Jefferson County Historical Preservation Symposium 2017 – Landscape Shapes History

This event is past. See Landscape Shapes History for a report on the 2017 symposium.

The Jefferson County Historical Commission and Jefferson County Open Space teamed up to present the 2017 Historical Preservation Symposium.  Set in the historic Timbervale Barn at the Hiwan Heritage Park, in Evergreen Colorado, the Symposium focused on how landscape shapes history.

Speakers gave presentations on how landscape shaped the settlement of Jefferson County and how the settlers changed the landscape to take advantage of Colorado’s abundance of natural resources including rock, minerals, gold, water, soil and timber.


  • Bob Raynolds, Denver Museum of Nature and Science – Geology and Paleontology,
  • Don Finley, Prospector – Prospecting: Past and Present,
  • Andrea Keppers, Jefferson County Open Space – Ranching in JeffCo,
  • Cynthia Shaw, Jefferson County Historical Commission – Arts and Crafts Architecture

Panel discussion: Cynthia Shaw (Chair – Jefferson County Historical Commission and Director of the Boettcher Mansion), John Steinle former administrator of Hiwan Museum and local historian), Mary Ann Bonnell (Jefferson County Open Space, Visitor Services Manager), Bud Weare (retired historian), Elaine Hayden (Jefferson County Historical Society)

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2017 Historic Preservation Symposium

This year, the Jefferson County Historical Commission is teaming up with Jefferson County Open Space to present the Historic Preservation Symposium on “Landscape Shapes History.”  The Symposium will be held on May 13th at the Hiwan Museum in Evergreen.  Registration is now open through Eventbrite.  Space is limited–Register early to reserve a spot!  Link to registration page on Eventbrite


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Jefferson County’s Judge’s Wall Displays the History of the 1st Judicial District

Beginning in December 2016, walls in the Jefferson County Courthouse showcase the history of the 1st Judicial District, which includes Jefferson and Gilpin Counties. The project is part of a four-phase plan to display information about the judges of the 1st Judicial District. The presentation includes photos and biographical information about the judges, information about the Merit Selection system used since 1967 to appoint and retain judges, and illustrations of the current and past Jefferson County courthouses. Carol Perricone, wife of retired Judge Gaspar Perricone, illustrated the Hall of Justice, and Doyle Harrison illustrated the Courts and Administration Building. These drawings are featured in the Merit Selection Era section. The Election Era section will display Carol’s illustrations of two earlier courthouses.

Phases I and II were introduced at a reception Thursday, December 15, 2016, with current and retired judges, as well as representatives of the Colorado Supreme Court Library and the Bar Association, in attendance. Phases I and II reflect the current judges and retired/former judges who were appointed during the Merit Selection Era. These phases are complete and the results are displayed along two corridors on the first floor of the courthouse. Phases III and IV are in progress and will display information about judges who were elected and served from 1876 to 1969, and judicial officers who served during the ‘Territorial Era’ and ‘Frontier Era’ before 1876. The Judge’s Wall has been a combined effort of the Jefferson County Historical Commission (working committee members Bonnie Scudder, Margaret Chapman, Richard Gardner, Dennis Dempsey and Doyle Harrison), Caren Stanley-1st Judicial District Administrator, Dan Cordova-Colorado Supreme Court Law Librarian, and Ronda Frazier-Jefferson County Archivist. Commissioner Casey Tighe recommended the JCHC assist with this project.

JCHC members volunteer their time. Hundreds of hours were spent researching, writing bios, editing, verifying, tracking down photos, and planning the display. This was truly a team effort, and all of the committee members did a super job. Even a few friends and family members of committee members pitched in. The support, tremendous assistance, and guidance of Dan Cordova, along with Katharine Hales, of the Colorado Supreme Court Library, were much appreciated. Court Administrator Caren Stanley had wanted to see something like this for the district’s judicial officers for several years and was delighted to participate.
—Bonnie Scudder, manager of the project

Descendants and friends of former 1st Judicial District Judges are encouraged to contact the Jefferson County Historical Commission with information, pictures, and/or questions about the project. The Commission is particularly interested in receiving information about the judges who served before 1970 as we are gathering materials for Phase III and IV.  If you have information or questions, please contact Bonnie Scudder at bscudder AT More on Jeffco’s website: Judge’s Wall Will Record Jefferson County Judicial History

