The Face.

The Face on the Bar Room Floor

Field review by the editors.

Central City, Colorado

Unlike apparitions of the divine, there's no miraculous origin to the "Face on the Bar Room Floor" in the Teller House bar. It's just an oil painting on a floor.

Most folks believe that it was the inspiration for a once-famous 1877 poem of the same name, about a drunk who painted it to prove that he had once been a famous artist. It was "the face that drove me mad," according to the poem, an ex-girlfriend who had jilted the artist years earlier. The only thing interesting about the painting (and the poem) was that when the guy finished, he fell down on top of it and died -- probably from malnutrition after trying to find a parking space in this tourist nightmare of a town.

The truth is even less exciting. The drunk in the poem was someone that the writer met in New York City. If he ever did paint a floor there, it's long gone. This floor wasn't painted until 1936, by one or two locals (accounts vary) who knew of the poem and who painted the floor one night as a prank. But out-of-towners didn't know that, and Floor Face eventually became the most popular attraction in Central City. It still is.

Just bring a lot of patience -- and spare change -- if you want to see it.

The Face on the Bar Room Floor

Teller House

Address:
120 Eureka St., Central City, CO
Directions:
Teller House. Downtown. South side of Eureka St. just west of Pine St.
Phone:
303-582-0600
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September 30, 2014

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