Saturday, August 27, 2016

Nationally registered barn remains as a last vestige of local homesteading era

"Last winter I tried to talk Jesse into leaving. Not anymore. I've grown to cherish the freedom, the openness of this land, the wall I plastered, the trees I planted. I can see God using me. Homesteading, building a community with people I care about..."
 ___ Catherine Richmond, author

Back then ... and for years afterward, living and working a local homestead was a difficult existence.

Getting the barn up. Taking care of the stock, growing what you can, and most of the time —just surviving. Perhaps that is just one of the reasons that the local barn shows up Colorado Historical Register. The land can provide you with a living — but it can also turn on you. It eventually did on J.G. Evans.

"The J.G. Evans Barn is located in the Platte-Arkansas Divide in the Black Forest area of El Paso County. The area is mostly rolling, grassy hills with sporadic ponderosa pine trees dotting the landscape. Standing in the middle of Hodgen Road, facing north, one sees the front of the barn with the large wagon entrance. To the west is a small grassy hill that has protected it from wind and snow for many years. To the east, a windmill, which is missing its blades, and a stock tank made of corrugated metal lay a few feet from the side of the barn. North and east of the barn the land slopes into a small drainage area. A new housing development under construction is further north and east of the drainage, just above the floodplain. Turning around and facing south, one sees the original John G. Evans ranch complex," according to National Register of Historic Places Registration Form and written by Kimberly Henderson and Michelle Van Heukelem, Archaeology Graduate students from University of Denver, in November of 2003.

Inside, three adjoining bays with hand-hewn beam H-frame construction in the central bay and other lumber in the barn displays circular saw marks and cut nails. Flanking the central bay on the left side is a series of rooms. Each room has a wooden trough or manger for feed. Flanking the central bay on the right are more rooms; however, the troughs rest much higher than the other side indicating use by taller animals such as horses instead of cattle. Also located on the east side toward the front of he barn is an enclosed room lined with corrugated tin sheeting. It is thought that this room was used for grain storage. The shed extension is an open area with an opening to the tin-lined room. The second story of the barn contains a large open hayloft. The floor only extends halfway across the main barn section. Hand-hewn beams make up the floor of the loft and in between each of these beams are remnants of concrete mortar and straw used to keep rodents out.

"The John G. Evans Barn is significant ... as one of the last remaining barns representing the earliest period of settlement and development in the Black Forest community of El Paso County.

Associated with one of the county’s pioneer ranches, it is also one of the earliest barns built in the area displaying construction techniques that are characteristic of the Black Forest homestead era (1860s-1930s). The barn exhibits elements of late 19th/early 20th century Midwest three-portal barns in its three bays, broken gable roof, timber framing, and hand-hewn logs," says the registration form.

The Midwest three-portal barn evolved from the earliest and most basic form of barns in the United States, the crib barn. The J.G. Evans Barn represents this evolution in its hand-hewn log and timber framing on the interior, which is covered with plank and board and batten on the exterior. Though commonly found in the south central United States, Evans had family from Kentucky and grew up in Kansas, both areas where he would have been exposed to this type of barn. The barns and other outbuildings that remain standing in the Black Forest vicinity seem to have influences not only from the middle and eastern United States, but also from European inspirations.

"Many people of European descent settled in this area, contributing to a wide variety of architectural  styles and forms. The sloping, broken gable roof and three bay design of the John G. Evans Barn is characteristic of the barns that used to cover the Black Forest region. It is one of a few remaining original buildings in the region. The original materials, including unpainted wooden siding, hand-hewn boards and posts, uncut foundation stones and concrete mortar contribute to the construction of the building. The tin lined room and granary bins of unequal heights are characteristic of the distinctive utilization of barns in an area that employed a variety of agricultural production.

The barn displays a moderately high degree of physical integrity and has had no modifications to the original structure that are evident or documented. The barn is no longer in use in the current agricultural community in terms of an active animal facility, but does remain a local landmark for the residents of the area," reported United State Department of the Interior National Park Service, which approves registration.

The Platte-Arkansas Divide, where the town of Table Rock was once located, is an unusual area; raised slightly above the surrounding landscape, it is wetter and colder than the plains around it. Early settlers to the area grew crops like potatoes, alfalfa, oats, wheat, rye, millet, and corn, all of which need only a short growing season. Enough water was available to these farmers from the 20 inches of annual rainfall, high ground water, and natural springs that irrigation was unnecessary.

The tall grasses native to the area also supported large herds of cattle and horses. It is noted in the book, Growing Up in Black Forest, that “Black Forest was called the Colorado Pinery and Land Co. in 1885. ... Albert Steppler found old papers indicating the Table Rock area was also forested, until the wagons came west and cleared the fertile land for farming,” wrote Vera Rusk Ellet in her 1990 book "Growing Up in the Black Forest."

John G. Evans would have been one of those that came west, having built his barn in 1885, when the Table Rock community was established. Black Forest was not the common name of the area until after World War I, when developers came to the area.

Potatoes were the main crop in the Divide area when the barn was built. They were considered to be the best cash crop and by the mid-1890s farmers planted over 20,000 acres of potatoes. Over planting and blight hurt the market, but a few farms were able to maintain prize winning potato crops well into the 1900s, wrote Elaine Freed in her 1984 report, "Historic Sites and Structures: El Paso, Colorado. El Paso Land Use Dept., Colorado."

Raising cattle was a fundamental part of the subsistence of early settler in the Black Forest area and still is today. Dairy cows seemed to have been most important during the early settlement Almost every homestead had their own cow to produce milk and butter for the family and to sell. Storage in the barn is evident from the granary bins and other storage areas found on both the north and south ends of the barn. The barn was once part of an extensive property, which boasted 1750 acres, a good amount of land upon which to have a large herd of cattle.

