Monday, June 15, 2015
Fifty years is the big part of a lifetime.
But a most vivid memory could pop up just about anywhere in a long, happy span.
Rodger and Judy Voelker had just lived in Palmer Lake about six months when the tornado hit that Wednesday afternoon, a little after 1 p.m., and destroyed the rental house they lived in. They, will remember that forever.
“The U.S.G.S. said all the water that came afterward was a 100 year flood,” said Judy Voelker recently in their current house that survived the twisting winds, and torrential rains that devastated Palmer Lake back in 1965, though the one next to it was destroyed, same as the rental house downhill a bit, that they lived in at the time.
“We didn’t know a lot of people yet, but we got to know them pretty fast,” said Rodger Voelker.
After the storms, there was no running water in town for months, and “We met around the Fort Carson tank truck when we were filling up. Voelker remembers there being about 600 to 800 year-round residents in town at the time, swelling to about twice that in the summer.
“It was the kind of place that you would meet everyone in town out at the dump eventually,” he said.
The response by the locals to the disastrous storms convinced the Voelkers to stay — forever.
“So many people came to help us. That is when Rodger said we’re never going to leave here,” Judy said.
Rodger was working in the basement (no windows) and Judy was upstairs making bread.
“The day of the storm, the skies got really dark,” she said. “There was a terrible hollow feeling, and then the roof started lifting off. It peeled off like a roll top desk.”
When the roar of wind subsided, she ran to the basement door and broke the pane trying to get the door open.
“I said to Rodger, the house is gone,” she remembers. “He patted me on the head and said, “It’s OK.” He thought I was losing it.”
Judy said noise from the Bert and Norita Tatman home downhill at 244 Park Street got their attention that day.
The Tatman home was not destroyed, but heavily damaged. Bert, a co-worker, his wife Norita, and daughters Rhonda, 8, and Becky, 6, were home that day for lunch, after reading gas meters locally.
“The thing I remember most was that it got so dark that the street lights came on,” said Norita Tatman.
“We had finished lunch and I was standing in front of the picture window with the girls watching this storm.”
They (Bert and the coworker) were looking out the other window of the kitchen and saw a roof go by. They told us then to get to the basement.”
Norita said she grabbed the girls by their heads, tucking them under each arm and carrying them to the basement.
“I couldn’t carry them downstairs like that normally if I tried,” she said. In the basement, she said she laid on top of her daughters for protection, “Even though Becky was screaming that I was hurting her.”
“We could hear the roof go off. I was scared.” she said. “It didn’t last that long. Nobody got a scratch. We were covered with insulation.”
Bert said when the noise died down, he was able to climb through debris in the stairwell, and when he got to the ground floor, hail was hitting him in the face and he knew the roof was gone. In fact, one whole end of the house was gone. Norita said the roof was found half a block away, still intact.
“Right after it happened the neighbors (the Voelkers) came running down the hill with blankets.”
“Then, the rains came down,” she said. The Tatmans left town for a few days, staying in Colorado Springs. Later, the gas company Bert worked for supplied a trailer for them in trailer park, until the same builder who constructed the house nine months before the tornado, could rebuild it.
The Voelkers however were still in town when flooding occurred.
“After the tornado, you couldn’t drive anywhere. There were exposed wires and things everywhere,” she said and they went uphill to another neighbor, Andy Krueger’s house. The rain poured that afternoon and as they watched it continue to pour, eventually they heard another frightening roar.
“We saw a wall of water coming out of the canyon at the top of High Street and we heard a terrible roar,” she said. “We watched it hit Reba Bradley’s House and demolish it. It hit Florence Hafer’s house and totally wiped it out. Then it hit the pink stucco house. We watched it fill up with water. The water kept pouring out of the canyon. “By that point, you are just kind of numb.”
Rodger remembers helping in the rescue of Florence Hafer, 62, and Betty Schreiper, 50, who were trapped, neck-deep in swirling water for 90 minutes, under kitchen appliances and cabinets when streams swept away the foundation of their home. When and Air Force Academy crew cab pickup turned over in the mud, Rodger’s new 1965 Ford F-250 four-wheel drive pickup was used to transport the two women to an academy ambulance.
Both couples however, today talk of the good life in Palmer Lake that followed the chaos of that terrible Wednesday afternoon. Planting poppy seeds on hill behind, the quiet times in hills, watching wildlife, lights downvalley, and much more.
Fifty years of good neighbors — a nice, quiet place to live, memories, and knowing that your neighbors are there for you if something happens. Fifty years is a big part of a lifetime.
Records show May and June of 1965 as among the wettest on record with eight inches falling in May that year, and one to two inches of rain and hail falling for 15 days straight from June 7 to June 21. Torrential rain began falling starting June 14, 1965, creating one of the worst floods in Colorado history.