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Hank Alderfer’s Yesteryear

hankbookYesteryear: Tales from Colorado Front Range Mountain Communities
by Hank Alderfer, with Barbie Alderfer

Last night, November 30, 2016, marked the first appearance of Hank Alderfer’s long-awaited memoir of life in the Jeffco foothills in and around and beyond Evergreen. More than a hundred area residents, lifelong or newer friends and well-wishers, gathered at the Evergreen Lakehouse to see this book and pay tribute to its author. Most went home with at least one copy! Peter Eggers acted as emcee of the evening, riding herd on presenters who included friends and colleagues like John Ellis, Mimi Nelson, John Steinle, Linda Dahl, John Erlandson, and others.

Storytellers like Hank are not found along every trail. As Hannah Hayes wrote in the book’s Preface: “Retelling the past so vividly with such depth of dedication ensures Hank’s legacy.” More than 100 of Hank’s personal essays, most previously published in the Canyon Courier, are collected here, thanks to the cooperation of its editor, Doug Bell. With them are several newer pieces that help to round out the story.

In addition to his own lifetime of personal experience, Hank has collected decades of stories of the pioneer settlers from their descendants and chronicled them here. Today, the recollections he captured inform a regional history that would otherwise be lost. He has performed an invaluable service to future historians.

My feelings for Evergreen, its history and its land, grew from my mother, Arleta Anderson Alderfer, Tom Hayden, and his grandmother. My appreciation of oral history had its roots with those three people. They were down-home, always worked the land and enjoyed the simple ranching life. —Hank Alderfer, Yesteryear introduction

Hank Alderfer, right, with John Steinle

Hank Alderfer, right, with John Steinle

In 2007, Hank was named an honoree in the Jefferson Co. Hall of Fame. The Alderfer legacy remains especially significant to county residents via the preservation of the family ranch as the Alderfer-Three Sisters Open Space Park. In October 2016, JCHC named the Alderfer Ranch House and Barn as a county landmark, another highlight of historic preservation Hank and his family have made possible.

Our gratitude goes to Hank and Barbie, and all the others who made this book possible.

Getting to know Evergreen through a native’s eyes is a singular opportunity. This historical treasure will enrich life immeasurably for those of us who are lucky enough to be connected to this town. Hank’s strong, true and enduring mark is that of local historian. To learn from history is our responsibility. —Hannah Hayes, Yesteryear preface

I’ve already been enjoying the book… finding great tidbits in it. The stories in the book are rich and varied; this compilation is a terrific addition to Jeffco history and lore. I hope some of the great stories* shared last night were or will be captured somehow as well. —Sally L. White

*You can listen to some of John Ellis’s stories about Hank here, courtesy Evergreen Park and Recreation District.

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Anniversary of Arapahoe City

Based on information contributed by Golden historian Richard Gardner.

Dedication of the Arapahoe City monument, May 12, 1946. DPL X-6664 description of photo.

Dedication of the Arapahoe City monument, May 12, 1946. DPL X-6664 description of photo.

On this day in history, November 29, 1858, the Arapahoe City Town Company was organized. Although Arapahoe City existed for only a few years (1858-1863), it may have been the first town site in what later became Jefferson County. It was located about two miles east of Golden along Clear Creek. The Colorado Historical Society (and others) marked the site with a monument in 1946. The first building boom in Jefferson County was in the spring of 1859, when about 20 log buildings were constructed at Arapahoe City.

“Indians are thick here. We apprehend danger from them. They have sent us word by some of their chiefs to quit their country…

We have laid out a town by the name of Arapahoe City…”
—Thomas Golden

Settlers hunted game on the Table Mountains, including buffalo, elk, deer, and mountain sheep.

George Jackson and John Gregory settled at Arapahoe City. Jackson struck gold near Idaho Springs; Gregory found good prospects near Black Hawk. These finds sent the Colorado Gold Rush into full boom, leading to the settlement of this state.

