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The Record

Winter 2008

Volume 35, Issue 4


Pick up "Historically Jeffco"

The annual publication will no longer be mailed to you from the county offices of the Jefferson County Historical Commission. Please pick up your copy at the Hiwan Homestead Museum.

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Heritage Grove and its Safekeeping in Perpetuity

At its November meeting, the JCHS Board of Directors voted to consider a proposal to transfer the ownership of Heritage Grove to Jefferson County Open Space.

More than 30 years ago, the residents of Jefferson County established the Open Space Program to (as its website states) "preserve, protect and maintain one of Colorado's most valuable assets and develop opportunities for outdoor recreation, education, and conservation." Currently, Open Space manages more than 50,000 acres. A transfer of ownership would bring Heritage Grove under the protective umbrella of Open Space, guaranteeing its safekeeping in perpetuity.

The care and maintenance of the Grove has become increasingly expensive, owing to the age of the trees, the impact of significant usage and, more recently, the potential and real damage of insect infestation. Over the past two years alone, the 100 Ponderosa Pines in the Grove have required extensive spraying for pine and ips beetle, vertical mulching to mitigate the damage from compacted soil, and cutting/pruning to ensure tree health. As an extremely small, all-volunteer organization with very limited funds, JCHS has seen more and more of its financial and human resources be literally used up by the Grove.

Traditionally, rental fees have offset the cost of Grove maintenance. With additional event venues becoming available in the community, our rental fee income has been reduced and we expect this decline to continue. On the one hand, reduced traffic in the Grove is beneficial to our ancient pine trees; on the other, the absence of income from these events puts the Grove maintenance program in real jeopardy.

Open Space has the resources and expertise to protect these trees - forever - for the public trust. The Grove has been a natural adjunct to Hiwan Homestead Museum (already an Open Space property) for more than thirty years; this transfer of ownership would formalize that relationship. Likewise, the important role that the Jefferson County Historical Society plays in supporting the activities in and around the Museum would continue. In fact, we would hope to redirect the money that has gone to care for the Grove towards funding our mission to educate and inform our community about its history.

Initial contact with Open Space has been positive enough to warrant further consideration of this matter. As such, a motion was made at the JCHS Board's November meeting by Hank Alderfer (current board member and part of the original steering committee to "Save the Grove") to begin discussions with Open Space. The motion was approved by The Board.

The JCHS Board will provide further information, as it becomes available, through this newsletter (The Record) and on our website ( . A general membership meeting will be announced if and when the transfer is recommended. All members present at this meeting will have an opportunity to provide their comments. This meeting will likely occur in Early 2009.

The Board would also like to express their appreciation to everyone who participated in the original purchase (rescue) of the land we all know as Heritage Grove. Without their efforts, this unique piece of our local, natural history would not be available today for all of us to enjoy. They saved this land once; it's now time to do it again. The JCHS Board is confident that this property transfer is in the best interest of the Grove and will guarantee that it will always be available for generations to come.

Please feel free contact to Diane Fuchs, JCHS President at 303-674-9639 or via email for further information.

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President's Pen: Latest Happenings

by Diane Fuchs

I have many exciting things to share with you. The "Reflections" event made $500 for "Heritage Grove" maintenance. You can read more about this wonderful event in a separate article. With a little help, I would like to continue this event next year.

In September, the board voted to upgrade/replace the tent in Heritage Grove. This includes a new floor and canvas. The board approved to spend $3500 for this renovation. The board also approved at the October board meeting to provide funds for new carpeting at the museum, since the current carpeting is worn and is about 10 years old.

Membership: If you haven't renewed your membership this fall, you will be receiving a reminder letter Josie Hoover (membership director) or a call from me. If you have renewed and our records don't reflect that, we'd like to get it straightened out... so thanks in advance for your cooperation.

It's Holiday Party planning time again, and many of our calendars are already full! Rather than compete with the crowd of end-of-year parties, we've decided to take yet another spin on our annual JCHS holiday party: we'll be throwing a Mardi Gras party on February 22, 2009 from 5:30-8:00 p.m. We hope you all will join us to shake off the "winter blahs" New Orleans style!

