Thursday, April 9, 2020

Spain gets a 'bad rap' for 1918 flu

Origins may have been closer to home

By Rob Carrigan,

A virulent strain of influenza, called the Spanish flu because it was incorrectly believed to have started in Spain, spread throughout the globe beginning in the spring of 1918.
Its origins may have been much closer to home.

By early October, it had resulted in shutdowns in Denver, mandated by progressive health officials, who closed the city for three weeks.

"The closing of Denver depends wholly of the spread of the disease," said Dr. (William H.) Sharpley. (Sharpley was the city's manager of health.) "It will be, naturally, absolutely necessary for the city to be closed while there is any danger. The main danger now menacing Denver is from outside towns and strangers arriving in the city from various sections of the country where the scourge is prevailing," according to Rocky Mountain News of Oct. 10, 1918.

Headlines in the Rocky, for that date read:

Five Additional Deaths Reported Yesterday
Scourge Believed To Be Under Control

"There were approximately 500 cases in the city reported to Dr. Sharpley yesterday and he says that the death rate shows the disease is well in hand in Denver, but that in Denver and in towns thruout the state will be closed for the full three weeks, the run of the disease."

The newspaper outlined other cities in the state where public meeting places, including schools, churches, theaters, pool halls and lodge rooms  were suspended: Colorado Springs, Boulder, Golden, Pueblo, Sterling, Fort Morgan, Delta, La Junta, Rocky Ford, Florence, Gunnison, Walsenburg

Scientists still cannot say for sure where the Spanish Flu originated, though theories point to France, China, Britain, or the United States, where the first known case was reported at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas, in March of 1918. Many American scientists believe infected soldiers spread the disease to other military camps across the country, then brought it overseas. In March 1918, 84,000 American soldiers headed across the Atlantic and were followed by 118,000 more the following month.

According to the History channel:
"The Spanish Flu did not originate in Spain, though news coverage of it did. During World War I, Spain was a neutral country with a free media that covered the outbreak from the start, first reporting on it in Madrid in late May of 1918. Meanwhile, Allied countries and the Central Powers had wartime censors who covered up news of the flu to keep morale high. Because Spanish news sources were the only ones reporting on the flu, many believed it originated there (the Spanish, meanwhile, believed the virus came from France and called it the “French Flu.)"

Just before breakfast on the morning of March 4, Private Albert Gitchell of the U.S. Army reported to the hospital at Fort Riley, Kansas, complaining of the cold-like symptoms of sore throat, fever and headache. By noon, over 100 of his fellow soldiers had reported similar symptoms, marking what are believed to be the first cases in the historic influenza pandemic of 1918, later known as Spanish flu. The flu would eventually kill 675,000 Americans and an estimated 20 million to 50 million people around the world, proving to be a far deadlier force than even the war those troops were sent to fight..

"Spanish Flu” was first reported in Colorado on September 21, 1918, among the Student Army Training Corp stationed at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Hundreds of soldiers were sickened and 19 later died, according to Katie Randolph, of the Denver Public Library On September 27, 1918, a young Denver University student named Blanche Kennedy, died of pneumonia a few days after returning from a trip to Chicago, according to University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine. It was Denver’s first influenza-related death.

The initial outbreak of the disease, reported at Fort Riley in March, was followed by similar outbreaks in army camps and prisons in various regions of the country. The disease soon traveled to Europe with the American soldiers heading to aid the Allies on the battlefields of France. (In March 1918 alone, 84,000 American soldiers headed across the Atlantic; another 118,000 followed them the next month.) Once it arrived on a second continent, the flu showed no signs of abating: 31,000 cases were reported in June in Great Britain. The disease was soon dubbed the Spanish flu due to the shockingly high number of deaths in Spain (some 8 million, it was reported) after the initial outbreak there in May 1918.

