Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Forerunner to the “Geese” being rebuilt in Woodland Park

Despite difficult terrain, extreme weather conditions, and a trainload of financial difficulties, the Rio Grande Southern (RGS) Railroad operated 162 miles of track between Ridgway and Durango from legendary Otto Mear’s construction efforts, beginning in 1890, until they went into receivership again and started pulling up track in 1953.
RGS built seven motors and one additional short-lived vehicle for the San Christobal Railroad on the Denver & Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) Lake City branch. The term “Motor” was officially used by the RGS, although by 1944, the term “Galloping Goose” was used locally.
A forerunner to the “Geese,” an open inspection car, built from a 1911 Model T Ford is being recreated locally.
Local model builder, blacksmith, and architect Lowell Ross is restoring a precisely detailed, comprehensive duplicate of the original RGS Inspection #1, in his shop locally in Woodland Park. The car is being rebuilt from a converted Model T Ford, and the original served as an inspection vehicle for Superintendent W.D. Lee on the Rio Grande Southern.
“I am just about ready. Finally locating the wheels for the car, in the desert of Nevada,” Ross said.
Although not technically a Goose, the RGS Inspection Car #1, led to development of the storied line.
In early use, an out-of-control RGS Inspection Car #1 rolled into the Dolores River, and according to the lore in 1913, Lee and his wife jumped before it hit the water. Road Master J. C. Gilland didn’t, and was seriously hurt. Mrs. Lee reportedly refused to ride in it after that mishap, saying it bounced too much. In 1925, it was wrecked again, this time, beyond repair, and was scrapped.
Something larger and more powerful, anyway, was needed to provide passenger, mail, and LCL (less than carload) freight services to these remote mountain communities.
RGS hired auto mechanic Jack Odenbaugh for the Ridgway shop crew, and he built Motor No. 1 from a 1925 Buick Model 45 touring car in early 1931. It uses an extended frame, the front of the car body, and a stake bed.
Odenbough and his crew built two more motors in 1931. Motor No. 2 was built from a Buick four-door sedan with an enclosed freight body behind and Motor No. 3 from a Pierce-Arrow limousine. Motors 4, 5, and 7 were built similarly to No. 3, and Motor No. 6 was a work motor built similar to No. 1.
The RGS motors economically operated during World War II, repairing the “Geese” with war surplus bus bodies from the Wayne Company of Richmond, Indiana. The bodies allowed more passengers and had doors on both sides for entry, as some of the buses were built for use in right-hand-drive England.
Larger passenger trains were used to attract additional tourists to the scenic route, and the RGS finally began using the term “Galloping Goose” in advertising for scenic tours in 1950-1951. Books and articles about them as early as 1947 had referred to these vehicles as “Galloping Geese.” The Rocky Mountain Railroad Club began scheduling fan trips on the Galloping Geese in 1946, and a number of fan trips were run with the “geese.”
Unfortunately, too late to save the RGS, which again went into receivership under J. Pierpont Fuller. In late 1951, he decided the RGS was in too rough shape to continue operation. Abandonment was approved by the ICC in April 1952. The route was sold for scrap, and the line was ripped up by June 1953, with Motor No. 6 pulling the last rails up at Hesperus.
The ‘Galloping Geese,’ as well as some other locomotives and rolling stock, survived the death of the RGS. The Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden acquired and restored No. 2, 6, and 7. Knott’s Berry Farm of Buena Park, California, bought Motor No. 3 and operates it in the amusement park, along with D&RGW 2-8-0 #340 and RGS 2-8-0 #41. Motor No. 4 is on display in Telluride. Motor No. 5, restored to operational condition in 1998, is showcased at the depot-museum in Dolores.

