Mosaic Rainbow Trout Floor Tile, 1930-1940

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Artifact Is: 3 Dimensional Item
Located at: Douglas County History Repository

Artifact Significant To: Colorado

Artifact Description:

The Fish on the Floor is a remnant of historic recreation from Deckers in Douglas County, Colorado. This floor tile mosaic depicts a rainbow trout rising to catch a fishing fly. An anonymous artist skillfully cut pink, yellow, green, black, gray, and white tile, inlaid the pieces in a white circle on green background, and crafted a striking portrayal of a fish in motion. The tiles comprising the representation are attached to the original wooden tongue and groove floorboards. Although no records exist regarding the creation of the mosaic, it is estimated to have been in the 1930s or 1940s.

Why Is This Artifact Significant?

The Fish on the Floor mosaic is significant because it exemplifies the zenith of historic recreational activity in Douglas County. A store opened by Stephen Decker in the late 1800s grew into the Deckers Mineral Springs and Resort. Over time, Deckers Resort became a mecca for sportsmen who fished the renowned Upper South Platte River. The Resort also served as the Deckers community center throughout the years. By 1957, the Deckers Resort boasted a cocktail lounge, restaurant, service station, grocery store and thirteen cabins. The property was remodeled about 1999, at which time the Fish on the Floor was removed. 

How Does The Artifact Relate To Colorado History?

Recreation was a historic theme in Douglas County, as it was in much of central and western Colorado. Late in the 19th century, western Douglas County, with forests, towering granite outcrops, and first-rate fishing in the South Platte River, emerged as a destination for Denverites. The Fish on the Floor mosaic, an artifact from the heyday of the Deckers Resort, is emblematic of the profusion of small resorts which developed throughout Colorado’s foothills and mountains. These resorts provided for tourists’ needs as well as functioned as social hubs for the countless small communities which nurtured our state’s burgeoning recreation industry.

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