"John Evans was a native of Iowa. His father was born in Kentucky and his mother in Pennsylvania. Mr. Evans spent most of his childhood in Wyandotte County, Kansas and eventually moved to Table Rock in 1884. Evans built his ranch from local wood cut by his own sawmill, and continued to improve his land by adding a stage stop for travel between the Denver and Rio Grande and the Colorado & Southern Railroads that traveled through Monument and Eastonville, according to Judy Von Ahelfeldt in her 1979 book "Thunder, Sun and Snow: A History of Colorado’s Black Forest."

He also built the Fairview School, located up the hill from his ranch house said Kathryn Peterson, in a personal communication in 2003. The local schoolteacher, Lillie Barrett, lived in an upstairs bedroom of his house.

"As his wealth increased, he continued to add land to his original 160-acre homestead, reaching a total of seventeen hundred and fifty acres. As his holdings increased, his ranch, was at one time, thought to be one of the “most valuable in his section of the state,” according to Wilber Fiske Stone's 1919 History of Colorado.

In 1884, Evans married his cousin, Elvina C. Evans of Missouri. They were married for twenty-nine years before she died, leaving Evans alone on the ranch. They never had any children, but nonetheless, were well known in the community. Mrs. Evans was especially important, for it has been said that the entire community would wait for her sign to plant the crops each year, according to Kathryn Peterson, in personal communication in 2003. Additionally, Evans gave much of his time to his duties as chairman of the committee for Table Rock in putting his town “over the top in Liberty Loan, Red Cross, and Young Men’s Christian Association campaigns,” wrote Stone.

"He was a Knight of Pythias at a Colorado Springs Lodge. In addition to his agricultural contributions, Evans led a life active in community affairs before passing away."

Lucille Lavelett, in her 1979 book "Monument's Faded Neighbor Communities and its Folk Lore," describes it in the following.

"The house was on the south side of the road and the barns on the north. Mr. Evans lived on his ranch until his death, during one of Colorado's blizzards, November 19, 1913. Mr. Evans had tried to get to the house from the barn, fell, and was frozen to death."

He is buried in the Monument Cemetery, and on his tombstone it reads, "He arose on the wings of a storm."

After Evans’ death, the ranch was sold in 1932 to C.C. and Ruby Klose, who lived there for approximately ten years before it was sold to Kirby W. and Florence Peterson from Canada. After their deaths, the Peterson family divided the land and sold it to various people. Among those was Clarence Thurston McLaughlin, a wealthy oilman, rancher, and philanthropist from Texas. McLaughlin integrated his portion of the Evans Ranch into the Shamrock Ranch to the southwest. After McLaughlin died, the property was sold to a person named Farrar. The property then passed through a succession of owners before the current owner, Georg Kuhnke, purchased a number of acres, including the barn. The ranch house and other associated buildings across Hodgen Road are presently on thirty acres of land in section 29 owned by another (unrelated) Peterson family, through which much of this history has been discovered.


Photo Information: The J.G. Evans Barn has been restored somewhat in recent years, but still bears the marks of more than century agricultural use here on the Divide.

___ By Rob Carrigan







Saturday, August 13, 2016

History along ‘the back way’ and how forest developed


One of the local connections I find myself most drawn to is the Rampart Range area of the Pike National Forest. Maybe it is the forest itself, or the two newspapers that I run back and forth between, or the sense of history between them.

Because of my connections to Woodland Park and Monument, a favorite summertime travel is the crow-flyish, rough gravel roads connecting them. You can cut off 20 or 30 miles, but add 15 or 20 minutes, by driving “the back way.”

It is also interesting to me how things might have developed differently, with different developers, over time, and different timing.

Jan Mackell Collins notes in her new book “Lost Ghost Towns of Teller County” that perhaps the roads tell some of the story. Same for the developers like Dr. William Abraham Bell, the founder of Manitou Springs, buddy of Colorado Springs founder of Gen. William Palmer.

Bell, though it is not universally known and talked about, also had development efforts in the early days of what is now Palmer Lake and nearby Monument.

“In 1873, Bell built a three-story hotel and some cabins made from tents with wood floors (in what was then known as Bergen’s Park).  Soon, wealthy families from the East and even Europe began visiting the park,” writes Mackell Collins.

“Within a year, a wagon road was planned from Bergen’s Park that would lead east to the town of Monument, in El Paso County and west to the city of Fairplay in Park County,” she said.

“Even as plans for the road were delayed, Bell next developed a trout hatchery. The hatchery ran successfully as late as 1890.

“When Bell discovered there was already another place in Colorado called Bergen Park in 1875, he changed the name to Manitou Park.”

But, of course, there have been other brushes with history in the “in between area.”

In “The story behind the Pike National Forest,” by Marion Ritchey Vance and John A. Vance, and on U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service site, history of the Forest Service itself is tied there.

“On Aug. 8, 1898, Col. May appointed a young man from the Plum Creek Reserve as Forest Ranger in the state of Colorado. William R. Kreutzer thus became the first forest ranger on the Pike National Forest and, reportedly, in the nation. Young Kreutzer knew forests and he took his job seriously.”

His charge from Col. May: “Ride as far as the Almighty will let you, and get control of the fire situation and as much of the mountain country as you possibly can, and keep some sort of a record about it.”

Reforestation became a priority for the new ranger.

“A popular image of the Forest Service is that of rangers arriving to protect wooded lands. In the case of the Pike, the job was first to recreate the forest.

