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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

And the West is History: Ready for the County Marble Tournament – ca. 1956

In 1955, 25-year-old Leadville native, Western State College graduate and Korean War era veteran Adolph Kuss was hired by the La Plata County Recreation Commission as its director. Today, Kuss is mostly remembered as a legendary figure in local, state and national skiing, but when he first came to Durango his major focus was introducing new recreational opportunities for all ages. Besides the usual summer softball and swimming programs and the winter skiing and skating activities, his recreation department offered backpacking excursions, fencing lessons, archery instruction, square dance competition, bowling, fishing and shown here – marbles tournaments. Pictured from left to right are David Bell, Kuss, Leon Turnell, Pete Phillips (American Legion sponsor) and Larry Martinez as they prepare for a competition. A jacks tournament for girls was also offered. Kuss was especially good at working with local service and business groups to build many projects to enhance the recreational opportunities in the area. The creation of Huck Finn Pond, upgrading of Third Avenue (now Chapman Hill) Ski Area, development of a Teen Center and the construction of the La Plata County Aquatic Center were all accomplished under his 10-year director’s tenure. Kuss’ local legacy goes beyond that of his more celebrated skiing accomplishments. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum (Courtesy of La Plata County Historical Society)