Saturday, October 11, 2008

The passage of time and Woodmoor

Somewhere about 458 B.C. Aeschylus figured out that “Time brings all things to pass.”
Though announcements involving housing developments and such, have become quite commonplace in Northern El Paso County, I think it is interesting to take a trip back though those passing gates.
One fine spring day 43 years ago, word hit the streets of a large housing project in the Black Forest area.
“Woodmoor has a poetic ring to it. The word is so quiet sounding it could be a rumor. But it isn’t,” wrote Ralph Moore of the Denver Post in a March 22, 1965 article.
Moore noted that owner /developer Steve Arnold, “unpretentious and slight of build, a conservative in many ways, is busy promoting a pretentious 2,000-acre housing and recreational project in the Black Forest east of Monument.”
Arnold, 31, also described as a former Air Force captain who didn’t even play golf, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1956, and was a native of Los Angeles.
“Chief among the attractions at Woodmoor is an 18-hole, 7, -150-yard golf course which is hewed out of the forest by craftsmen who had little regard for hooks and slices.”
After graduating from the Naval Academy, Arnold reportedly chose the Air Force and spent his early military career at Lowery Air Force Base in Denver.
“Knowing the Air Force Academy would be located south of Monument, Arnold purchased 60 acres of land in the Black Forest because he thought it might be wise to own land near the AFA,” according to the Post story.
“He spent the 1958-1960 period with a flying squadron and in August, 1960, was transferred to the AFA as a freshman Gymnastics coach.
“Meanwhile, he kept adding to his holdings in the Black Forest, nursing the idea that someday their would be a need for a community in the area for the above-average income group. ‘It was just a belief,’ he says.”
At the time this article appeared, it was reported that Arnold had already sold more than 200 home sites in the price range of $4,000 to $11,000.
“Cranked into the project are plans for riding stables, shopping center near the Monument cutoff plus a motel,” Moore wrote.
J. Pres Maxwell was tabbed to design the golf course and a former assistant pro at Denver’s Pinehurst Country Club, Bob Hansen, was given the nod as the resident pro.
“Membership in the golf club is automatic with the purchase of a home site. Otherwise the price is $75 initiation plus dues. Anyone outside a 35-mile radius, meaning metropolitan Denver, can become a member for $500 with no dues attached,” Moore wrote in the Post.
The development’s front nine was expected to be completed and playable by August and the back nine, to be ready by the spring of 1966.


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