“Protection of the Front Range watershed was paramount. That meant re-establishing ground cover as quickly as possible to stem erosion, and preventing further damage,” the Vances wrote.

To cope with such a massive reforestation project, local foresters began experimenting with seed and seedlings. Seedlings proved more effective, but early nurseries yielded little reward for the arduous labor.

The breakthrough came with establishment of a small planting station at the foot of Mount Herman. Officially named the Monument Nursery in 1907, the seedling facility was one of the first in the forest system and the most important in the Rocky Mountains.

Over its 58 years of service, the Monument Nursery produced millions of seedlings annually. By the early 1950s, more than 40,000 acres of denuded lands on the Pike had been replanted with Douglas fir, blue spruce, Engelmann spruce, ponderosa, limber and bristlecone pine.

Monument supplied seedlings to other forests as well and to private farmers for windbreak and erosion control. Similar efforts were occurring nearby, in the Manitou Park area.

Bell’s own efforts, coupled with the efforts of Palmer, led to the donation of Manitou Park to Colorado College.

“Accordingly, Colorado College established the Colorado School of Forestry. In 1937, the Works Progress Administration built a lovely six-building complex at Manitou Park,” wrote Mackell Collins.

On the other side, “During the Great Depression, Monument Nursery was home to one of Colorado’s largest Civilian Conservation Corps camps. The Corps was key to the reforestation effort. From 1934 to 1942, CCC crews under Forest Service supervision designed and constructed buildings, fought fires, manned the nurseries and planted seedlings,” Vances noted.
Some disagreed with the practices of reforestation.

According to the Denver Republican (June 28, 1908) “…it would behoove the citizens of Colorado Springs to bring an injunction suit against the government, which threatens to plant a million trees per year until 20 million are planted on the Pikes Peak Reserve.”
“Water is scarce enough at Colorado Springs at present conditions, but if the government is going to attempt to water 20 million trees in addition to the trees now absorbing water, I can assure the citizens that in 20 years there would only be water for the trees and none for the city. It would increase the water supply of Colorado Springs materially if every tree was cut from Pikes Peak.”

By 1965, with a relatively healthy forest in place, reforestation was no longer a priority for the district office. Nursery operations were moved to Basalt and the facilities converted in the 1970s to the Monument Fire Center. It now serves as base for the elite firefighting crews known as “hotshots,” says Vance’s story.

The Forest Services, Colorado State Forest Service and Pike National Forest, continue to use the structures in, and around Manitou Park.
The roads between the two areas on “the back way” are passable, most days.




___ By Rob Carrigan


Photo Information:
Photo 1:
Civilian Conservation Corps crews from the Monument  camp working on Mount Herman Road during the 1930s. 

Photo 2:
The CCC Camp nursery in Monument in the early days.

 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Looking for the fountain of lake's youth?



Dr. Edwin James, a botanist with Maj. Stephen H. Long's 1820 expedition and the first to climb Pikes Peak, also recognized the Colorado Blue Columbines in the area around what later became Palmer Lake.
Then in 1843, Lt. John Fremont noted that the flowers near the "dividing ridge" made a "mountain garden" as the "whole valley was radiant with flowers; blue, yellow, pink, white, scarlet and purple, vying with each other in splendor."
The railroads came through in the 1870s and flowers served as a summertime attraction for tourist from all over.
One of the interesting aspects of Palmer Lake's unique history, to me at least, is its use by the railroads to re-water the steam locomotives of the early days of railroads. As a connoisseur of old photos, I have been fascinated by photos of Palmer Lake showing the fountain in the very early days.
I also remember a Palmer Lake Historical project bearing fruit in 1998 in the form of fountain in the lake.
The June 2, 1998 edition of the Tribune told the tale.
"Once again, Palmer Lake has a fountain, the Palmer Lake Historical Society bought and installed the fountain which will serve two purposes," wrote my friend Jeremy Bangs at the time.
"The fountain is meant to resemble one that was on the lake when it was owned by the railroads. Pipes from the town's upper reservoir once fed Palmer Lake with water and the gravity pressure of the water flow formed a large fountain at the south end of the lake."
Bangs said the new fountain was placed in a different location and didn't throw water as high as the original, but it would aerate the lake's contents, making them more hospitable for fish and other aquatic wildlife.
I don't know for a fact, but I assume the fountain was victim of time and drought that followed.
The lake completely dried up by July 2012 because of drought and water management changes.
In December 2014, the Awake Palmer Lake restoration group began dirt work to clear several feet of sediment from the north end of the Lake, exposing the top of the clay (benzonite) layer and filling the southern marsh with dirt. This served to resort the lake to its historical proportions and also to make it more sustainable for the future.
The volunteer group, at the same time, was working on a plan to have Palmer Lake refilled with water by spring of 2014. Palmer Lake's refill involved a court case involving water rights that the town of Palmer Lake  said it was granted in the late 1950s. Town leaders in neighboring Monument have objected to Palmer Lake's request. A state Water Court decision is expected to to determine that.
Meanwhile, in early December 2014, an extensive dirt work project restored the Lake, close to its historical proportions.
In mid-December, 2014 received word that  a Great Outdoors of Colorado (GOCO) grant of matching funds to total $350k had been awarded to be used to build a footbridge and recreational park around the lake and an the west side of the railroad tracks.
In February 2015, an agreement was reached with the town on Monument, as well as other communities, which allows the town of Palmer Lake to exercise senior railroad rights for the purpose of filling and maintaining the lake.
After the wettest May in over 70 years in 2015,  rains and spring activity filled the lake, to almost eight feet on the north end.
Also after June 24, 2015, Palmer Lake water supervisor Steve Orcutt began sending almost six ac/ft of water into the lake. Palmer Lake's industrial water rights were changed to residential, the town now fills the lake with up to 8.4 acre feet per month, and up to 67 acre feet per year. Drinking and household water needs still have top priority over recreational and aesthetic uses.

