This large wooden trunk is a piece of heavy projection equipment required to show slide presentations on the road to audiences in the early to mid 1900s. Lugging his stereopticon projector and hand-colored lantern slides, Eben G. Fine traveled thousands of miles by train and automobile to promote tourism and the natural beauty of Colorado around the country, making more than 3,500 of his famous appearances along the way.
Eben G. Fine (1865-1957) moved to Boulder in 1886 from Missouri to work at Fonda’s Drug Store on Pearl Street. He later worked at Temple Drug Store on Pearl, enjoying a long career as a pharmacist. Fine became the secretary of the Boulder Chamber of Commerce in 1927. A businessman, nature lover, photographer and lecturer, Fine earned the nickname “Mr. Boulder,” as he was a tireless promoter of his hometown. Among his many community activities, Fine was a charter member of the Rocky Mountain Climbers Club and a longtime member of the board of directors of the Colorado Chautauqua. His photography hobby evolved into a vocation of giving slide presentations featuring beautiful mountain scenery, beginning in the early 1900s. Fine hand colored his lantern slides as well as wrote detailed descriptions of each image. Fine created a slide show lecture called “Rambles Through the Rockies,” and traveled across the country on goodwill tours to encourage tourism. His show included high mountain peaks, glaciers, streams, waterfalls and scenes from Mesa Verde National Park, the San Juan Mountains, the Continental Divide, Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Fine’s tours were sponsored by the Boulder Chamber of Commerce and the Burlington Railway. He spoke at schools, churches, art associations, women’s clubs, businesses and any group that asked. In just one season, 1937-1938, for example, Fine drove more than 14,000 miles and gave 152 programs. Fine delivered his famous slide presentations for decades, making some 3,500 appearances in 28 states, spreading his love for Boulder and the Rocky Mountains far and wide. He also spoke in his hometown of Boulder for both residents and visitors at the Colorado Chautauqua for over 45 consecutive years. In 1946 he received a medal from the University of Colorado for his unique contribution to Boulder and the state of Colorado. Fine was a booster without peer and a leader in encouraging tourism in Colorado.
Held in the offices of Historic Boulder, Inc., Eben G. Fine’s stereopticon trunk (circa early to mid-1900s) is a rare link to the early efforts to promote tourism for the natural beauty of Colorado as well as a tangible reminder of the heavy projection equipment required to show slide presentations on the road to audiences in the early to mid 1900s. Fine delighted audiences at lectures, where he showed images and described spectacular Colorado scenery. Lugging his wooden trunk filled with his stereopticon projector and hand-colored lantern slides, he traveled thousands of miles by train and automobile, stopping to speak to the many groups who booked his talks and adding others along the way. Fine gave his famous slide presentations for decades, giving an estimated 3,500 appearances in 28 states and making an impact on the early tourism economy of Colorado.
1200 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO 80302