Do CU Boulder Students Really Enjoy Their Restaurant Named After Colorado’s Cannibal?
It does take a particular sense of humor to name one of your on-campus dining options after one of Colorado's most-notorious criminals. When you include that this person's crimes included cannibalism, you have to take a step back.
Nearly 150 years ago, six men went looking for gold in the Colorado mountains, though they'd been cautioned to wait for better weather. They found out the hard way, that they were ill-prepared for their journey; they ran out of food. The story has it that only one of the men made it out alive; that man was Alferd Packer.
Supposedly, the group of men that Packer was traveling with had even started to eat their own moccasins in the effort to stay alive. You know things are dire when you are eating your own shoe. Still, after that, one thing lead to another and all but Packer walked out, after supposedly eating the flesh of the men who lay dead, back in the mountains.
Packer had claimed that one of the men attacked him and he defended himself and killed the attacker. Packer found that the attacker had killed all the other men. Needing nourishment, Packer claimed to have turned to cannibalism and ate the men's flesh to stay alive. Later accounts feel that Packer had killed all the men, for the sole reason of taking their money and supplies.
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Whatever the entire "real story" is, Packer was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in jail. Never one to know when "enough is enough," Packer escaped and lived in Wyoming for nine years. He eventually was caught and did serve 15 years before being paroled. He had moved to Denver and lived to the age of about 65.
Cut to CU Boulder. In 1953, they built the University Memorial Center for the students, staff and faculty to enjoy. They were putting in a restaurant, and they held a naming contest. Whereas today, you may have seen it named "Restauranty McRaunt Face," someone had submitted "Alferd Packer," and that name won out above all others.
Sure, it's funny: Food, Colorado's Packer ate his team, it all comes together; but do the students of today really enjoy the name? In 1953, Packer's name and legend were probably still more "top of mind" than all these decades later. Add in how today, there are more and more college-aged vegans and vegetarians, you have to think that there are more than a few CU Boulder students who'd just rather have the name changed.
The Yelp! reviews for the restaurant are (mostly) more than several years old, so it's tough to get a feel of how the students are really feeling about it, today.
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