Our wonderful newsletter editor and former president, Rebecca Young, is retiring. She has absolutely done a fantastic job-Thank you, Thank you. She is a very hard person to replace, but we have fortunately signed a contract with Sara Miller to do our newsletter twice a year instead of four times a year. We will have a Spring/Summer edition and a Fall/Winter edition, with a new look and size. Be looking for the Spring/Summer edition of The Record in April 2009.

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"Handmade at Hiwan" Highlights Alternative Christmas Fair

by Susan Jones

Again this year, we have revived the tradition of crafting to raise money for JCHS. Many folks donated time, creativity, and material to make a bevy of holiday goodies to sell at this year's Evergreen Alternative Christmas Fair. We had felted tree ornaments (like last year), holiday dishcloths, scarves, Christmas tree hats, coffee cup cozies, little felted purses, and tote bags to join our usual parade of books, notecards, and posters.

Thanks to Joan Davis for donating some adorable Christmas-y sewing kits that were beautifully executed by Sue Knepley. Knitters Joan Ball, Bev Wickland, Sue Knepley, Char Ray, Barbara DeCaro and Dale Devine all pitched in to produce so many colorful and creative designs. New volunteer Ivy Riggs not only helped to staff the booth, but provided some beautiful snowflake ornaments and woven scarves, as well as knitted hats and mittens. Super Susan Grannell went above and beyond the call to ensure we had lots of fun stuff to sell. She and Randi Marcos had a blast making funky little scarves (a name we think they should trademark!) and Susan and Sue Ashbaugh made up several tote bags, hoping to cash in on the rising popularity of reusable shopping bags. Juanita Weare directed our "packaging design" and Diane Fuchs helped in the finishing.

Another fabulous and popular handmade hit this year was an assortment of charming wooden snowmen "turned out" by Bill Lambert. We're very grateful to Bill for the contribution of his time and talent in support of JCHS.

Thanks as well to those who staffed the booth -- Joan Ball, Joan Davis, Dale Devine, Diane Fuchs, Josie Hoover, Pat Jurgens, Randi Marcos, Heidi Markley, and Ivy Riggs. An extra shout-out of thanks goes to our angel Randi Marcos who made sure that the booth was staffed and that everyone was familiar with our inventory and processes. Many thanks, too, to our "go-to guy" Hank Fuchs, who hauled in all those boxes of books and helped make the booth set-up and breakdown so smooth.

Sales at this year's Alternative Christmas Fair tallied $900 for JCHS. Those who keep tabs on such things might be amused to know that after a year's hiatus, the "Christmas in Evergreen" posters once again topped our bestseller list!

The Alternative Christmas Fair is a wonderfully unique fundraising opportunity open only to non-profit organizations. The three local churches that sponsor the fair donate their time and money required for advertising and logistics. Thanks to the consideration of the fair's original organizer, Jeanne Gibbard and her husband Graham, JCHS has been fortunate to be included among the list of participating non-profits.

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Hiwan Homestead Museum News

Provided by Sue Ashbaugh, Meghan McGinnes, and John Steinle

To inquire about any of the above activities and programs, please call Hiwan Homestead Museum at 720-497-7650. Hiwan News provided by John Steinle, Sue Ashbaugh and Meghan McGinnes.

Volunteer Awards

Two of our Hiwan volunteers, Kathy Mood and Mike Bornhouser, were nominated for Jefferson County Open Space volunteer awards. Kathy was nominated as Outstanding Individual Volunteer, while Mike received the nomination for Best New Volunteer. At the awards ceremony at Evergreen Lake House, it was revealed that Mike had won the award as Best New Volunteer for Open Space! Congratulations to Kathy and Mike for being honored by Open Space!

Speaking of Awards ...

The new four-color Hiwan Homestead brochure received the Publications Award for Best Museum Brochure from the Mountain- Plains Museum Association at its annual meeting in Kansas City. The brochure was funded through Open Space and designed by the department's Graphic Design Specialist, Bridgit Coffman.

