Who We Are: Boot Gordon, the thinker in the foam dome
May 22, 2010
SILVERTHORNE – Not far from the conventional, box-shaped homes of Rainbow Drive exists a blob of igloos that never melt. Inside, a World War II veteran fighter pilot is finishing a book on raising consciousness.
Stuart “Boot” Gordon, 86, has a vibrant passion for sharing with people – he splits his seven-bedroom home with five tenants. He’s taught academic subjects and written books on town planning, art and skiing powder.
Gordon’s fifth book, “Light Talk for Grand Kids,” involves a dialogue with one of his granddaughters and is to include his own illustrations. It discusses 21 impediments to self-awakening – with an accompanying list of solutions.
Gordon began studying spirituality in 1950, not long after a series of near-death WWII experiences.
“I want to help people awaken and overcome these blockages so they can become more happy and more successful, and of course more spiritual,” Gordon said. “That’s the purpose here, is to learn to become closer to our creator.”
Gordon said there are signs that change is on the horizon.
“The next few years are going to be very fascinating,” he said.
Catastrophic events are coming in the next couple of years, and many people will begin to awaken, becoming more considerate of one another, he said.
“Bush, Cheney, Rice and Clinton will self-destruct,” Gordon said. “They won’t be around by 2015.”
He also named the Rothschild dynasty of Europe.
“They created wars,” he said, “because they make money.”
They can even shift shapes, appearing at times as extraterrestrial lizard people who could have helped to bring astrology, pottery making and more to early humans, he said.
“Just like we thrive on love, they thrive on hate and negativity,” Gordon said.
This writer, illustrator and war veteran with some unconventional ideas – and a mustache to boot – evokes the image of a mountain-dwelling Kurt Vonnegut.
Gordon once crossed paths with the influential American novelist at a book signing either in Aspen or Vail.
“He looked at me, and we both looked at each other like we liked each other,” Gordon said. “I like his books.”
Gordon flew such planes as the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, P-51 Mustang and P-63 Kingcobra in the South Pacific during WWII. He also served in the Korean War.
He said that in WWII, he served as part of the squadron that shot down Japanese Admiral Yamamoto’s plane in April 1943.
Gordon once bailed out of an airplane to discover his parachute was failing. He said that falling at 130 mph, he was down near 500 feet of altitude.
“A little voice said, ‘Pull it again,'” he said. “Boom. It opened and saved my life.”
Another time he was flying a P-38 home from Borneo when he lost control and flew straight at the ground in a dive from 30,000 feet. He recovered with seconds to spare. He said these experience helped open his mind to deeper spirituality.
“From then on I didn’t argue anymore,” he said. “I know there’s something else out there, a higher self.”
Since serving in the military, Gordon has lived in several ski towns and traveled the world. He’s worked in construction, as a teacher, as a ski instructor and more.
He’s taught subjects ranging from science to shoe making, but he mostly taught English and history – and the arts.
He continues to ski and occasionally gives lessons with Vail Resorts. Many locals know him from his inscrutable and enigmatic letters to the Summit Daily, many of which leave people scratching their heads wondering what, exactly, Boot is getting at. Probably, that’s the way he likes it.
At home, Gordon doesn’t hesitate to slide down the carpet ramp from the second floor from a cave-like tunnel to his living room. Stair steps, like right angles, are an oddity in this dwelling.
Gordon designed the seven-bedroom home, which is partly underground, after returning from Europe in the 1950s. He built it in 1971 out of rebar, polyurethane foam and concrete.
He’s since shared the home with a rather steady stream of perhaps 100 tenants, and there’s a waiting list. Having enjoyed the community atmosphere with his WWII fighter squadron, Gordon emulated it through his digs.
“I always thought that’s the way we should live – respecting one another, having something to do,” he said. “That’s why I built the house, really.”
He envisioned building a town with homes partly underground, as specified in his book “Gordon Town.”
Testaments to the accommodations may be found on facebook.com group “I survived the Foam Dome”:
“What a joyous place that was – I always felt like I had walked into a Yes album cover,” posted Jeff Sturm of Monument.
“Oh my god i never thought i’d find the family again … yes i spent my year in the ‘tree’ loft. the most surreal place i have ever lived. i was there when I was 20 years old circa winter 90-91,” posted Evan Sitchler of Denver.
In one of the bedrooms are three “Champagne glasses” Gordon built for his three daughters when they were children. The foam-built structures elevate the sleeping quarters above the floor to allow areas for play. One of them was made to look like a tree.
The 2-acre property is bordered by the Blue River on one side and a small lake on the other.
Gordon has eight grand children and two great-grandchildren. He’s had three wives, and says he can get letters of recommendation from all of them.
He said his beliefs aren’t religious, but rather spiritual, and that one must always realize “there’s no progress without negativity.”
“We all have problems and we all have blockages that prevent us from being what we can be,” he said. “But whenever you have a negative thought, you have to balance it with two positive thoughts.”
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or