Stories growing in stature: Culturally modified trees (CMTs) are a living, breathing historical record

It makes some sense, that if you wanted to tell a story to your children, and your grand-children, and perhaps their children, and their children’s children — you might tell that story to a Ponderosa pine tree.
Culturally modified trees (CMTs) might be the form such stories take locally, and former El Paso County Sheriff John Anderson tells the story of the story tellers in a new book due soon.
He also has conducted tours and hikes centered mostly on reasons that the Utes, Native Americans inhabiting this area, might have modified area trees.
He says the Utes had different reasons for modification including navigational, medicinal, nutritional, educational, burial or spiritual purposes. He cautions, however, that other things, like heavy snow fall, lightning, and natural forces can also alter the way a tree might grow.
With recent local fires, in Waldo Canyon, the Black Forest area, Hayman and around the state, it is important to preserve such cultural resources as they are continually damaged or destroyed by man and the ravages of nature.
“It’s becoming critical that we find out now what we have in terms of living resources and document them,” said Rick Wilson, then chief ranger at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument nearly a decade ago.
With beetles kill; drought and fires as a constant threat; and even foresters, carrying out fuel-reduction programs, the cultural record of American Indian activities and lifestyles could be lost forever.
The Ponderosa Pine is the major species used for dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating, to study historic climate patterns by reading the width of tree rings. In wet years, trees grow wide rings. In dry years, the rings are narrow. Reading tree ring widths from the roof beams of cliff dwellings and other Indian ruins has allowed archaeologists to precisely date their construction.
Native Americans ate the seeds of this tree either raw or made into a bread and used the pitch as adhesive and waterproofing agent for canoes, baskets and tents. Ponderosa Pine lumber is highly valued for constructing cabinets, Southwestern-style furniture and house trim.
Locally Ponderosa Pines have been scorched or killed by recent forest fires. Though ironically, without the forest fires, Ponderosas would not be able to survive.
Fires are essential for Ponderosas because they help keep the more shade-tolerant tree species from invading Ponderosa Pine’s preferred habitat. While small Ponderosas may succumb to a hot fire, only the most horrendous crown-fires or firestorms will kill the bigger trees. Even if all the needles are burned off the tree, it will still survive. Its thick bark acts like an armor, protecting the life force of the tree known as the phloem layer. As long as this inner bark that transports sugars isn’t burned, the tree will survive.
Ponderosa Pine trees will live as long as 800 years, which is a considerable shelf life for most stories.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blacksmith, architect, model builder, preservationist, Ross pounds it out with precision