###





Photo 1:
Fountain is visible in this early photo of the lake, looking west.
Photo 2:
This early hand-colored photo shows the fountain and the Santa Fe Depot.
Photo 3:
Looking east, from the tracks, the fountain is shown beyond a steam locomotive.

Photos courtesy of Palmer Lake Historical Society

Lessons learned from the local one-room schoolhouse


Motorized buses, arriving in the 1920s made longer travel distances possible, and one-room schools were soon consolidated in most portions of the United States into multiple classroom schools where classes could be held separately for various grade levels. By World War II, except in the most rural areas, they were gone.  Florissant Schoolhouse survived locally until 1960.
One of the few complete one-room school education compounds in the western United States, the Florissant Schoolhouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. It includes the schoolhouse itself (now Grange #430), cookhouse (at one time the local Library), teacher's residence, and the boys and girl's privies. The Teacherage, for a time served as the Florissant Heritage Museum.
More than 75 volunteers donated more than 4,000 hours to the restoration of the compound in the early 1990s.
"Harold Kaelin, project manager, donated an astounding 1,695 hours, himself according to an article appearing in the May 6, 1994 Rocky Mountain News by Linda Womack.
The first students graced the doors there in 1887 and continued to do so until 1960 when the school closed. A meeting area was added in 1889, along with the coal shed, which eventually became the cookhouse. The teacherage which appeared on the scene a little after the turn of the 20th Century,  was moved to Woodland Park when the school closed.
The Florissant Heritage Foundation received a gaming tax grant in 1992 from the Colorado Historical Society to restore the compound and the teacherage was moved back to its original location.
The school was also used for dances, weddings, church services, funerals, dinners, parties and programs, and polling places, much as it is used today.
The 1953 Florissant school annual had the following poem in it.

Florissant Schoolhouse, founded in 1890.

Florissant School -- Bless its heart,
Wish the devil, Would blow apart,

Its hallowed rooms So green and gray,
Have seen lots of work, and yet some play

Yes O Yes we're sorry to go, But just the same
We wish it would blow.

"In 1960 students got their wish as the old school was closed," notes Bonnie Ann Smith, in her recently compiled book Flo-GeoYears, Florisant and Lake George, Colorado. Teller and Park Counties in Pikes Peak Backyard.

"Betty Burns saved many of the abandoned school books to later start a Florissant Library."

Betty Burns told the Ute Pass Courier in early 2004 that "We wanted to build a nice school on the Park/Teller county line and Lake George said 'no way.' Building a school made sense. Lake George was the far eastern edge of Park and we were the far western edge of Teller but Lake George didn't want it. So they got their charter school and we consolidated with Woodland Park. A small school doesn't give children the opportunities that a larger school can."

When the Florissant Grange obtained a 99-year lease of the old school building in 1960, books were still in what had been the old school library, a small lean-to attached to the north side of the schoolhouse. Later in 1970, a small lending library began in the old lean-to structure, and continued to develop, eventually becoming a branch of the Rampart Library District, located in different locations including the county building that also housed the Florissant Volunteer Fire Department. It then moved back to the schoolhouse and finally on into a new building completed in April of 2004.  Florissant Public Library opened a 6700-square-feet structure at 334 Circle Drive in Florissant, where it continues to reside today.

###


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Monument’s founder surfaces time, and time again in early Colorado history




