excursion would be exciting and wonderful at the time. Her dream was of flying across country, but considered the car trip to be second; as she had learned to fly before driving. Although she started calling the car "kizzle", she later changed her name to the "Yellow Peril". It would become a very exciting trip across Canada, traveling 7000 miles altogether, which was quite a feat at the time, since roads were not paved all over, and mechanics few and far between. It was quite the novelty, both for her and the people that stopped them along the way to ask questions about the bright yellow car and the wild woman driving it and her mother across the continent. The car's color hadn't been to outstanding in Los Angeles, but when they arrived in Boston, it seemed to be very "outspoken" according the local standards. Other featured exhibits included a porche 928, a 1934 Pierce Arrow, the 1967 amphicar, 1927 Rolls Royce, 1912 Renault, 1916 Detroit Electric, antique clothing and wax figures, 1811 Overland Stagecoach, and 1923 Hispano Suiza. 

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  • Denver Inside and OutDenver Inside and Out Denver, Colorado
    The Denver Inside and Out is actually a walking tour and scavenger hunt that is centered around the 1922 robbery of the Denver Mint, as you become involved in the city's most infamous crime mystery. It begins in the LoDo district and continues to many of the city's most well known landmarks, using just shoe leather and elbow grease, you are challenged to solve the state's most notorious crime. As you explore the adventure, you will come face to face with the wild characters that were part of the theft via the live theater, as you piece the exciting puzzle together; creating a most enjoyable evening for you and your family. The tour is about 2 miles long and takes anywhere from 2.5 to 3 hours, depending upon your aptitude and walking pace. Each clue will take you one step, or a few, closer to another clue, until you get the picture and began to piece it altogether. The adventure centers around the incredible robbery that occurred in Denver, at the mint, in 1922, when a gang of robbers held it up and took $200,00. What makes this fantastic experience even more enjoyable is the chance to learn about the city, the landmarks and the exciting times that this city has lived through. It is a great time for families, as long as the children are above 6 years old, and will be one of those tours that you will remember for years to come. The tours are start in the mornings and run through the day, so you can decide when you want to begin. Merchants along the way have been kind enough to hide some of the clues and will also be an opportunity for you to visit some of the neat shops in the city sitting a mile high.

August 27, 2012