Briggsdale, Colorado, and environs: A short update shot on Tri-X

Briggsdale Market
Briggsdale Market sits on the two-block “business district” on the unpaved Main Street in Briggsdale, Colo. (Daniel J. Schneider)

It’s been entirely too long since I posted on my site. 2017 has been a year of upheaval and transition, several times interrupted by sub-upheavals and transition-ettes. I won’t go into tedious detail here, but those who know me are free to ask privately.

The highlights, though, involve moving myself and my cameras, and then a definite change of venue for the newsroom with uncertain timing, necessitating yet another move of myself and my stuff. That meant when I was about 80 percent done unpacking the darkroom and about 20 percent done setting it up everything went into an extended period of limbo. So that’s how it has been, unchanged, for about six months now. The end of limbo is, at least, in sight.

On the plus side, there’s a definite timetable in place now, so I’ll pack it all back up and move it again, and maybe next time I’ll make it further into the process so I can get back to improving my printmaking skills.

Suffice it to say that I’ve also been rather uninspired as a result of all that — leaving film undeveloped, scans unedited, and blog posts unwritten. I had a supply of posts ready to publish which I dipped into for a while to mask my absence, but it’s pretty much run out now.

Cat at Heritage House
A friendly cat was curious about our large format cameras and plethora of bags on the front lawn of the Briggsdale Heritage House museum. (Daniel J. Schneider)


I met up with Andrew and Craig late last fall (or early last winter) some time — I’m not even sure when — and made a few pictures with my FM2 while we scouted Briggsdale, Colo. Don’t worry, there are more and better pictures from our trip on larger film, but they’ll have to wait.

These photos aren’t much, really, just some stuff I thought I might share at some point. Now, as I see about dipping my toes back into posting, seemed as good a time as any.

1939 International Harvester D-series
I think this is about a 1939 International Harvester D-series truck. (Daniel J. Schneider)

We started the day with breakfast and coffee at Gray’s Cafe in Ault, Colo., and then headed east to Briggsdale for the bulk of the day. We made it to New Raymer (Google seems to disbelieve in the “New” part, calling it just “Raymer” all over) about an hour before sunset, but in the scramble to make pictures there, the FM2 got left in the car.

The roads in Briggsdale are unpaved, and the town boasts a defunct repair shop or dealership that appears to have been partially restored and perhaps converted into one or more residences under a vintage-style painted sign that reads “Briggsdale Motor Co.,” a tiny convenience/grocery store (the Briggsdale Market), an abandoned post office and its more recent counterpart, a tiny history museum, a school, a Baptist church, a modern fire station, and a truck and tractor parts/salvage business.

The tiny Briggsdale Market was clearly once a gas station, but little remains of the fueling area. The pump islands have trees growing through them that appear to be 20-30 years old, and the concrete pad is among the only pavement in town.

As towns on Colorado’s eastern plains go, it’s among the tiniest I’ve visited that still has a clear and vibrant population (in this case, we saw at least half a dozen people), but is exceptionally small among the towns I’ve seen with remaining populations. Nevertheless, the place felt very friendly — less common than you might expect, at least in the experience of this city boy.

I was never happy with any of the pictures I took of the Briggsdale Motor Co. building, so I’ll have to return to try another angle. Perhaps in the late evening during the summer the light would be good. I’ll definitely keep New Raymer on my re-visit list, too.

1959 Ford F-500 4x4
A 1959 Ford F-500 4×4 at the truck and tractor salvage operation in Briggsdale, Colo. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Briggsdale Heritage House
The Briggsdale Heritage House is a tiny history museum on Main Street. (Daniel J. Schneider)
1939 International wheel
Detail of the front wheel of a 1939 International D-series, sitting off the road where it last ran sometime in the early 1980s. (Daniel J. Schneider)
1939 International sprayer
The 1939 International D-series parked off the highway near Briggsdale, Colo., was a sprayer truck for 40 or 50 years before it was parked. (Daniel J. Schneider)
1939 International D-series interior
Interior detail of a 1939 International Harvester D-series that has been parked off the highway near Briggsdale, Colo., for around 35 years. (Daniel J. Schneider)