When the town of Monument showed up originally on the drawing board, it was Charles Adams listed as the primary owner.
In January of 1874, Charles Adams and Henry Limbach filed a plat statement of the town encompassing about 60 acres in the North half of the South east quarter. 108 lots were platted with Limbach owning 36 and Adams 72. Adams and Limbach, with others, would later file two more additions by 1879, and be involved with more in the 1880s.
Mount Herman, West of Monument, was named after one Herman Schwanbeck, who homesteaded right about where Village Inn is now. Herman appears to have been Charles Adams' uncle, (his father's brother) and Charles was both instrumental in the development of the town, and much of early Colorado.
Charles Adams was born Karl Adams Schwanbeck in Germany in 1845. He came to the United States as young man and served in the Union Army during the the Civil War (as did Henry Limbach) and afterwards was a cavalryman on the Western Plains. His migration from Germany was reportedly for political reasons, according to a 1953 article in the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Karl Schwanbeck, turned Charles Adams, was married to an English girl who did not like the German name of Schwanbeck, so had it changed to Charles Adams," according to Lucille Lavelett's history "Through the Years at Monument."
Though Adams never lived in Monument, according to most reports, staying in the Manitou Springs area much of his life, in area that is still known today as Adam's Crossing. He was also a member of the board of directors of the Colorado City Glass Works and the Manitou mineral water company.
According to Tom Daniels, archivist for the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), the name appeared in the past on official maps, postcards and as the name of a grocery store (at the corner where the medical marijuana shop is today, as reported by the recent Westside Pioneer newspaper article by Kenyon Jordan.
“I'm sure if I dug around some more, I would find hundreds of references to 'Adams Crossing,'” Daniels wrote in a 2012 e-mail to the multi-government project team planning a $16-million bridge/avenue improvement project. “Even the early telephone directories listed numbers in that area as 'Adams Crossing,' including my grandfather!”
Adams/Schwanbeck was appointed Brigadier General of the Colorado Militia in 1870. Later he was an Indian agent, and a special agent in the post-office department, and also Minister to Bolivia, for two years, appointed by President Rutherford B, Hayes.
After the White River Ute outbreak after the Meeker Massacre in 1879 he distinguished himself by tracking Colorow and his band, and with the help his friend Ouray, and persuaded the hostiles to release their five hostages taken captive at the White River Agency.
Returning to Colorado, he became involved in mining and water development. In addition, he was appointed as US Indian Agent to the Ute Tribe, serving through 1874. There were at least seven distinct groups of Utes in Colorado at that time, although settlers often could not distinguish them. Adams dealt primarily with the White River and Uncompahgre Utes.
Adams established good relationships with Ouray and his wife Chipeta, of the Uncompahgre Utes. This friendship was useful in helping him negotiate the release of five captives (three women and two children) taken by the Utes in 1879 after the Meeker Massacre.
It was in his role as Indian Agent that he also came into contact with legendary Colorado Cannibal Alfred or 'Alferd' Packer.
Packer (as guide) and Israel Swan, Shannon Wilson Bell, George Noon, James Humphrey, and Frank Miller risked the brutal Colorado winter of 1873-74 in search of mineral wealth in the snowy San Juans in southwest Colorado. After leaving Ouray's camp, nearby present-day Montrose, the group was buried by blizzard near the present site of Lake City, Colorado.
Packer was next seen on April 16, 1874, straggling into the Los Pinos Indian Agency with little more than a rifle and a skinning knife belonging to members of his party. The story Packer told at that time was that, once the storm hit, he had set up camp while the others went forward in search of food. They never returned, and Packer subsequently headed out for Los Pinos.
After recovering, Packer left for Saguache, Colorado, where by some accounts he suddenly became a 'big spender' at the local saloon. Unfortunately for Packer, in Saguache he encountered several men from the original Provo group who were dubious about his version of the story.
Indian Agent Charles Adams took Packer back to Los Pinos for questioning about the matter, and on May 8, 1874, extracted the first of Packard's two conflicting confessions. According to Packer, Israel Swan had died and the others, being without food, had eaten him. Subsequently, three others had died from exposure and starvation. Then, Packer admitted to killing Shannon Bell, claiming it was in self-defense.
Packer was transported back to Saguache and jailed outside of town, not in the town's jail house as some have told. In August, Packer escaped from custody and wasn't seen again until March, 1883, when Frenchy Cabazon, one of the original prospecting party, found him quite by accident in Douglas, Wyoming.
By coincidence, on the day of Packer's escape from Saguache, the ghostly remains of the missing prospectors were found in a valley overlooking what is now Lake City, Colorado. There was evidence of a struggle and foul play.
In March, 1883, Packer was taken to Denver, Colorado, and questioned again about the incident. In his second confession, Packer stuck with his original claim of self-defense, but admitted to stealing the rifle and $70 in cash from the dead men. Packer was charged with the murder of Israel Swan, the first to die, and was taken to Lake City for trial.
The jury wasted no time in finding Packer guilty of murder, and Judge Melville B. Gerry suggested he hang. Packer appealed his conviction to the Colorado Supreme Court where the verdict was reversed. He was tried again and this time found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 40 years in the state penitentiary. After serving only 17 years of his sentence, Packer's cause was championed by a grass-roots campaign in Denver. In 1901, Governor Charles S. Thomas granted Packer's parole request.
Packer moved to Littleton, where by all accounts he became a model citizen, well liked by all of his neighbors. He died of natural causes on April 23, 1907, and was buried with military funeral in Littleton Cemetery.
Adams died in fire and explosion at the Gumry Hotel in Denver in 1895.
"Denver's Gumry Hotel at Seventeenth and Lawrence Streets blows up near midnight in August 1895, killing twenty-two people — the greatest loss of life to a fire in Denver's history. Some are trapped in the wreckage for hours. One man, entombed for 9 hours "is mighty glad to get out." Young boiler engineer Elmer Loescher denies the explosion was his fault. Convened to determine the cause, a cornor's jury spreads the blame around," wrote Dick Kreck in Denver in Flames.
Charles Adams is buried in Crystal Valley Cemetery in Manitou Springs with two gravestones, according to recent story in the Westside Pioneer. One stone notes his Civil War service and the other call attention to him as "rescuer of the captive Meeker women."

Photo Information:

Top photo: Charles Adams is flanked by Ouray and his wife Chipeta in a photo taken in Washington, D.C. during treaty talks in 1880.

Bottom Photo: Prisoner Alfred Packer upon his release from prison in 1901.





Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dolores Archeological Project sifts through time




“...as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold - everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment - an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by - I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, 'Can you see anything?' it was all I could do to get out the words, 'Yes, wonderful things.”