Saturday, June 6, 2015
It has been much more than 100 years, but good health and lunch has always been important in Palmer Lake.
Former car conductor John Reed Judd, and his wife Annie, came to Colorado on advice of their doctor. Annie suffered from chronic anemia.
"Judd's uncle, Irish Haddock, who owned the Cliff House in Manitou Springs, suggested the couple settle in Palmer Lake. In 1890, Judd was elected mayor and in 1898, he became the proprietor of the Palmer Lake Lunch Counter, which became known as Judd's Eating House," according to the Palmer Lake Historical Society.
"Also plagued with ill health, John Judd unsuccessfully sought a diagnosis from California and Oklahoma doctors for what ailed him. Never, really pinning it down, he died in 1914, and left Annie to manage the restaurant. In 1929, the restaurant was sold and Annie kept only the dishes marked "Palmer Lake" and those that had been preserved for General Palmer and Teddy Roosevelt," said Palmer Lake Historical society documents.
An advertisement touting the eatery about 1890, tells the story.
"PALMER LAKE LUNCH ROOM!," screams the headline. It goes on with colorful descriptions to entice customers.
"On the line of the Denver and Rio Grande, Missouri Pacific, and the Rock Island Railroads, John L Judd, prop. Palmer Lake Colorado. All passenger trains stop here for lunch!
Lunches for picnics, pavilion for dancing, boats for rowing or sailing, on the most beautiful sheet of water in Colorado. Palmer Lake is pre-eminently one of the GEMS OF THE MOUNTAINS, and together with its rocky glens, presents one of the most beautiful and picturesque grounds for picnics or other parties in the state."
Alan Lewis, in his book "Railroads of the Pikes Peak Region," says the railroad list allows placement in time of the advertisement.
"The mention of the Rock Island as one of the railroads serving Palmer Lake dates this advertisement to about 1890. With over a dozen trains per day, John Judd had plenty of customers, and the dances and picnics held on the weekends attracted even more visitors," Lewis said.
The Town of Palmer Lake purchased the lake, reservoirs and water rights form the D and R.G. Railroad in 1982.
"The Railroad opened for passenger and freight business on January 1, 1872. The Palmer Lake Depot and Judd's Eating House were built on the west side of the lake in 1882," another reference in Palmer Lake Historical documents says, though it may have originally been run by someone else, rather than John Judd and his wife Annie.
"The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad laid tracks and opened their station on the east side of the lake in 1887. During WWI when the U.S. government took over management of the railroads, the two lines were consolidated. Northbound trains were sent over the Santa Fe tracks and southbound trains used the Rio Grande tracks.
As automobiles became the principal means of travel, the use of passenger trains dwindled and both stations were torn down about 1940.
A small station was moved to Palmer Lake from Pring in 1936 and run by Henry Rasmussen. It was closed in 1967 and moved to South Park.
The last regularly scheduled steam locomotive came through Palmer Lake in 1962 and it belonged to the Colorado Southern Railroad.
Photo 2: Annie Judd
Photo 3: Palmer Lake Depot and Judd's beyond, in1894.
Photo 4: Judd's Palmer Lake Lunch Room.
photos from The Vaile Museum
Thursday, May 28, 2015
To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated. Newspapers have a million ways of being useful and some of them have nothing at all to do with being black and white and read all over.
Let me give you a few examples.
“Fix a flat tire,” advises Michelle Hainer, of the Washington Post. “If you get a tear
in your bike tire while riding, fold a quarter page of newspaper into a square big enough (and thick enough) to cover the hole. Slip the paper between tube and tire. Inflate the tube enough to hold the paper in place, then put the tire back on its rim and inflate the tube fully. This quick fix should keep you going for several miles.”
Hainer has a few more suggestions for constructive application of newspapers including the following:
“Ripen tomatoes. Wrap green tomatoes individually in a couple of sheets of newspaper. Store in an airtight container in a dark place at room temperature. Check them every three to four days,” she writes.
The material can also be used to keep weeds out of your garden. “Layer three to four sheets of newspaper next to your plants (at least two inches away from the stems to prevent rotting) and then water the entire area. Add a top layer of mulch, grass clippings or straw. The newspaper blocks sunlight – which weeds need to grow – and will help keep the soil moist,” says Hainer.
Make-Stuff.com also recognizes valid, positive, practical benefits to extend the life of the paper. Among them: “Glass cleaner. After you wash your windows or mirrors with soap and water or regular glass cleaner, wipe the glass with a piece of crumpled newspaper for a streak-free shine.”