There is a Finish proverb that holds 'No one is a blacksmith when they are born.' But sometimes, a deep interest in history, a gift for precision, strong focus on detail, and an opportunity to learn — point folks in that direction.  Lowell Ross, of Woodland Park, was practicing the craft Saturday afternoon Oct. 11, at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, near Northgate Road and I-25. 
"It hasn't been working much since the 1990s," Ross said of the WMMI smith works, as he pounded out several curved knives at demonstrations during the weekend harvest festival. He thinks he might have been the last one operating it, in about 2001.
"Our Blacksmith shop is now up and running and we had blacksmithing demonstrations this weekend at our Reynolds Ranch Harvest Festival," said WMMI director Jeff Tapparo about Friday's and Saturday's (Oct. 10 and 11) events. 
Ross said there are eventual plans to restore completely, the complex line shaft machine shop that incorporates trip wheels, clutch mechanisms, and flat belts to power grinders, drills and other equipment.
He picked up the trade watching a few old timers that knew a thing or two about black smithing and the skills go hand-in-hand with his day job.  He is an architect with Fine Line Design Studio, LLC,  of Woodland Park. 
"I’ve been a practicing architect for years, designing commercial and residential structures throughout the world.  I have also been building professional commercial models for clients all over the county."  He also professes a love of history that has helped in the creation of Anvil Mountain Models, a sideline that develops historically accurate scale models.  
"I started scratch building scale models in my early childhood, winning my first model contest at age 14.  Since then many of my models have won national awards  – best of show and several first place awards at National Narrow Gauge Conventions.  Being an architect, I offer well thought out kits with innovative and time saving techniques and clear comprehensive instructions.""At a very early age my family spent our free time exploring old ghost towns and mine sites, fostering a love for historic structures.  Since childhood I’ve continued to explore old mine sites and ghost towns throughout the United States, and have spent countless hours hiking to hundreds of remote mills/mines/ghost towns," he said.
"My personal sketch books are full of detail drawings documenting these sites and great old structures.  Living in Colorado allows me the opportunity to continue exploring many historic sites.   In the 1990’s I lived in Telluride and Ouray Colorado during which I fell in love with the history and beauty of the San Juan Mountains.  Since then I have spent a considerable amount of time researching and documenting many of the structures throughout the San Juan's – many of which are from Silverton." 
"The kits I offer come from these years of research and documentation. I personally model Otto Mears' three railroads with a special emphasis on the Silverton Northern.  Many of the kits offered and future offerings will reflect my personal interests."
To top that off, he is also restoring, in his shop locally, RGS Inspection Car #1, rebuilt from a converted Model T Ford, as an inspection vehicle for Superintendent W.D. Lee on the Rio Grande Southern. Although not a Goose, the forerunner perhaps led to development. It rolled into the Dolores River according to the lore in 1913, and Lee and his wife jumped before it hit the water. Road Master J. C. Gilland didn't, and was seriously hurt. Mrs. Lee reportedly refused to ride it after that mishap, saying it bounced too much. In 1925, it was wrecked again, this time, beyond repair, and was scrapped.
Locally, his accurate scale models appear in the Cripple Creek Heritage Center, a complex replica of the Will Rodgers Shrine of the Sun for  El Pomar, and new project that will replicate the tram line at the Buffalo Boy Mine for the Silverton Northern Interpretive Center. 
Ross said he started smithing in the 1990s when he wanted to create historically accurate brackets for one of his buildings and hired a blacksmith to build them. "They asked me if I wanted to give them a hand, and that was the start of it. "
 He says that typically, blacksmithing was a trade learned as master/apprentice but there are not those same opportunities available today. He estimates he spends about 1,200 to 1,500 hours a year at the craft — usually at three or four hours at a time, because it takes long time to get the forge hot. 
He would eventually like to develop it, as a business, perhaps with architectural hardware development as the focus. 
He has a lean-to type shop at home and plans for whole new building, where he might incorporate the use of two vintage air hammers (a 100-pound and 50-pound, the largest weighs nearly 4,000 pounds and takes up significant space. Plans also include line (modeled after the ones used from about 1918 to 1930) that enables him to run his other vintage equipment via flat belts and other related technology of the period... "my own mechanical mini-museum." 
Ross says a person can get into to smithing for near nothing, by using makeshift equipment in the form of an anvil made of railroad rail for $50 to $80, and brake drum modified  to become a bellows for the forge. But vintage anvils now go for about $5 per pound (which adds up with the weight of an anvil) and other equipment that was often scrapped in '70s and '80s as blacksmithing was seen somewhat of a 'dying art.'
Today, there has been a major resurgence. 
"Historically, it was fixing tools and making tools, wheelwrights, ferriers, and such. But recently there is a new-found appreciation for the art aspects based on raw skill and craftmanship. It goes along well with my work as an architect with the expression of joinery of materials, it is an easy transition..."
As an architect, the overlap for him is manifested in the economy of architectural preservation, joinery of timbers, and old-fashioned arts, used to build structures that place emphasis on beauty of material, structure and details. "Instead of taking any two pieces of material and unceremoniously slapping them together," Ross said.
Structures that locally that demonstrate some of that forethought include work that he has collaborated on including Keller Williams building in Woodland Park, structures at Sturman Industries, Focus on the Family, and many Church buildings all along the Front Range.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

