- Bruce Elliott
Leland Feitz sits back in his office chair at the Little London Press, directly above Starbucks downtown at 29 E. Bijou. At 80, Feitz is full of history.
"I love memory," Feitz says with the slow-paced speech of a storyteller.
While he admits that his short-term memory isn't great these days, he says his long-term memory remains strong.
Feitz was born and raised in the San Luis Valley and moved to Colorado Springs in 1948. For years, he has watched it grow. "When I came here it was a really, really nice small town, and now it's just a marvelous city," he says with a smile.
Feitz has operated the Little London Press -- an outfit that publishes dozens of books about regional history -- for 36 years. His motivation for this enterprise was to counter the idleness of retirement. "I didn't want to retire to nothing," Feitz said. "I wanted to retire to some kind of job."
Feitz began his literary endeavors almost half a century ago. While working in the printing and advertising business with the Alexander Film Company, one of Feitz's responsibilities was to entertain clients during their stays in Colorado.
During a trip to Cripple Creek with a client from New York City, Feitz gave the man an unofficial tour, and his client proposed a task that would mix Feitz's knowledge and writing skills. "He said, 'This town has a future as a tourist town,'" Feitz recalls. "'If you don't get some kind of little paperback book out for the tourist trade, somebody else will.'"
Through this client's urging, Feitz put out his first book. Decades later, this initial work, Cripple Creek! The World's Greatest Gold Camp, has sold nearly 200,000 copies.
-- by Michael Beckel
photo by Bruce Elliott