Hall of Fame: Chief Colorow

Cover of new book on Chief Colorow by Dr. Beth Simmons.

Cover of new book on Chief Colorow by Dr. Beth Simmons.

Chief Colorow was adopted and raised by the Muwache Utes, but was born a Comanche. As an adult, Colorow stood six feet tall and was adept at horse trading. He knew the Spanish and was acquainted with the mountain fur traders, trappers, and military men. Traveling throughout what is now Colorado for more than a quarter century, Chief Colorow knew every trail, tribe, and chief along the way and became a great statesman and respected leader of his people.

According to Rooney family legend, Alexander Rooney (1822-1895), the original settler, smoked the peace pipe with Chief Colorow under the Inspiration Tree. This ponderosa pine, dated at more than 500 years old, honors the longstanding peace between the Rooney family and the Utes.

The name “Colorow” appears on many signs and places throughout Jefferson County—Colorow Point Park, Colorow Road, and Colorow’s “Inspiration Tree” to name a few. On December 11, 1888, Chief Colorow died of pneumonia on the reservation.

The Jefferson County Historical Commission wishes to recognize the historical and factual contributions Chief Colorado made to Jefferson County, our state and nation. Chief Colorow was elected to the Jefferson County Hall of Fame in October 2015.


Until now, Colorow—the real man, chief, and statesman—has been known generally through stories and legends. In fall 2015, historian and researcher Dr. Beth Simmons has published the first detailed biography of Colorow, including previously unpublished photographs and genealogical information. This valuable publication is jointly sponsored by the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge and the Friends of the Jefferson County Historical Commission. Copies are available at the Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center and the Discovery Center.

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National Register Updates

We are in the process of getting our National Register listing page updated. In the meantime, here’s a quick summary of recent additions.

2015: Bradford-Perley Site

2015: Medlen School

2014: Conifer Junction Schoolhouse
See the National Register page from the Hall of Fame notebook.

2013: Fruitdale School
See the National Register page from the Hall of Fame notebook.

2012: Staunton Ranch (State Park)
See the National Register page from the Hall of Fame notebook.

2012: Golden Cemetery
See the National Register page from the Hall of Fame notebook.

2012: James H. Baugh House
See the National Register page from the Hall of Fame notebook.

2012: Denver & Intermountain Interurban No. 25

2009: Brook Forest Inn
See the National Register page from the Hall of Fame notebook.

2009: Rockland Church
See the National Register page from the Hall of Fame notebook.

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May 2 Symposium Details


Preservation by the Numbers

May 2, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.,
Boettcher Mansion, 900 Colorow Rd., Lookout Mountain

The cost of the Symposium is $12 per person (includes lunch). To register, please contact Dennis @303-271-8734 or email ddempsey@jeffco.us

Download entire flyer.

Agenda

  • 8:30 – 9 AM Registration (Coffee & Refreshments Provided)
  • 9 – 9:15 AM Welcome & Introductions: Mary Lindsey, (JCHC Chair) & Patrick Eidman, History Colorado Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP)
  • 9:15 – 10 AM Steve Turner, HC VP of Preservation Programs: “$260m: Overview of Historic Preservation in Colorado” (highlighting the State Historical Fund Grants Program)
  • 10 – 10:15 AM Break
  • 10:15 – 11 AM Patrick Eidman, HC Historic Preservation Technical Outreach Director: “The Million-Dollar Impact (how each $1m in preservation projects creates nearly 32 full-time jobs)
    • Joe Saldibar, HC Architectural Services Manager: “House Bill 1311” (information on the $35m tax credit and other economic benefits)
  • 11 – Noon Elizabeth Blackwell, HC Survey Coordinator: “It Takes Two” (the need for both significance and integrity when designating an historic property)
    • Claire Lanier, HC Outreach and Creative Content Editor: “10 Ways to Communicate (how to effectively convey your preservation message with limited resources)
  • Noon – 1 PM Lunch, Networking & Video Presentations
  • 1 – 1:30 PM Abbey Christman, University of Colorado – Denver: “Arts & Crafts Architecture in Colorado c. 1900-1925” (showcasing quintessential works in and around the area)
  • 1:30 – 2 PM Cynthia Shaw, Director of Boettcher Mansion: “Lorraine Lodge in 1917” (walkabout)

After the Symposium there will be an opportunity to visit several historic buildings on the Mount Vernon Country Club property and on Highway 40 (Old Rockland Church), just 10 minutes from Boettcher Mansion (carpooling encouraged). This short tour is organized by the History Committee of Mount Vernon Country Club.