We dropped valuable tools, somewhere along line

It didn't have anything to do with Second Amendment rights, self-protection, violence, or even the possibility of violence — but when I was little, just about everyone in my Colorado hometown carried a knife around in their pocket, or purse, or hanging from a chain around their neck. I miss those days, not only for their utility, but for their innocence.
We all carried pocket knives, or pen knives, key chain knives, or buck knives on our belts in leather scabbards. At noon, at the high school I went to, you would often see half-a-dozen, to 20, playing games with said knives. No expulsions, no zero-tolerance, no labels, no fear, and relatively no concern about how we would turn out, as knife-game-playing adults.
I know the world is different, but you know, I am nostalgic.
We picked up the habit at early age. With our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncle or aunts providing our first one. Sometimes, very early. I think I remember Mike Edwards sporting a two-blade Case used for digging in ant hills in some of my earliest memories. He was a year older than me but moved from the house across the alley when I was six or seven.
Some of us would experiment with different types, or styles during our lives, never being pinned down by convention, or conviction, or commitment. Others would settle on one style distinctly, and early, and carry it for life.
My dad had single-blade, locking, bone-handled Case with burn chips in blade from accidentally hitting still "hot" wires under the dash in automotive wiring puzzles that he carried (as far I am able to figure out) his entire life.
Edena Akin flirted for a time dangerously, with a wicked, pearl-handled, switch blade, that she regaled seventh- and eighth-grade boys with, in the prime of pubescence.
Years later, when in high school, and working at the hardware store that sold any manner of pocket knife, (with Bucks, and Old Timers, Case, Imperials and Schrades, just to name a few,)  I came to associate personalities with the knife they carried. Many bought them there at Taylor's, but even if they didn't, they often spent a fair amount of time back at the oil stone on top of the bolt counter sharpening them.
In the back room, far enough away from the red dogs laying on worn Astro-turf, right at armpit level for many folks, the oil stone sat in a foot-long metal case, with a can of 3-in-1 nearby. Usually the stone was smooth side up, but you could flip it to rough, if your piece was really in bad shape. The oil-soaked spongy material would help on the flip.  I don't know for sure how many hours were 'wasted' badgering Merton over at the check-in stand (or at the Micro Fiche) in the name of "knife sharpening," but it was substantial. Today, the Labor Department would probably require reporting it in the "under-employed" number.
You could tell a lot about a person, by the kind of knife he, or she, carried. Merton himself, always had, and was willing to loan briefly, a very small two-blade Old Timer. It was a common type, carried by many in the area (we probably sold 10 two-blade Old Timers, for every KA-Bar or lock blade Buck, but we moved a significant number of those around Christmas time,) and was lost or damaged on occasion, requiring replacement.
I learned about the possibility of "little man syndrome" as slight fellows, driving huge pickup trucks, regularly sharpened seven-inch spear point Gerber survival knives that would have made Napoleon Bonaparte proud. I learned of utilitarians that had trouble dropping an edge on beat up, disjointed Imperials from the dime store, and all personalities in between.
Today, in a time when I don't often carry the small, brass-clad, walnut inlaid, single-lock blade I've had for more than 30 years, it is because I might need to go to the Court House and don't want to mess with security, or I'm traveling and would lose it (or create an international incident) at the air port. I still long for the innocence, and utility of those long-gone days gone by.
It's not the knife I care about, but the utility, and especially— the innocence.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Area closed since 1913 opened, but already booked for this year