― Howard Carter, Tomb of Tutankhamen




As a youngster, some of my most vivid memories are surrounded by a pinion- and juniper-tree backdrop and the strange abandoned cities on the green table drained by the Mancos River in southwestern Colorado.
Early in those days, the entire mummified remains of “Ester,” and various other ancient pueblo inhabitants, still were displayed openly in cases at the museum on the rim above Spruce Tree House in Mesa Verde National Park.
And, of course, I had read books of archeologists and seen "Curse of the Mummy," and other classic portrayals of the romantic view of the study. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" had not yet appeared. When it did in 1981, it pretty much fell into line with my early world view of what those cats do for a living.
But I don't really think I had really encountered a true, honest-to-goodness archeologist yet.
That is, until that early spring day, in the late 1970s, right there at the nail counter of Taylor Hardware. Personified in the rough-and-tumble image of Professor Bill Lipe. I believe he was there to buy a mop bucket.
As things tended to do back then, he happened to catch Merton Taylor's attention. At that very point, conversations between the two progressed along the lines of wonder and awe, and mystery — twisting and turning, winding here and there, and landing at, what perhaps was already was known as DAP, or the Dolores Archeological Project.
I talked with Professor Bill Lipe recently in a telephone conversation, at his office, now professor emeritus of anthropology at Washington State University.
"Merton Taylor would have come in contact with, either as a child or later in the hardware store, these early archeologists in the area. I’m sure he knew Paul Martin and Al Lancaster, and he very likely knew Arthur Rohn and Joe Ben Wheat," Lipe said about some of those early conversations, of which, I was the proverbial "fly on the wall."
"Paul Martin did extensive excavations in the Ackman-Lowry area near Pleasant View in the summers from 1928 to 1938. The best-known part of this work was his excavations of Lowry Ruin, now a BLM visitor site. He also did important work in some of the earlier sites of the Basketmaker III and Pueblo I periods. In the late 1920s, he worked for the Colorado Historical Society, but then moved to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago about 1930, and spent the rest of his career there. At the end of the 1930s, he shifted his area of study to the 'Mogollon' highlands of west-central New Mexico, where for many years he excavated sites that represented ancestral Pueblo traditions, but ones that differed from those of the 'Anasazi' of the Four Corners area. Martin was one of the best-known archaeologists of his era," Lipe said.
"Al Lancaster was a WW I veteran from Oklahoma who homesteaded near Pleasant View in the 1920s. As time permitted, he started identifying archaeological sites for Paul Martin and then started helping with the excavations. He became very skilled at this and Martin gave him increasing responsibility and employed him full-time directing excavation crews. Lancaster was the field foreman for Martin’s work at Lowry Ruin. In the mid-1930s, he was hired by J.O. Brew of Harvard University to be field foreman for some extensive excavations at Alkali Ridge in SE Utah. And later he served as field foreman for other major excavation projects with Brew at Awatovi in NE Arizona and for Emil Haury of the U. of Arizona at Snaketown in southern Arizona. Between these assignments, Lancaster worked for many years at Mesa Verde National Park, where he helped develop better methods for preserving and stabilizing standing masonry walls in the sites there. He also excavated and stabilized some of the mesa-top sites that visitors see on the 'ruins road' loop at the Park.
"In the late 1950s and earl 1960s, Arthur Rohn excavated the Mug House cliff dwelling on Wetherill Mesa in Mesa Verde National Park, as part of a major National Park Service project funded by the National Geographic Society. Following that, Rohn completed a PhD dissertation at Harvard and became a professor at the University of Illinois, moving later to Wichita State University. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he excavated several open (non-cliff-dwelling) sites in Montezuma County, in the general Goodman Point area," said Lipe.
Merton Taylor may also have known Joe Ben Wheat, a University of Colorado Professor who for a number of years in the 1970s and early 1980s excavated several sites in the Yellow Jacket area of Montezuma County (though not the very large site typically referred to as the Yellow Jacket ruin). Wheat directed University of Colorado field schools at these sites, and a number of young archaeologists received their first field experience there.
"Southwestern Colorado has been an important area for archaeological research for many years, and many of the archaeologists and archaeology students who worked in this area may well have ventured into Taylor Hardware during the years when it was in business, Lipe said.
At the time back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Lipe and his colleagues roamed area of the project and stayed locally during the summers.
"The Cline house we used as a base for our camp on the Dolores Project, my understanding is that it was a farmhouse, and not part of the McPhee community. We used it for office space and for cooking meals, but the members of the WSU excavation team lived in tents. It was a single story frame house with probably two bedrooms. There was also a functioning well, and that was useful. I don’t think I ever met any of the Clines, so I’m not sure of the name of the Cline family that lived in this house," he said.
"Another house that was left standing and was used to some extent by the Dolores Project was the Periman place. This was a two-story home made of concrete blocks cast to look like stone. There is information about it in the small book “River of Sorrows” that documented some of the historical sites and the history of the reservoir area," he said.
Longtime local musician and history buff Ellis Miller remembers those days.
"I returned to Dolores in June of 1979 after a long absence," Miller said,
"V.T. Boyd was mayor of Dolores, as well as owner of a couple of businesses including the restaurant formerly known as the Italian Cowboy and Shadow Mountain before that. It adjoined the Del Rio Hotel on the east. Prior to the beginning of construction on the dam project he expanded the restaurant to include a saloon, utilizing the vacant lot next door and called the whole enterprise the Sawmill Run. The saloon opened in June of 1979 and I was the first one to play there," he said
"The saloon was reminiscent of an old west saloon with a long bar, sawdust on the floor and a bandstand and dance floor at the far end. Shelled peanuts were served at the bar and on the tables with the expectation that the shells would be thrown on the floor to mingle with the sawdust. V.T. kept lots of cash on hand and would cash the dam worker’s paychecks with the certainty that they would spend a good amount at the establishment and that the dam workers would become a reliable customer base. He was correct on both counts. The Sawmill run did a roaring business with patronage from both the dam workers and locals," according to Miller.
"The Hollywood Bar, the long time local institution was down the street from the Sawmill Run. I called the distance between the two, the hundred foot mile. The Hollywood did a booming business as well. The Sawmill was geared more toward entertainment and the Hollywood was more about shooting pool and solving the problems of the world, and both were about serious drinking. Patrons would usually fit into one of several groups: The home guard – cowboys, loggers and other locals, the Archeologists and the dam workers. People would meander up and down the street as moods dictated and the money flowed freely. While it was not too hard to arrange a fist fight between the various factions (and there were a few), most of the time everyone got along well," he said.
