The Magical History Tour

Note: Summer’s over and the magazine’s at the printers, so we’re back to bring you more history. We’ll be talking about the Westall Monument and its rededication April 18, 2014, in an upcoming post.

The goal of the day was to attend the rededication of the Westall Monument, but when we (Mary and Sally) got in a car with Bud Weare to go there, we didn’t realize we were also setting off on a guided history tour that would take us on a 70-mile loop through Jefferson County’s fabled past. One thing led to another as we decided to check out just one more site. Then one more.

In the North Fork Historical District, with its abundance of historic settings, it’s easy to hop from one incredible historic focal point to another. JCHC has been actively involved with citizens from this area since 1999. In 2012, the Pine-Elk Creek Improvement Association (PECIA) received the Meyer Award for their historic preservation efforts in the area.

tour041814

soplatte1021First stop after Westall was the old South Platte Hotel. We left Dome Rock behind, winding a dusty trail that followed the North Fork downstream to his meeting with the mother river, old South Platte herself. At the confluence, the “town” of South Platte once boomed along the Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad. The settlement, made possible by a stop on the narrow gauge railroad, once included a post office, the eponymous hotel, and a telegraph office. Today, the hotel, a 1912 replacement for the original, is all that remains, but it has a remarkable story.

FoxtonPO1025Turning back on our trail, we headed back past Dome Rock and its newly rehabilitated monument to Billy Westall, and made our way upstream to Foxton, where we examined the endangered Foxton Post Office. This 1909 log building was officially declared endangered by Colorado Preservation Inc. in 2002, and looks about the same as it did then, albeit a little dustier and sadder for neglect.

bluejayinn 1034Passing Ferndale, Riverview, then a jog off the main stem took us to Buffalo Creek, home of the Blue Jay Inn. JCHC was lightly involved with the Blue Jay in 2008, so we wanted to see its current status. We’d also recently learned that Civilian Conservation Corps workers were housed in the Blue Jay during the Great Depression, giving that illustrious building another layer of historic repute. Read more about the historic Blue Jay Inn in Historically Jeffco:

Roeder, Milly 2006. Katherine Ramus and the Blue Jay Inn. Vol. 19:27, pp 23-28.

JCHC Historic Preservation Committee members helped redefine this National Register historic district, working with engaged community members from Pine Grove and Buffalo Creek and representatives of the National Park Service to resurvey its historic resources as part of our county-wide cultural resource survey from 1999 to 2002. That Survey Report is available here, as a 12mb pdf. From 2004 to 2007, JCHC also worked with the community to complete the Foxton-Pine Grove Project (4mb pdf) to identify opportunities to preserve the area’s cultural, historic and natural resources and open space.

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