“The rise and prosperity of Golden caused the decline and fall of Arapahoe. Many moved their log buildings to Golden.”
—Jerome Smiley, Colorado historian

Arapahoe City was the 4th gold rush town in Colorado, after Montana City, Auraria, and Denver (all pretty much in Denver’s realm now). It functioned as an important base camp for gold seekers heading to the hills. Prominent gold discoverers John H. Gregory (at today’s Black Hawk/Central City) and George A. Jackson (at today’s Idaho Springs) lived at Arapahoe City leading up to their famed gold strikes. Thomas L. Golden, whom Golden was later named after, was an officer of the town company. Although not part of the town itself the historic stone home of town surveyor George B. Allen, built in 1868, stands not far east of McIntyre on the south side. It’s made of stone he hauled out here from Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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Throwback Thursday: 1976 Centennial-Bicentennial

Who remembers this centennial-bicentennial logo for Jefferson County, designed by Linda Allen in 1976?


In fact, this auspicious national and state-wide celebration was a primary reason for the formation of the Jeffco Historical Commission in 1974. Several local historical societies asked the County Commissioners to appoint a coordinating committee to help plan the county’s celebration.

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Jeffco Archives Celebrates Throwback Thursdays

In recognition of the 25th year of Jefferson County Archives, and this past October being National Archives Month, archivist Ronda Frazier has been sharing fun images, stories, and other items on the county Facebook page each Thursday. Most of these, along with other historic information, also appear on the JCHC Facebook page. Here are some samples of recent postings:

landpatent1866**Throwback Thursday**
Posted Nov 3, 2016

This image is a land patent from September 1, 1866 for the original town site of Golden, Colorado. Golden was originally bounty land, used to entice military service. Grants of free land were issued to men who served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War and the Indian Wars. Veterans or their heirs could claim bounty land or assign or sell it to others. Both of these warrants were issued for service in the War of 1812 and assigned to a Jefferson County judge for the benefit of the occupants of Golden City in 1866.

tinytown**Throwback Thursday**
Posted Oct 27, 2016

This photo of a little girl (Doris Hilton) was taken in 1926 at Tiny Town. By dating the photo based on the girl’s clothing and doing some research on Tiny Town, County Archivist Ronda Frazier was able to help the donor establish a timeline of her family’s travels back and forth across the U.S.

Jefferson County Archives also just received a donation of a home movie of Tiny Town taken in the 1930s. We will be digitizing the film soon and can’t wait to see what is on it!

**Throwback Thursday** Posted Oct 6, 2016

railroad-bondThis image is a Railroad Aid bond issued by Jefferson County in 1868 in order to raise $100,000 to fund construction of the Colorado Central Railroad. The principal amount of $1,000 was to mature in 15 years at an interest rate of 8%. The attached coupons were payable annually on June 1st, for the amount of $80. The bond was signed by County Commissioners Edward L. Berthoud, T.C. Bergen, and William M. Allen, and also features a 50 cent U.S. revenue stamp which paid the tax duty on the document.

**Throwback Thursday**
Posted Sept 1, 2016

Check out this postcard of the original Jefferson County Courthouse from 1911!

The postcard was written and mailed in 1911 by a Morrison resident. On the postcard is an image of the original Jefferson County Courthouse at present-day 1501 Washington Ave. in Golden. The postcard was found at a flea market in Iowa by L.G. Joerg of Farimont, MN and sent to the County Archivist in care of the Auditor’s Office in 1994.

The cornerstone for the original Jefferson County Courthouse was laid June 23, 1877 at present-day 1501 Washington Ave. The original courthouse and jail opened February 15, 1878. Denver architect W.H.J. Nicholls designed the building, which cost $30,000 to build. The courthouse was in use until 1953, when the new courthouse at 1700 Arapahoe St. was built. The original courthouse building was demolished in 1963.

More to Explore

Visit the Jefferson County Facebook page to find more Throwback Thursday memorabilia from the Archives, including Jim Beam whiskey decanters from elections depicting political parties, historical photos of people and places, and original documents from early years.

Jefferson County has records dating back to the mid-1800s (before Colorado was a state)! Did you know these records are available for the public to access? Citizens can access census data, ledgers, photos, maps, and many other historic records. All you need to do is contact Jefferson County Archives and make an appointment. For more information about Jefferson County Archives, appointments, or internship and volunteer opportunities, email County Archivist Ronda Frazier, call 303-271-8448, or visit Jeffco Archives online.

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