"I was also on the Town Board during the early 1980s. The major federal force through the process was the BLM. A unique aspect of the Dolores Project is that there was to be no private land adjoining the Lake or in the river valley downstream from the dam to the Bradfield Bridge. Therefore imminent domain came to play both in acquiring the land for the lake, the area surrounding it and downstream from the dam. I don’t know the particulars, but there were a couple pieces of property that the BLM was not able to acquire. One was up House Creek, owned by Eldon Zwicker and there was a 20-acre parcel in the river bottom about half way between the dam and the Bradfield Bridge. There were also a couple of properties on the downstream end of Dolores that were actually condemned but somehow got returned to the owners. One was the house on the hill by the sewer plant and the other was the old Porter place. The old Dolores Cemetery was preserved," Miller said.
"The BLM went out of their way to work with the Dolores Town Board. Joe Rowell Park is the result of a joint effort between the Town and the BLM. The BLM filled and graded the area which opened the door for the Town to secure funding from the Department of Local Affairs to put in the irrigation system, grass etc. Corky McClain expressed concern that during low water the area below the bridge would become an unsightly mud flat. The BLM agreed to construct the ponds that are there now with the bypass channel for the river.
"The sewer plant was one of the more challenging issues. No one wanted it where it is but the choices were the current location or to pump the sewage to the top of the hill which would have been cost prohibitive. And so, the lesser of two undesirable possibilities – just like politics," he said.
I asked him if he thought DAP and the Dam project changed the place and how.
"It seems to me the Dam project and the DAP were part of several factors leading a general opening of the area in the 80s and 90s. Dolores and SW Colorado in general were 'discovered.' Recreational property along the Dolores River and near the National Forest and BLM land increased in value as people of means built second homes. There were also the folks who wanted to move from urban areas in California, Texas etc to raise their families in a safer, rural, more family friendly place.
There were some impacts more specifically related to the Dam project, he said, and impacts were multi-pronged.
1. The Forest Service and BLM increased their presence in the area which brought a number of permanent, high paying jobs.
2. Agriculture became easier and more lucrative for farmers who were able to access Dolores Water Conservancy District water and dry farm crops (beans and wheat) were abdicated in favor of irrigated crops – mostly hay.
3. The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe was able to utilize water rights granted by treaty leading to a large farming enterprise on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation.
4. The outdoor recreation and tourism industries in the area have experienced steady growth since the project albeit not as rapidly as many had hoped.
"In my opinion a more subtle but profound impact of the Dam project and the DAP was the elevation of the awareness of the archeology in the area. The 'Indian ruins' at Mesa Verde were often perceived more as a novelty or a side trip. The archeology that was done pursuant to the Dolores Project along with the building of the Anasazi Heritage Center provided a new dimension to perceptions of the importance of the Four Corners area as a world class archeological destination," Miller says.
I asked him if it altered where we were headed.
"I don't think it altered where we were going as much as accelerated where we were going. Conversations of damming the Dolores River for a major irrigation project began in the late 1800s in the context of the first efforts to provide irrigation water to the Montezuma Valley. The area had been a recreation destination and the Dam enhanced the recreation experience. Agriculture had been a major component in the local economy and the Dam made it possible to farm more effectively and lucratively. The tourist / service industry didn't begin with the Dam project but was enhanced by it. There are other examples. Mining and logging have experienced significant changes that impacted the economics of the area, however, those changes had nothing to do with the Dam," according to Miller.
"The long term effects were not transformative. Instead the changes have been more subtle than perhaps was expected. Big picture, I think most would agree that the economy and quality of life were enhanced by the project in a slow and steady manner,"
A hundred years from now, what will be the legacy of the work that was done?
"That is a tough one, given the complexity of our times, rapidity of technological advancement and that sort of thing. My father once told me that if there was ever a 'shootin' war in this country" it would be over water. Water is often taken for granted, but can also be the source of huge political and economic power. In a worst case scenario, he who controls the water has the power of life and death over what and who resides downstream. The majority of water resting in McPhee Reservoir is owned by downstream entities, municipalities etc in Arizona, Nevada, California and Mexico. Water law is complex and hard to interpret. The Colorado River Compact which is the basis for allocation of water in the Colorado River drainage favors upstream states. Since the compact was written, the populations of Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix have expanded exponentially as has the demand for water. Therefore the Colorado River Compact is frequently challenged and efforts are usually afoot to rewrite it or do away with it altogether. We can see the conflict over the water intensifying now and it promises to escalate," Miller notes.
"I don't plan to be around in a hundred years but it will be interesting to see if dear old Dad called it correctly, " Miller said.
LouAnn Jacobson, Retired Manager, Anasazi Heritage Center and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, also helped me understand the impacts of the project.
I asked her to describe the significance of that work, and the connection to the DAP in general?
"The DAP was one of the largest, for a long time, the largest (might still be—I’m not sure), archaeological projects in the US. It was one of the first to emphasize careful maintenance of the provenience of excavated materials. As a result, it is extremely valuable for researchers," she said.
"I wasn’t in SW Colorado during the height of the DAP but many of the DAP archaeologists stayed in the area; some becoming well-known, cutting edge archaeologists; others stayed because they loved the area and established themselves in other careers," Jacobson said.
"For a long time the AHC had a massive collection of sports trophies from the many DAP teams that participated in community sports leagues. There were so many archaeologists associated with the DAP that every year there were multiple DAP teams. The trophies took up a lot of valuable space and had no special significance to the AHC mission/scope of collections so we offered them to any DAP person who wanted one. Some folks raised quite a ruckus about this because they thought the trophies were a part of DAP history, but ultimately the trophy collection was culled down to a few representative examples."
"Initially, the Anasazi Heritage Center (AHC) was developed to be the curation facility for the DAP. Local citizens wanted to make sure that the collections stayed in SW Colorado rather than being moved to the University of Colorado, Washington State University, or some other far away location," she said.
"The AHC is a user friendly museum and interpretive center with exhibits and information about the archaeology and history of SW Colorado, the Ancestral Puebloan lifestyle, and relationship between the Ancestral Puebloans and Pueblo people today. The AHC is the primary curation facility for the DAP collections and the AHC continues to make the DAP collection available for research. The AHC library began as a reference library for DAP archaeologists and continues to be a reference source for professional and avocational archeologists, educators, volunteers, and the general public. The complete 19-volume final report from the Dolores Archaeological Program (1978-84) is available, as are numerous technical reports and the original unedited field reports," she said.
Also, Jacobson recommends the following site for information about the collections there:
http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/nm/canm/collections___research.html