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Symposium May 2! Save That Date!!

This year’s Historic Preservation Symposium, Preservation by the Numbers, will be held on May 2, 2015 at the Boettcher Mansion.

save the date postcard-f (1)

We hope you can join us for this 12th Annual county-wide event, which features speakers from History Colorado, opportunities for networking, video presentations, and optional field trips. Details will be posted soon.

Registration is $12 per person and includes lunch. Contact Dennis Dempsey at 303-271-8734 or ddempsey@jeffco.us to reserve your spot.

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Updated Landmarks Map

JClandmark2014Our map of landmarked properties has been updated through 2014 by Planning & Zoning staff.

More than 40 landmarks are currently listed. Learn more about nominating landmarks on the main program page, and resolve to add a new landmark in your area this year.

Review or download the full PDF map (3.5 mb) of all Jeffco Landmarks to check those in your neighborhood. Please consider nominating historic properties that have not yet been landmarked or listed on the National Register of Historic Properties.

Questions about the Landmark Program? Contact Dennis Dempsey at 303.271.8734 or by email at ddempsey AT jeffco DOT us.

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2014 Hall of Fame and Historic Preservation Awards

Our annual event October 16 at the Mt. Vernon Country Club was enjoyed by more than 100 attendees, as we celebrated history in Jefferson County last week. The Hall of Fame event is the culmination of annual efforts of the Jefferson Co. Historical Commission. Our thanks go to David Peterson for sharing these photos.

The 2014 Norm and Ethel Meyer Award for Historic Preservation was presented to Friends of Dinosaur Ridge for their 25-year efforts to protect and interpret historic dinosaur discoveries and sites along the Front Range. Sam Bartlett, a member of the Friends’ Board of Directors, accepted the award.

Nominators Beth Simmons (center) and John Ghist (right) present landmark plaque to Tim Sandsmark.

Nominators Beth Simmons (center) and John Ghist (right) present landmark plaque to Tim Sandsmark.

In addition to the above awards, the Hall of Fame event celebrates new county landmarks, National Register sites, and Writers’ Award winners. The Friends of Dinosaur Ridge were on hand to present this year’s landmark plaque to Jefferson Co. Open Space for the newly rediscovered Arthur Lakes Quarry #1. Tim Sandsmark (left in photo) accepted the marker for JCOS. Beth and John recently completed a new guidebook to the historic quarries and discoveries.

Suzi Morris, of Conifer Historical Society and Museum, accepts National Register plaque from Rita Peterson.

Suzi Morris, of Conifer Historical Society and Museum, accepts National Register plaque from Rita Peterson.

The Conifer Junction Schoolhouse received National Register recognition. Kirsten (left) was the researcher and author of the successful National Register nomination. The State Register site, Bradford Junction, is in the same area. Read more in this magazine excerpt.

The 2014 edition of our annual Historically Jeffco magazine was also distributed at this event. Review the magazine’s contents here; the entire issue will be online in January 2015. Look for copies at your local historical society soon; they are free to members.

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September 2013 Flooding in Evergreen

Bear Creek slams downtown business district in Evergreen
Eyewitness account by Karen Groves

After days of rain in early September 2013, Evergreen residents watched as torrents of muddy water in Bear Creek roared down hills, flowed over culverts, and wiped out driveways and roads. By September 13, commuters heading to work were met with the closure of a major intersection in town: Colorado Highway 74 at its juncture with County Road 73 just below Evergreen Lake’s dam.