Volunteer Training New Graduates

We're delighted to announce training is completed for two new volunteers in the Pioneer History Program for 4th graders at Hiwan Homestead Museum. Sue Courtney and Nancy Dittmer are enthusiastic new members of the Museum Volunteer Crew. They join new Museum Tour Guide Ivy Riggs and Receptionist Judy Lorenz. We welcome them all to Hiwan!

New Acquisition

If you stop by the Museum, you'll see a different receptionist desk. This desk belonged to Willard and Mary Helen Crain. Willard served as editor and Mary Helen as columnist for the Canyon Courier, which was first published in 1958. Mary Helen was also the author of Evergreen, Colorado (for sale here at the Museum) and the booklet A Circle of Pioneers, about the area surrounding Evergreen.

Nutcracker "Sweet" Tea

Join us Monday, December 8 at 11:30 a.m. for our Christmas tea. Enjoy our nutcracker decorations throughout the Museum and a special presentation by Danielle Heller, owner of Peak Academy of Dance in Conifer. The Academy is presenting the "Harlem Nutcracker" as one of their holiday productions; Heller will be giving a talk about the history of "The Nutcracker," the different adaptations over the years, and clips from the Academy's performance. Reservations are required and a donation is requested ($12 for JCHS members and groups of 4 or more, $15 for non-members).


Needles group meets the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of the month at 12:30 p.m. in Eric's House. Learn something new, finish a project and make new friends! Lots of fun!

Log Cabin Knitting

On January 14, at 1pm we will have a class on Log Cabin Knitting. Knitting skills only are required (not even purling). Log Cabin is a traditional quilting pattern created to use scraps of fabric--we can take the same concept and create beautiful knitted products including afghans, dishcloths, pot holders, and rugs. Call the museum for more information. We would love for each participant to make a log cabin square that would be part of an afghan that will be sent to Afghans for Afghanistan.

Evergreen Holiday Walk

Don't forget to stop by the Museum during the Evergreen Holiday Walk from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, December 5th. The nutcracker-themed decorations will be up, you can enjoy chestnuts roasting on an open fire, hot cider, Christmas crafts for children, and at 7 p.m. the dance students from Kinetic Arts Studio will be performing their Holiday dance medley!

Old Photos, Anybody?

As many of you may know, JCHS owns and maintains an extensive photo collection available for public use located at Hiwan Homestead Museum. Currently these photos are stored in the old card catalog drawers in Eric's House; we are in the process of applying for a grant to organize and digitize these photos, both for better preservation of the collection, and to make it easier to use. If anybody is interested in learning more or in being available to assist in this project, please call the Museum at 720-497-7650.

Book Club

Book Club meets the 4th Wednesday of the month (usually) in Eric's House at 12:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to join our lively, casual discussions! '08 -09 Scheduled Books:

  • Dec. 3 - Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Barbara Kingsolver (pot luck luncheon)
  • Jan. 28 - House at Otowi Bridge, Peggy Pond Church
  • Feb. 25 - Tall Grass, Sandra Dallas
  • Mar. 25 - Women in Waiting
  • Apr. 22 - Cane River, Latita Tademy
  • May 27 - A Tony Hillerman Book TBD

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Gift Giving Ideas

Give a gift of local history to friends and family this season. Check out the JCHS Bookstore at Hiwan Homestead Museum or on-line ( New items for this year include Nancy Larner's A Mouse in the Rabbi's Study and two books from Jan Murphy: Mysteries and Legends of Colorado: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained and Outlaw Tales of Colorado: The Stories of Colorado's Notorious Robbers, Rustlers and Bandits. All three books are fun and engaging reads - perfect holiday gifts!

JCHS's mission is to "preserve, protect, and promote" local history. Your purchase of these titles for friends and family helps to promote our community's fascinating history, and all proceeds go to support JCHS's educational activities and programs held throughout the year.

A Mouse in the Rabbi's Study by Nancy Larner ($19.95). The humorous friendship between a rabbi and a mouse extends through a year of Jewish holidays. Aimed primarily at children in kindergarten through third grade, the story is educational and entertaining for youngsters of any age, as well as for adults interested in learning about Judaism. Illustrated by Colorado pastel artist Pegi Ballenger, the book includes a CD dramatization with holiday songs performed by Daniel Stellini.