It recognizes the health benefits of newspapers as well. “One trick used by baseball pitchers and mountain climbers to strengthen their fingers and forearms is to lay a single sheet of newspaper on a flat surface and then lay their hand, palm down, in the center. Using only that hand, begin crumpling the newspaper and see how small a ball you can crumple it into. This is a great inexpensive rehab technique for those who have suffered hand injuries or strokes,” according to Kelley Mitchell who contributed this idea to Make-Stuff.
Other well-known practical functions for newspapers include: cheap insulation, pot holders, giftwrap, sop or sponge, packing material, kite material, hat material, garden mulch, odor remover, dress patterns, garbage can liners, vegetable drawer liner, papier mache, pet litter liner, workspace cover, and fire starters – to name a few.
I am sure there are many, many more wonderful and interesting things you can find to do with this very newspaper. Please let me know about your favorite.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Tribune: Going forward, what plans are in the works for recovery?
Bryant: Our plan is to start work on Tuesday! We've had some gifts from friends in the U.S. that have helped our employees with emergency cash and we plan to support those that have to relocate.
Tribune: Does this change your mission there, from what you initially envisioned?
Bryant: This doesn't change our mission. We are here to create good jobs for people with no opportunities. Now is a time our work is especially needed.
Tribune: Can you tell us anything about how you and family are dealing with the crisis on a personal level?Bryant: Our family are all very tired and frazzled, but we can't imagine leaving. There have been over 50 aftershocks and each one gets our hearts racing.
1. At the time this photo was taken: "We have confirmed about 90% of Purnaa staff are OK after the earthquake. We are trying to contact a few remaining people," Bryant said.
2. Photos are from staff who were assisting in removing rubble in the Patan area.
3. An earlier photo before the earthquake shows the #Purnaa team rocking the Fashion Revolution Nepal Event. "Thankful to be a part of bringing awareness and change to the garment industry in Nepal and globally."
4. Crowds in the streets dealing with the damage.
5. One of our employees, Bikash G, found a group of 40 small girls from an orphanage that have been left to fend for themselves. We were able to buy them food and a tarp to keep them out of the rain and Bikash is staying with them to make sure they are OK. So many people left to take care of themselves.
6. The last few days all of the Purnaa staff have been coming to the office for community lunch. We've processed the trauma of the quake together and tried to meet immediate needs. The kids are waiting patiently for food to be ready. #respondtonepal #purnaa
7. The last two days we've been inspecting Purnaa staff members homes to see if they can move back in. This staff members house has a crack from the ground to roof along the front wall, which could result in the front wall falling forward during an aftershock (we continue to have them even a weeks after the initial quake.) We have already moved this family out and found them temporary housing.
Nearby dairies would load the milk cans off their wagons on to the rail platform for pickup. If you look hard enough, you still might find remnants of the cement underpinnings of that platform on the edge of the jogging trail today. Husted station, back in the day.
Look hard enough again, and you might see the last vestiges of the road that arched around the flat that was once the perimeter of the town.
"Just north will be the main entrance to the Air Force Academy. Here will be a national monument, one of the finest service schools ever conceived man. Thousands of future officers of the United States Air Force will get their training here. They won't know about Husted, and they won't care. Anymore than they care about Ramona, Glasstown, Frog Hollow, Piedmont, Lihue, Montclar —other towns swallowed up by progress in the Pikes Peak region.
On February 19, 1956, J.C. Kinner told a Colorado Springs Gazette and Telegraph reporter that there was once a grammar school there in Husted, until the days of consolidated schools made it obsolete. "It had a saloon, which became a store, which became a postoffice, which in turn became a church. Finally the same frame was used to make the present forlorn Branding Iron Cafe," Kinner said.
The reporter from the Gazette and Telegraph described the Branding Iron Cafe's state in early 1956.
"Has a 'no trespassing' sign. Jones General store has a few boxes of Wheaties, some Certo; a couple of cans of sauer kraut still on it shelves, but the store is closed. The empty gas pump at the Allison's Service Station reads: this sale, $0.00."
The forlorn description goes on.
"Tourist and truckers speeding thru Husted don't know that in the window of the store there's a plaid calico camel. It's been tossed aside. It gathers dust. It's unwanted. But once upon a time some child hugged that plaid calico camel with tender love."
The town of Husted was like that.
From the 1956 description: "A dozen or so building make up Husted today. The Branding Iron Cafe still has its paneled knotty pine walls, its coffee counter, its sink. Picturesque symbolic menus boasting 'we sell soup in pints and quarts' are scattered over the floor. A year ago you could get a minced ham and scrambled eggs with toas for 48 cents. The ubiquitous tumble weeds in the the back room tell a different story today."
Homes, shacks, pigpens, garage, and the train station... all abandoned.
"Once an important stop on the Santa Fe and Rio Grande railroad, once a bustling center of ranchers and lumbermen, is a dead town — sacrificed on the altar of progress."
Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library
Former Tri-lakes resident, Nepal factory owner, and Air Force Academy Graduate Corban Bryant, said his family and employees are holding up, despite the dire circumstances in Kathmandu, and offers suggestions on how to help.
As the first supplies of food aid began reaching remote, earthquake-shattered mountain villages in Nepal, thousands clamored to board buses out of Kathmandu, either to check on rural relatives or for fear of spending yet another night in the damaged capital.
"In general, the best way to help now from the U.S. is to give. We've set up a fund through YWAM in Colorado Springs and people can give directly to us through this link https://www.ywamsf.org/respondtonepal/," says Lewis-Palmer High School Alum Corban Bryant, reached Saturday morning in Kathmandu, Nepal, via email.
"Thanks for checking in and thanks for the offer of help."
Bryant describes his experiences so far:
"The day of the quake, we initiated our staff phone-chain, while most of the team leaders rushed out to areas with collapsed buildings to help search for survivors. One of our sewers had attended a first aid training at Purnaa. These trainings are surprisingly uncommon in Nepal. Immediately after the first shocks he was able to rescue two people from the rubble and provided first aid to at least eight people," Bryant said.
"By evening, we were able to contact about 80 percent of our 32 staff by phone. The next day we were able to verify everybody was safe either by phone or by driving motorcycles to their homes. None of our staff had collapsed houses, so we asked them to shelter in open spaces near their homes with family and neighbors for the first three nights. Most neighborhoods quickly set up community make-shift tents with tarps in gardens and fields."
Palmer Lake Business "Beautiful & Beloved Boutique" owned by Amber Newberry sells products produced in Purnaa, Bryant's factory in Nepal, said she had spoken with Corban prior to Thursday, and employees at the Purnaa factory were generally fairing OK, considering the circumstances.
"The next couple days we spent our time looking for ways to help around town. This resulted in assistance to an orphanage that borders our sourcing manager's home. The staff had abandoned the children there with the guard and the cleaning lady, who were quite overwhelmed. We were able to set them up with good shelter and supervision until we were relieved by an NGO that funds the home. A handful of our team leadership attended a quick, unofficial class with a visiting architect who offered an earthquake damage assessment training," Bryant said.
"On Tuesday, we called all of the staff to our facility. We cooked food, processed traumatic events together, paid out emergency spending money, and did a quick needs assessment with everybody. Among our group, there were three deaths to extended family, many unaccounted extended family, and several serious injuries to close family. Although it was the third day after the quake, nearly everybody was too afraid to go back into their homes, and many did not have good shelters in their neighborhoods. Food prices had escalated and many of the tent areas did not have good drinking water or toilet access. We scrounged tarps, plastic, mats, and blankets and set up tents for those who did not have good shelter near their homes (about 20 people.)," he said.
"Yesterday we invited all the staff to the office for food again. We worked on trying to get cash to pay monthly salaries on time. Most banks have just re-opened yesterday and are limiting cash. We also ran around town visiting employee houses to check for significant structural damage. Fortunately, it appears all but a few will be able to move back into their homes tonight."
One of the biggest challenges has been scarcity of tarps.
"It's rained Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. All the relief agencies heading into the heavily affected areas to the North are also scrambling to find them. A second challenge is that banks didn't re-open until yesterday and now they are limiting cash withdraws. We want to pay monthly salaries to our staff today because they need more emergency cash. We can deposit in their accounts, but they'll have to wait in lines at ATMs to get it out," Bryant related.
"Fortunately, we're in an area of town where power was restored in about 48 hrs. Without this, we'd have no phone battery or internet access. Most of Kathmandu is still without power."
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Palmer Lake Fire Chief (and Falcon Fire Department Fire Marshal) Margo Humes says she was one of the first to arrive at the scene of the Black Forest Fire, and the fast-moving fire, on a very hot and dry day, careened out control before fire personnel could stop it.
"The fire was still on the ground when we first arrived and everything available was sent in right away, but it was very fast moving."
She described how she entered a house where the garage was already in trouble and in the process of rescuing pets, and large animals, as she contacted owners by a number recovered from a note on the table inside.
"It was definitely human caused,"says Humes. "No lightning, no traffic, no one around."
Answering a questions about crowning, Humes described how the fire climbed ladder fuel into canopy and transformed into the fire storm of catastrophic proportions it became.
1. Palmer Lake Fire Chief (and Falcon Fire Department Fire Marshal) Margo Humes says she was one of the first to arrive, and explains what she encountered at the start of the Black Forest Fire.
2. A question about crowning was asked of Palmer Lake Fire Chief (and Falcon Fire Department Fire Marshal) Margo Humes on recent tour.
3. Fire marks the eastern edge of this road in Black Forest but left the western side undamaged as it ripped through the forest after starting near here.