The Fort's nine dining rooms are built around a central courtyard. In Summer months a typical Plains Indian tipi stands in the courtyard and may be booked for special private dinners. It can accommodate up to twelve people , and shoes must be removed within. Since servers must work on theri knees, they get an extra twenty-five dollars. (Is that all?)Oddly both spelling tipi and teepee are used.
Bent's Quarters, a private dining room recreates much of the feel of the 1840's. A collection of medical herbs of New Mexico and various items of the fur trade period line the shelves; knives, beads, buckles, musket caps, tobacco twists and "segars," tea bricks, loaf sugar, Florida water, lucifers, and much more.Bent is the name of the original fort in southern Colorado from which The Fort restaurant is modeled.
Florida Water is an American version of Eau de Cologne, or Cologne Water. It has the same citrus basis as Cologne Water, but shifts the emphasis to sweet orange (rather than the lemon and neroli of the original Cologne Water), and adds spicy notes including lavender and clove. The name refers to the fabled Fountain of Youth, which was said to be located in Florida, as well as the "flowery" nature of the scent.Ha! Wikipedia, always so reliable. (neroli is oil from bitter orange tree)
In 1829, Scots inventor Sir Isaac Holden invented an improved version of Walker's match and demonstrated it to his class at Castle Academy in Reading, Berkshire. Holden did not patent his invention and claimed that one of his pupils wrote to his father Samuel Jones, a chemist in London who commercialised his process. A version of Holden's match was patented by Samuel Jones, and these were sold as lucifer matches. These early matches had a number of problems- an initial violent reaction, an unsteady flame and unpleasant odor and fumes. Lucifers could ignite explosively, sometimes throwing sparks a considerable distance. Lucifers were manufactured in the United States by Ezekial Byam. The term "lucifer" persisted as slang in the 20th century (for example in the First World War song Pack Up Your Troubles) and in the Netherlands and Belgium today matches are still called lucifers (in Dutch).
On the east wall of "Bent's" hangs a wonderful oil painting of the Western Engineer, the 1819 flagship of Major Stephen Long and his army on their reconnaissance expedition up the Missouri River. The primitive steamboat had a sea serpent head that belched steam and a serpentlike waterline to throw fear into the Indians observing from the riverbank. The painting was done for The Fort's thiritieth anniversary by Gary Lucie, an artist well known for his intricately detailed and accurate renderings of steamboats and historic American waterways.
[A letter dated June 19, 1819, from St. Louis, ten days after the boats arrival there, further describes this unusual craft:
"The bow of this vessel exhibits the form of a huge serpent, black and scaly, rising out of the water from under the boat, his head as high as the deck,darted forward, his mouth open, vomiting smoke, and apparently carrying the boat on his back. From under the boat at its stern issues a stream of foaming water, dashing violently along. All the machinery is hid. Three small brass field pieces mounted on wheel carriages stand on the deck. The boat is ascending the rapid stream at the rate of three miles an hour. Neither wind nor human hands are seen to help her, and, to the eye of ignorance, the illusion is complete, that a monster of the deep carries her on his back, smoking with fatigue, and lashing the waves with violent exertion. Her equipments are at once calculated to attract and to awe the savages. Objects pleasing and terrifying are at once placed before him--artillery, the flag of the Republic, portraits of the white man and the Indian shaking hands, the calumet of peace, a sword, then the apparent monster with a painted vessel on his back, the sides gaping with portholes and bristling with guns. Taken altogether, and without intelligence of her composition and design, it would require a daring savage to approach and accost her."]