The day after the City of Colorado Springs announced the opening of the South Slope of Pikes Peak, all spaces had been reserved already for 2014. Nearly 9,000 acres, at elevation ranging from 10,500 to more than 12,000 feet, had been off limits to the public since 1913. The area was reopened for a few days in October but all permits have been reserved by Friday, and it will not reopen again until the summer of 2015, under similar restrictions.
Reservoirs that were opened to the public on limited basis Oct. 4, by permit only, were McReynolds, Mason and Boehmer, but strict rules applied and the area will be closed again for the season by Oct. 13.
Permits were obtained online, or by visiting the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, Administrative Office, 1401 Recreation Way; Monday-Friday; 8 am - 2 pm.
Permit reservations (in-person) had to be made by 1 p.m. the business day prior, or no less than 72 hours prior on the internet. The city only allowed a limited number of vehicles and users each day, to this secluded, high altitude recreation area, and was charging $15 per vehicle, up to eight persons per vehicle.  More than eight in a vehicle required an additional $15.
Funding for the project, which took nearly seven years to put together, came from the following sources:
 • The Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife provided $200,000 through Fishing is Fun program.
• Colorado State Trails provided $200,000 through Non-Motorized Trail Grant program.
• City of colorado Springs TOPS Program provided $400,000 for site improvements.
• Colorado Springs Utilities provided $400,000 for master planning ans design efforts.
• Trails and Open Space Coalition assisted the the Parks Department with leading the guided hikes, to provide the public access to the south Slope of Pikes Peak Recreational Area prior to official opening.
• Friends of the Peak assisted the Parks Department with leading the volunteer projects to construct McReynold Trail and portions of the Mason Trail.
• Copestone General Contractors and Timberline Landscaping contractors constructed the site improvements.
When the area reopens next summer, with the expected date near Memorial Day, the following restrictions will apply.

Fishing and lake rules:
• Fishing allowed only on Mason and McReynolds Reservoirs and only with artificial lures and flies.
• Mason Reservoir bag, possession and size limit for trout is 1, 16” or less.
• McReynolds Reservoir trout fishing is catch and release only; fish must be returned immediately to the water.
• A Colorado fishing license is required for age 16 or older. Children under the age of 16 do not need a fishing license.
• For more information contact the Colorado Division of Wildlife (719) 227-5200.
• Only non-motorized boats are allowed and they must be propelled by oars or paddles. Gas or electric engines are prohibited. No contact with water is permitted. Activities such as swimming, wading, sail boating and wind surfing are prohibited.
• Boating only allowed at McReynolds Reservoir. (No boating on Mason Reservoir)
• State boating regulations apply.
• Boats must be carried from the parking lot to the boat entry points. Vehicle access to boat entry points is not available.
• Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices must be worn by all boaters while on water.
• Belly boats may be used.

Recreation area general rules:
•  Consumption of alcoholic beverages is not allowed.
• No smoking except in designated areas.
• The area provides a pristine environment with an abundance of wildlife and scenic beauty. Please be considerate of other area users.
• Protect the wildlife in the area. Do not feed, chase, capture, harm or otherwise disturb native wildlife.
• Sorry... no dogs will be allowed.
• Fireworks are not allowed.
• Natural features must not be disturbed. Please do not deface or remove any of the area’s plants, rocks or trees.
• Gathering firewood is not allowed.
• Open fires are prohibited. Only charcoal briquettes, liquid fuel or propane with shut-offs are allowed in or on permanent mounted grills. Please do not use portable grills in back of vehicles or at shoreline. Place on picnic tables or permanent mounted grills.
• Stay on designated trails. Trampling of the vegetation in this sub-alpine ecosystem can cause soil erosion and recovery can take many years.
• Motor vehicles are restricted to designated roads and parking lots. Parking along roadways is not allowed.
• Parking or fishing from the dam is prohibited.

Driving directions:
• From I-25 and Highway 24 in Colorado Springs, travel west on Highway 24 to Highway 67 in Divide, approximately 25.5 miles.
• In Divide, turn left onto Highway 67 south.
• Continue 13.5 miles south and turn left onto Teller County Road 81.
• Continue on CR 81 for 3 miles; turn left on Teller County Road 8 (Gold Camp Road).
• Continue on Gold Camp Road for 7.5 miles to Forest Service Road 376, approximately 0.7 miles east of the old railroad tunnel.
• Turn left onto Forest Service Road #376; continue 3.2 miles to the entrance gate of the South Slope Recreation Area.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Effort hopes to honor Buffalo Soldiers for helping tame the West

This weekend I was asked to drop by a fundraising event at Jim Wider's Southwinds Fine Art Studio at Roller Coaster Road near where Hodgen and Baptist road connect.

