Cherokee Park Resort
"I worked for a dollar a day," Florence
Lucile Baxter West told the reporter as she cooked him a
breakfast of fried eggs and sausage. Her job was at a big
ice house at Cherokee Park, northwest of Fort Collins.
(This was before refrigerators, when ice was cut in the
winters and stored for summer use.) She worked there for
three summers waiting on tables in the dining room,
scrubbing floors and setting tables. She also took care
of a dozen cabins, doing the laundry, sweeping floors and
making the beds. She had to empty the toilet pots because
only two cabins had modern plumbing! All for a dollar a
day and "very few tips."
for a Dollar a Day"
Florence Lucile Baxter
July 19, 1990
Interviewer: Scott Battista
Excerpt from The Triangle Review
Once while she was serving meals to guests at a dude
ranch at Cherokee Park, she did receive a big tip -- a
silver dollar! She laughed as she told the reporter she
didn't even know it until she got undressed that night
and a silver dollar fell out of one of her stockings!
"Why that old so-and so," she laughed,
recalling that as she'd served one guest dinner; he'd
reached up her dress and touched her leg. She worked at
the ranch summers in 1924, 1925 and 1926, the year she
graduated from high school.
Silver dollars figured in another of her memories. Her
grandfather, who was postmaster in St. Cloud, near
Cherokee Park, bought his booze a barrel at a time.
Friends, including Buffalo Bill, came to hear him play
his fiddle and mandolin and pass around a bottle of
booze. When the bottles were empty, it was Lucile's job
to refill them from the barrel, which was kept in a shed
in the back; when she'd return with a full bottle, one of
the men would give her a silver dollar.
Ten dollars a day was her pay when she worked for a
doctor in Fort Collins in the years before World War II.
She didn't feel deprived during the Depression, however,
as she lived with her parents who had a garden and raised
chickens and rabbits. They did a lot of canning and, like
everyone else, lived on what they had. "I never
remember feeling deprived of anything." She was
aware, however, that many people lacked ready cash. Her
father owned the general store in LaPorte and people
traded butter, milk, eggs and saddles for needed
supplies. And some had to buy on credit. "I was
surprised at some of the names on the notes at the store,
but Dad couldn't turn them away, especially if they had
When she worked for an abstract company, she made a
grand purchase with her first check -- "a
Victrola." This first record player was something
special. It folded up like a suitcase. Her first record
was "My Blue Heaven." The music shop was next
to her workplace, and on her lunch hour she and a friend
enjoyed listening to records in the soundproof
"listening booth." This job paid $65 a month; a
record cost 75 cents.
Cost and distance kept her from enjoying movies as
often as she liked. Living in LaPorte meant she and her
mother only came to Fort Collins once a month, but then
they did enjoy seeing a movie and stopping at the
Sugarbowl restaurant next door afterwards. The movie was
25 cents; hot chocolate with whipped cream and two
vanilla wafers cost 15 cents. "That," she said,
meant you'd "spent your allotment for the
Lucile was born on February 6, 1908, to Florence and
Frank Baxter in LaPorte.