Photo Info:
1. Nurses and patients are treated in the makeshift hospital at the Sopris mining camp in 1918.
2. Canon City High School students wear masks during the 1918 pandemic. History Colorado.
3. Doctors at that time knew little about the prevention or cure for the virus.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Gwillimville traces though local legacy

“That sensation of a void within which never left us, that irrational longing to hark back to the past or else to speed up the march of time, and those keen shafts of memory that stung like fire.”
Albert Camus

 Diphtheria epidemic broke out in January of 1880

By Rob Carrigan,

A fine spring of good soft water flowed through a beautiful meadow in 1869.  Gwillim R. Gwillim, a native Welshman from North South Wales, decided to make it home — for he and his wife and young son.

West Cherry Creek, about five miles east of Monument, is where Richard Gwillim,  his 22-year-old trailing brother found him after disembarking from the train in Greenland in 1871, and young Richard decided to build a life after after arriving in New York by a steamer from Inman line. Farming with his brother, for several years, Richard decided to stay on and bought 320 acres adjoining from the government to the east. He named the spot Bryn Mawr.

For the last nearly 20 years, it has been a local Longhorn operation out at Cherry Springs Ranch (with other grazing ground out in Ellicott) on the former site of Gwillimville. Founded in 1869 by Gwillim R. Gwillim, originally from North South Wales, and six miles east of Monument on Highway 105.

"The cabin and hay shed in the bottom of the pasture dates back to the time of the town," noted Stan Searle in tour during a Chamber event several years ago.

Gwillimville was never incorporated. In its heyday, a cheese factory, creamery, store, blacksmith shop, several saloons, a post office, school, church and worker's quarters sprang from the earth around Cherry Springs and the source of Cherry Creek. The Gwillimville School was eventually moved to Monument, becoming Sunday school for the Presbyterian Church and in the 1980s, the former Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce building on Highway 105 in Monument.

In January of 1880, a Diphtheria epidemic broke out affecting brother of the founder's family Richard Gwillim's two daughters, according to Monument historian Lucille Lavelett.

"The family had four little girls," wrote Lavelett. "And the two older ones were stricken. Dr. Bonnett of Monument was summoned but he did not seem to know how to treat the disease, so Mr. Gwillim sent word to Dr. Solly of Colorado Springs, who made several trips to Monument by train, where Mr. Gwillim met him and took him to see the two sick little girls."
"Of course, there was no antitoxin for battling the disease at that time. A few days later, Dr. Buchtel of Denver was summoned. He also came by train to Monument, where Mr. Gwillim drove a team of horses to the station to meet him and took him to the farm." According to Lavelett, it was expensive healthcare for the time.

"Dr. Solly's trips were $25 each, and Dr. Cuchtel's were $500," she wrote.

"In spite of all efforts, the two little girls passed away within a few days of each other. These girls are buried in the Spring Valley Cemetery. The day the second girl died, Mrs. Gwillim gave birth to a baby boy." wrote Lucile Lavelett in her Monument's Faded Neighboring Communities.

"A very strange and sad coincidence happened that two children in every family in the neighborhood died of Diphtheria during that epidemic."

Misfortune plagued the family again in 1895, when Richard Gwillim's home burned, pretty much spelling the end of Gwillimville. Although the house was rebuilt, the Gwillims never returned, eventually moving to Colorado Springs and much later Richard served as El Paso County Assessor from 1913 to 1915.

Stan Searle's career in the media business was not confined to Longhorns however and had fingers reaching out in several directions. Locally, he was the founder and manager of Tri-Lakes Cable, which was sold to Adelphia in 2000, (later becoming part of Comcast) and managed other trade magazines related to cable and other business.

Named among the top 100 Pioneers of the cable industry, Stan's heart however, was in the cattle business. Suggesting that some of his inspiration comes from legendary trail founder Charles Goodnight, Stan co-founded International Texas Longhorn Association and is a recipient of their prestigious "Charles Goodnight Award. The Goodnight-Loving Trail beginning with the "Gather" in Texas after the Civil War, goes through Monument, on into Denver.

With much fanfare, the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce moved into the Highway 105 location in 1985, but the building itself has quite a storied history. It's been a bit transient.

According to a letter dated March 15, 1985, from long-time Monument historian Lucille Lavelett, the building has been bopping around Monument since perhaps as early as 1869.

"The C.E. (Christian Education) Building was once a one-room Gwillimville School. Gwillimville was once a small, thriving community five miles east of Monument on Highway 105. It was founded by Gwillim R. Gwillim in 1869."