Being historically inclined, three things captured my attention.

One, the invitation concerned a fundraiser for the Buffalo Soldier Community Memorial Project, which has a relatively obscure, but important impact on our history locally, and Colorado generally.

Two, the invite promised that the site would also have several fascinating Ute Indian Prayer Trees located on, or nearby, the property.

And three, the invitation came from former El paso County Sheriff John Anderson, who has just finished a book about the significance of local Ute prayer trees and is working on another historic account of El Paso County's first sheriff. Anderson began the book in the interest of preservation of remaining prayer trees after the Black Forest Fire.

This event was raising money with the expressed purpose of building a memorial (bronze statue) to Buffalo Soldiers in the northeast corner of Memorial Park in 2016, in time to mark 150th anniversary of Congress authorizing the establishment of the Negro regiments.

Host Jim Wider, gallery owner and a nationally recognized artist, displayed several outstanding paintings of the Buffalo Soldiers and artwork of other local artists, including a few of John Anderson's oil paintings and art photography.

"After the Civil War, Congress authorized the establishment of six Negro regiments in the summer 1866. They recognized the military merits of blacks by authorizing two segregated regiments of black cavalry, the Ninth United States Cavalry and the Tenth United States Cavalry and the 38TH, 39TH, 40TH and 41ST Infantry Regiments, " says Dennis R. Moore, working on the project since inception. "Orders were given to transfer the troops to the western war arena, where they would join the Army’s fight against the hostile Native Americans. In the 1869 troop reduction the 38TH, 39TH, 40TH and 41ST Infantry Regiments were consolidated into the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments. The 9th and 10th Cavalry and 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments Soldiers were called Buffalo Soldiers by the Native Americans, some say because of the tenacity with which they fought, some say it was because of the texture of their hair reminded them of the Buffalo."

Moore notes that elements of the 10th Cavalry were stationed at Fort Lyons, and troops of the 9th Cavalry were at Fort Garland Colorado. These largely unknown soldiers assisted civil authorities in controlling mobs, pursued outlaws, cattle thieves, and even Mexican revolutionaries along the U.S. Mexican border. Additionally, these soldiers served as the first US Border Patrol, rode “shotgun” on stage coaches, and delivered mail longer than the Pony Express. Their outposts were located in Arizona, Colorado, both Dakotas, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Buffalo Soldiers were also involved in numerous confrontations with hostile Native Americans. Among the most famous confrontations are: Beecher’s Island in Yuma County; Milk Creek in Northern Colorado; and the White River Reservation.
Several Buffalo Soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in combat, Moore says.

Buffalo Soldiers Community Memorial Members as of July 3, this year include the following:

Willie Breazell, CWO3, USA, Ret., Captain, USAR, Chair, former, School Board member, D-11

Henry Allen, 1SG, USA, Ret., Vice Chair, Pres. Colorado Springs NAACP

E. Jim Mason, COL, USA, Ret., Vice Chair, School Board, D-11

Bob, Null, COL, USAF, Ret., member, School Board, D-11

June Waller, member, spouse, community activist

Dennis Moore, USAF, Ret., GS-13 USAF Civil Service Ret., community activist

Dawn Elliott, member, social media POC, (Washington DC)

Mark Knight, US Marines, Pres Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle club

George Payton, CSM, USA, Ret., Buffalo Soldier living history presenter

John Register, SSG, USA, US Olympic Center

Cheryl Blanton-Chisholm, member, spouse, community activist

Mel Elliott, LTC, USA, Ret., member, Assist Secretary NAACP

Ed Jones, USA, member, former Colorado Senator, and El Paso County Commissioner

Artist/Sculpture: Rob Mench Studios LLC, USA (Captain)

Moore says the mission of the organization is to honor those soldiers who helped tame the West but are largely unknown and almost totally ignored by writers of American history and our public education organized materials.

