The Gertrude, 2545 Champa



The Snowden was to the right of this residence at 2563 Champa, now a vacant lot.


``Now, the apartment house I thus came into when I was approaching the age of reason was called The Snowden, so named for the very old rake of a landlord who never came near the place except to take rent in trade at those apartments so equipped. This mammoth red brick structure, four-storied in front, three-storied elsewhere, was located in the very heart of a region of lower eastside Denver that was to become intimate to me over the next periods of my childhood.'' [First Third p. 97]

``But I knew best The Snowden, that castle of my childhood around which centered the splintered domesticity of Depression-splotched families such as mine...it was a rather infamous place, mostly noted as a bootleg stronghold, although also notorious, over the eastside anyway, for its characters, who were typical yet unusual enough in their own right: ex-convicts, perverts, a jazz musician or two, several prostitutes (usually unpimped), addicts (mainly alcoholic), numerous wild young men. Though mostly visitors of lusty mind and crooked action, there was too a small normal core of pious parents such as Mother, struggling for their many children, and maybe even a few vicarious old maids or bachelors. And although The Snowden occupants were all poor, or perhaps more so because of it, they rocked the joint night and day, for the place had a noise mania; the air seemed always filled with assorted yelping catcalls, shouted curses, frightened screams and, topping all in my mind, those exciting feminine whoops of laughter. There was hardly a moment that something untoward wasn't happening... " [First Third ps. 100-101]

``...here it was that Jimmy would imprison me...These claustrophobic experiences caused another reaction even more unusual and less easy to explain -- a reeling of my senses, caused, I imagined, by an offbalanced wheel whirling around with close clearance inside my skull, which, while slowly increasing in tempo, set up a loose fan-like vibration as it rotated into ever-tightening flutter. More exactly, it was simply an awareness that time in my head had gradually apexed to about triple its ordinary speed of passage...This time-acceleration came and went of its own accord, making me thus dizzy-minded (although only while inside my mattressed jail, and then not every time) all through this first Snowden year.'' [First Third, p. 113]

Literary Kicks
Neal's Denver Contributed by Andrew Burnett