Bear Creek’s headwaters are at Summit Lake in Clear Creek County. After it empties into Evergreen Lake, it moves through Kittredge and Morrison before it flows into Bear Creek Lake in Lakewood.

Upper Bear Creek Road, which parallels much of Bear Creek and borders the Evergreen golf course, also was closed. Judy Downes lives on Witter Gulch Road, which follows much of the creek before it meets Upper Bear Creek Road. She and many of her neighbors were pumping water out of their basements. She spent days bailing water and watched as the creek turned into a raging river.

“There was four feet of water coming in pretty fast,” Downes said. “We couldn’t go down Upper Bear Creek Road toward Keys on the Green because the road was out.”

At a time when people were driving to work out of Evergreen, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office closed State Highway 74 above the lake and in the downtown business district at County Road 73. At 7:30 a.m. on Friday the 13th most shops had not opened yet, but the main business district would soon be closed to vehicular traffic with barricades at both ends of town by Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Drivers took detours on Douglas Park Road and Meadow Drive.

The patio at Cactus Jack’s, a popular saloon nestled in the elbow of that juncture was taking a beating and looked as if it might wash away from the force of the speeding water. It was later rebuilt and restored.

In November 2013, high water marks and sandbags record effects of September flooding. Karen Groves photo.

In November 2013, high water marks and sandbags record effects of September flooding. Karen Groves photo.

At the south end of Main Street the creek was moving so swiftly it looked as though the siding of some structures might be ripped off and swept downstream. A low bridge at Forest Hill Road was almost under water, and an electric pole across the street from the Century Link building was leaning precariously toward the creek.

Twisted railing and wrecked paving mark passage of September 2013 floods along Highway 74 in Evergreen. Karen Groves photo.

Twisted railing and wrecked paving mark passage of September 2013 floods along Highway 74 in Evergreen. Karen Groves photo.

Most of the Evergreen National Bank drive-through parking lot was washed away. What remained: a heaving retaining wall, twisted railing and chunks of asphalt. Deputies told pedestrians ambling along the boardwalk to stay behind the yellow tape draped around the scene.

Most businesses were closed. One shop owner said she drove from Marshdale to U.S. 285 then C-470 to Interstate 70 to get to Evergreen. But once there, she dismissed plans to open because there were no customers and part of her shop was flooded.

A taped sign on the window of CJ’s Chicago Dogs at 27985 Highway 74 warned: “We are closed today due to water damage. We will try to reopen tomorrow. Sorry for any inconvenience.”

Although Jeffco Sheriff’s vehicles were conspicuously present, as were the Excel Energy workers sent to set up a utility vehicle to brace the electric pole, the road through town was deserted. A few pedestrians carrying cameras gathered at the 74-73 intersection to take pictures.

John Anderson, a longtime Evergreen resident, surveyed the scene overlooking the current. He said, “I’ve never seen anything like this. But, you know, mountain people get through it. We’re resilient.”

Compared to places farther north, the damage and consequences of Bear Creek’s roar through Evergreen might later be considered unremarkable. Statewide, at least nine lives were lost. Russell N. Clayshulte, manager of Bear Creek Watershed Association, said flows in Evergreen above Evergreen Lake exceeded 1,300 cfs. Bear Creek jumped its channel in many locations and caused flood damage throughout the urban corridor.

At a presentation in April 2014, Clayshulte said that despite some early assessments, the event was not a 100-year flood. He said based on peak events, some best guesses placed the flood at 25-30 years. “Based on averaging flows, the events were more on the order of five to 10 years,” he said. In a September 2014 email, Clayshulte wrote, “What was unusual — this wasn’t a single event rather it was five days of events. So placing a single event number is very difficult.”

Sources:

   Denver Post YourHub, “Evergreen Community helps Cactus Jack’s bar recover
      from flooding,” by Josie Klemaier, June 5, 2014
   Denver Post, Nov. 3, 2013 “Colorado Flood Recovery is a Lesson in who Owns
      the River,” by Electra Draper.
   Bear Creek Watershed Association, Pinnacle Newsletter Oct. 9, 2013,
      http://www.bearcreekwatershed.org

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