Lavelett relates the following story:

"During a period of a few years, a dozen or more families had come from Wales and several from England, and settled in the community. Church services were held in the one-room Gwillimville School until the Gwillimville Church was built in 1893. This Church was built on the northwest corner of (Highway) 105 and Highway 83," wrote Lavelett.

"On Aug. 6, 1919, Monument School consolidated with three smaller districts which were Pring, three miles south of Monument, Husted, six miles south (Husted is now part of the United States Air Force Academy), and Stout, which was east of Husted. The following year, Gwillimville joined the new district (1920)," she wrote.

"It was in the late 1920s or early 1930s, Rev. R.J. Hassted, minister of the Presbyterian Church, and Earl Thompson moved the little white school into Monument and put it south of the Presbyterian Church to be used as a Sunday School and community services. To help the church, the Monument Homemakers Club in 1938, and 1939, paid for having ceiling and walls re-plastered and painted, built a new flue in the west end, bought a large coal circulator heater to heat the building and put linoleum in the kitchen area. The east end had a cook stove, sink and cupboards. Cook stove did not give enough heat to warm the building, so the new flue was built," Lavelett said.

"In the late 1940s, the church built the new kitchen and Sunday School room on the north side of the building. Also a rest room. The town, at that time, had natural gas, so a gas heater was installed," she said.

At the time of the 1985 move to its present location, Lavelett noted that this was third move for the old Gwillimville School.

"When it was built, its home was about one and a half miles north of (Highway) 105 where the children had to walk through a cattle pasture. Children were afraid of the cattle, so it was move close to 105. Moved then to Monument, and in 1985 to home of the Chamber of Commerce," according to historian Lavelett.

Then County Commissioner Frank Klotz and Chamber President Sandy Smith turned a spade-full of dirt in honor of the new building in February, and actual move took place in April of that year, reported the forerunner of the Tribune at the time. The chamber had been organized nine years prior to spearhead efforts to attract business and industry to the Tri-Lakes area.

Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce moved to what was once the Monument Town Hall at 166 Second Street in Monument, in February, 2015,  to a building which also recently served as Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District's administration building.

Photo Info:

1. Longhorns at Searle's Cherry Springs Ranch near the former site of Gwillimville.

2.  Building was once a one-room Gwillimville School in an earlier life.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

World-class art discovered locally at Chapungu

  Serenity spot in walking park nearby

By Rob Carrigan,

A pleasant surprise awaits locally with the discovery of world-class art in the form of Chupungu (pronounced CHA-poon-goo), the 26-acre Sculpture Park in Centerra off US. Highway 34, near Interstate 25 in Loveland. The park features more than 80 stone sculptures carved by artists from Zimbabwe, displayed in beautiful landscaped gardens.

"Opened in 2007 Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra is the only outdoor exhibit in the world displaying 82 monumental works of art traversing 26 acres of natural landscaped gardens. Since the 1950s, Zimbabwe stone sculpture has been a contemporary art phenomenon that has played a significant role in the development of art from Africa," according to information from Centerra.
"This explosion of cultural expression had early influence from Joram Mariga and Nyanga Group in 1957, but the main thrust came from National Gallery under its first director, Frank McEwan in 1957 and 1958. Other important communities such as Tengenenge in Guruve and Chapungu Scupture Park became involved in the late 60s and still support and promote artists to this day," according to Centerra info.

"Since 1970, Chapungu has been foremost in the promotion of this art form and has run almost all the major exhibitions of importance such as: Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London, U.K., Chicago Botanic Gardens, Chicago, Il., Kasteel Groenvelt & African Museum, Netherlands, Jerusalem Botanical Gardens, Jerusalem, Israel, Fort Canning Park, Singapore, Kirsten Botanic Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa,  Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis, Mo, Palmengarten, Frankfurt, Gemany, and the Denver Botanic Garden."

The walking park is free and handicap accessible, open year-round from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and is comprised of eight universal themes: Nature & Environment, Village Life, The Role of Women, The Elders, The Spirit World, The Family, The Children, Custom & Legend.