Photo Info:

Top: Former El Paso County Sheriff John Anderson and Jim Wider, owner of Southwinds Fine Art Studio.

Bottom: Jim Wider’s Southwinds Fine Art Studio at Roller Coaster Road near where Hodgen and Baptist road connect.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dee Breitenfeld: It was all about the history

Many years ago, I think I first encountered Dee Breitenfeld at the first meeting of the Teller County Centennial Committee, way back before the most-recent turn of the century, in the fall of 1998.
Liz Hook, working for the County at the time, pulled together a ragtag group of local notables that included, among others, Dee, Greg Winkler, Ed and Jeanette Zupancic, and several others, including myself. Our mission, should we decide to accept it, was to mark, and call attention to, the county's 100-year birthday. 
Within, a few moments of that first meeting, I recognized one self-evident truth.
Dee Breitenfeld, in all her years with the Ute Pass Historical Society and other organizations, her residency in Teller all of her life, and an innate understanding of the area —was markedly more valuable in this endeavor than any three to five, of the rest of us.
Marion Vance recalls Breitenfeld's energy for preserving history, as a member various coalitions, the Ute Pass Historical Society, Teller County Historic Advisory Board and the county's Centennial Committee. 
“In so many ways Dee was the heart of the volunteer community,” Vance said. “She really had a long-term creative vision.”
Breitenfeld's take on history was somewhat like Winston Churchill's, only without the arrogance.
“History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it,”  Churchill said at one point. 
Dee efforts were similarly driven, but without the selfish bend and concern about her place in that history. She wanted to get all down — it was important — no vital — but she didn't suffer a lick from self-importance.
Tiring of having to go all the way to Colorado Springs to register land, mining, and other official documents, and seeing their tax dollars travel down the hill, mine owners and others pushed hard for the creation of Teller County is the 1890s. Teller County was created out of western El Paso County and the Northeastern tip of Freemont on March 23, 1899.
The property where the Courthouse now rests, at 101-105 West Bennett Avenue, was at one time owned by the Stanely brothers who sold it to Stewart McDougall shortly after the fires of 1896 destroyed wood structures that once resided there, according to Brian Levine’s book “Cripple Creek: City of Influence.” Levine was Historic Preservation Director for Cripple Creek at the time of writing the 1994 book.McDougall built a 100-foot wide, two-story brick building that the Palace Hotel leased and after Teller County was established, county offices resided. 
In 1900, the county purchased the property and proceeded on plans to build a grand courthouse building. Architect A.J. Smith of Colorado Springs designed the building and general contractor J.E. Devy was hired to build.
After being finished in 1904 at a cost of $60,000, the Courthouse proudly displayed the following features: gilt chandeliers, oak paneling with mahogany trims, skylights, gold standing electric fixtures (the building originally required 400 electric lamps to light it), standpipes with hose nozzle attachments, public drinking fountains, two 75-horse power boilers for steam heat, a Skinner high-speed engine with 110-volt dynamo for electricity, hardwood floors, and marble counters. 
Teller County, right from the start, developed a proud vision of what it was to become. Dee, of course, understood that.
By March of 1999, 100 years after the creation of this county, we stood on out there on a windy hill in Cripple Creek at a dedication ceremony one Saturday, and with Breitenfeld's uncomplaining guidance, knowledge and understanding of importance, marked the notable passage of time. 
But to her credit, and garnering all of respect possible from such a group of people, it was never, for an instant, about her. Despite having lived a great part of it, recorded it for years, listened intently to family and friends talk about and tell stories about it, with Dee, it was all about the history.
History will be kind to someone like her, who managed such great effort to preserve it.