Chuck Mack: My upcoming book

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Since the recent article appeared in the paper concerning my receiving a grant from the Colorado Humanities to help in publishing my book on Mt. Harris, I've been asked what the book will be about.

Mt. Harris was a coal-mining town in the neighborhood of halfway between Steamboat Springs and Craig. The first mine, which was started by the Harris brothers, came on the scene in 1914. This would be known as the Colorado-Utah Coal Co., Harris mine. Another mine in nearly the same locality sprung to life in 1915.

This would be known as the International Fuel Co., Wolf Creek mine, and it later was known as the Pinnacle-Kemmer or PK, and the third mine in the locality came about in 1917. This would be known as the Victor-American, Wadge mine. All three of these mines shared a common post office and school. However, each mining company had its own mining camp, so, actually, it was three mines and three coal camps combined into one tight-knit community.

The PK mine closed in 1934, the Wadge mine in 1951 and the Harris mine in 1958. All that remains now is a monument along the highway.

Gosh, the last mine closed in 1958. It's hard for me to believe, but that was 50 years ago. No wonder there are so many people living in the area today who don't know the slightest thing about Mt. Harris. A lot of changes take place in an area in a half-century, and now Mt. Harris is a ghost town that doesn't exist and is hardly remembered.

I grew up in Mt. Harris; or rather, I was born in the PK coal camp and later lived in the Wadge coal camp. I went to school in the Mt. Harris School and enjoyed all the healthy benefits of growing up in a small community back in the days before Nintendo, TV, cell phones with games and all the other electronic gadgets the children of today are subjected to and enjoy. I suppose growing up today is just as much fun, actually, as it was when I grew up. The only difference being, when I was a kid, we had to invent or make up our own games of play.

More than 20 years ago, I started writing stories about growing up in Mt. Harris. After awhile, I ran out of my own experiences and didn't want to quit writing, so I contacted all the old-timers still living at that time who also had enjoyed growing up in Mt. Harris.

So what this book will be about is the experiences, thrills, mishaps, the good times and the bad times of growing up in this coal mining camp. The book will contain my own experiences, as well as the experiences of others I interviewed and got permission from to use their stories in my writings.

My file of Mt. Harris stories contains 222 articles. This includes a lot of stories that have been broken into smaller parts to be used as stories in this newspaper. Right now, things are in progress into editing the stories, getting them put back together in original form for the book publishing.

When the editing is completed, the process of publishing comes next. My thoughts on publishing a book come about from the many requests of people asking me to put my stories out in book form. I've always liked to share my works and that's the reason so many of my stories appear in the paper.

My writing is only a hobby. It never was or never will be a moneymaking thing. If my writings were a moneymaking thing, that would mean it was a job instead of a hobby. At this stage in life, I'm certainly not wanting a job!

So, being as how this book will be a hobby and a fun project and basically a way of sharing my stories with others instead of something created to make money, I'm certainly hoping to get further monetary help in the form of grants, etc., to help in the publishing. I'm hoping this grant from the Colorado Humanities is just a start down the road of finally sharing my stories in book form.

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