http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/ahc/dolores_archaeological.html

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument was established in 2000 to protect cultural and natural resources on a landscape scale. More than 6,000 archaeological sites have been recorded in the Monument—which has the highest known density of sites in the United States. The Monument is primarily undeveloped back country and provides an opportunity for visitors to explore this outdoor museum on their own.
One of the noteworthy accomplishments and attributes of the Dolores Project, according to Lipe, was the fact that it was one of the first fully computerized. There is a wealth of precise data as result. The former 'Apple Barn' was once a big spacious building at the figurative center of the project where people writing the reports collected, and artifacts were stored for a time.
I recall the large crates and ladders, and surrounding orchards, peacocks and farm animals from a time before the project. And my mother picking apples for Everette Tibbits. Later, documentation, explanation and presentation of the massive project had a profound impact me personally. I continue down that, winding path, first hinted at in those barely-remembered conversations of long ago.

More to come...

Training of a generation of Archeologists.

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Photo information: Clearing and mapping the floor of a large pithouse dating to the AD 800s. Paper tags indicate where artifacts were found on the floor. Photo courtesy of William Lipe.





Saturday, July 2, 2016

Local history needs a dirty woman



There is no way that either Pink Floyd, or Black Sabbath, were wandering around the Pikes Peak area in the '60s and '70s, but if they were, they would have found a "Dirty Woman." That would be the 1860s and 1870s, of course, and this "Dirty Woman" is not the kind they write gritty, dark-sided rock anthems about.
Local historian Jack Anthony tells the story this way in his History Trail Run.
"About two miles north of Pring Station we cross over a unassuming creek called Dirty Woman Creek. Originally named Dirty Woman Gulch in 1861, this branch of Monument Creek gained the name “Dirty Woman Creek” thanks to a lady who lived in a shack along the creek," he writes.
One local source even claims that part of the woman's shack survives near the turnoff to Mount Herman and Mitchell Roads.
"The Dirty Woman received her name from soldiers who traveled back and forth though the region in the 1860’s. The ‘Dirty Woman’ didn’t exactly keep herself, her property and children very clean; thus, the name ‘Dirty Woman’ stuck. She tended goats, chickens, cats, dogs, and other animals on her ranch and in her house! The ‘Dirty Woman” also made butter by trampling the cream with her bare feet! Perhaps ‘Dirty Woman’ brand butter was wee bit gritty," Anthony notes.
Lucille Lavelett version of the story of Dirty Woman, in her 1975 book "Through the Years at Monument Colorado," goes this way.
"Dirty Woman Gulch as it was named in the 1870s and later called Dirty Woman Creek, is the first creek crossed when entering Monument from the South. It is South of the Monument School and is a branch of the Monument Creek. In the 1870s, the school was built near the gulch. Near the stream lived a woman in a shack. The woman kept goats, chickens, cats, dogs and other animals and did not keep it, or herself very clean, so in speaking, the kids called it Dirty Woman Gulch and still is known by that name."
Others weighed in on the tale. From the diary of Mrs. Byron N. Sanford, December 27, 1861:
“Last night we stopped at what is called ‘Dirty Woman Ranch’ and really it could have no more appropriate name. Minnie and I go into the house and cook meals when we can. As we entered the door of this place the woman was pelting something with a broomstick. A young pig had wandered into the kitchen and got his head fast in a cream jar. It fitted pretty close and in frantic efforts to get loose, rolled over and over on the floor, while the youngsters who swarmed, it seemed, scampered under the beds as the mother pounded and yelled until, at last, the jar and pig rolled out into the yard. We gave the youngsters some cookies as they gaped at us in wonder, paid the ‘Dirty Woman’ for her trouble and returned to camp.”
"Remember the Teachout’s stagecoach stop," Anthony writes, "As stage coaches traveled north to Denver their next stop would be near the “Dirty Woman’s” place. The stagecoach drivers called it the ‘Dirty Woman’ stop. Perhaps you can pause as you cross her creek, look southwest and imagine the ‘Dirty Woman’ and her kids cheering you on as you trod north," says Anthony.
But, it appears, she wasn't the only "Dirty Woman" in the area at the time.
"It wasn’t long before Florissant became a very profitable town bringing in blacksmiths, livestock, a sawmill, and of course the doctoring services of Nancy Ann Roberts. Nancy Ann Roberts was known as “Dirty Woman” for her harsh demeanor and foul mouth. She wore a dirt-crusted dress, smoked a corncob pipe and swore like a man. She would offer her services as midwife and herbalist whenever they were needed. In addition to her doctoring services she built, owned, and operated the local sawmill on her land, Dirty Woman Ranch," notes a history of homesteaders and settlers in the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument history information.

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