COBWEB CORNERS: Remembering Paul Idleman

By Mel McFarland

       I had a friend that I admired a lot for his talent. Many of you knew him too. He was Paul Idleman. He and I often talked about numerous subjects of interest. I am reminded of him every day as I work on Pike's Peak.
       Paul became fascinated with William Hook years ago. Hook lived up Engelman Canyon in an area he named Artist Glen. Paul started to collect information and copies of Hook's work and even original negatives. If you go to the summit of the mountain, Paul did a display up there of Hook photos of the peak. Every day people look at these pictures as they stand in the food line. Paul also did a video on Hook. The Library Channel shows it often. Paul put a lot of energy into researching the subject, and he really enjoyed it. As he worked on it, we would share things that came up. Part of the video has Paul standing at engine number five at our Ruxton depot.
       Hook was not happy about the cog road when it was built. He fought it intently. In the end the railway won, and its tracks went right by his big house at Artist Glen. Hook did well by the railway, as he started selling views of the mountain and the railway to the tourists. Even today the conductors on the train point out objects that he named.
       Paul was an avid photographer himself. His father was a railroad man, and worked with my boss' uncle back in Illinois. Paul was involved in a lot of local projects. He worked for a time at the Old Colorado History Center and put together some of the displays. He did the one on the Cog Road's most dangerous form of transportation. Later he returned to his home in Illinois to work with the Champagne-Urbana Historical Society. Paul had terrible cancer. When it won, he wanted his remains scattered at Artists Glen. We did that quite some time ago. I would say "hi" as the trains pass, but now the passengers ask me about him as we go past. The family put up a small marker for him last month, which can be seen from the train.
       I like telling the story of my friend Paul.