Outlaw Tales of Colorado by Jan Murphy ($12.95) tells the true stories of more than a dozen of the era's most infamous outlaws, including conmen, murderers, bank robbers, cattle rustlers and horse thieves, lawless lawmen, jealous lovers, and a cannibal. Mysteries and Legends of Colorado by Jan Murphy ($12.95). From the Anasazi, to Buffalo Bill and P.T. Barnum, to the naming of Colfax Avenue, this book makes history fun, pulling the curtain back on some of the West's most fascinating and compelling stories.

And don't forget these from our bookshelves:

Evergreen, Colorado by Mary Helen Crain ($5.00) This is a short (55 pages) profile of early Evergreen by a long time resident journalist.

From Camp Neosho to Hiwan Homestead by Connie Fahnestock ($5.00) The first President of JCHS and Director of Hiwan published this lively "mini-history" of Hiwan Homestead Museum.

From Scratch, A History of Jefferson County Colorado by Members of the Jefferson County Historical Commission ($15.00) The best deal on a local history book around features a choice selection from the JCHS photograph collection and plenty of figures and facts about Jeffco's founding.

Indian Hills, The Place, The Times, The People by Helen M. Brush and Catherine Dittman ($15.00) The book begins in 1866 with the Turkey Creek Toll Bridge and ends in 1976. Great pictures of people and buildings and extensive documentation of early families.

Mountain Memories: From Coffee Pot Hill to Medlen Town edited by Betty Moynihan and Helen E. Waters ($15.00) This history of the Inter-Canyon area is a compilation of interviews, reminisces and historic photographs supplied by area residents.

Portraits of Preservation Protected Lands and Ranches of Colorado's Front Range by Mike Strunk ($35.00). This stunning 155-page, full-color coffeetable book captures the preservation stories of the historic lands and ranches west of Denver.

Upper Side of the Piecrust by Margaret Bentley ($15.00). Southwestern Jeffco's earliest families in Aspen Park, Conifer, South Turkey Creek, Pleasant Park, Pine Grove and Buffalo Creek.

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Reflections Shines for a Second Year

An eclectic mix of history, politics, science and culture made this year's Reflections book-and-author event memorable; a delicious luncheon in the delightful setting of Mount Vernon Country Club ensured that a good time was had by all.

This year's presenters were four local authors, each with a unique story to tell. Jan Murphy started the day off by sharing fascinating stories from her book, Mysteries and Legends of Colorado. She brought history home as she talked about the settlers, soldiers, Indians and outlaws who roamed the hills seen from the country club's Aspen Room.

Roger Baker's talk about his book, Clara: An Ex-Slave in Gold Rush Colorado added to the day's appreciation of our rich history. As the question-and-answer period opened up, things got even more interesting as Baker, County Manager for Gilpin county, shared his insights into local political hot topics.

Nancy Larner charmed us with her children's book, A Mouse in the Rabbi's Study, and the creative way it presents and explains the Jewish Holidays. She also shared her saga of self-publishing, reconfirming to us all that this book is indeed a labor of love.

Mark Eberhart closed out the program with his book, Why Things Break: Understanding the World By the Way It Comes Apart. A professor at the School of Mines, Eberhart has the wonderful ability to help us understand how a subject as seemingly obtuse as materials science impacts our world and our history (think Titanic).

Jeannie Collopy-Bach recruited Eberhart for this year's program. "We are very fortunate," she rightly observes, "to have talented regional authors who can exhibit such enthusiasm while sharing with us their writing and research experiences."

Mike Strunk was a presenter at last year's inaugural Reflections event. As an attendee this year, he was happy to pass along these thoughts. "It was an outstanding event and should definitely be repeated. The authors were informative and entertaining - funny even! The food was great, the venue terrific. While we history types learned a lot about history, some of the presentations were about things that should be of interest to everyone, not just historians."

Mike also shared a well-deserved comment about the person who made the day possible: "Hats off to Diane Fuchs for the idea of Reflections and for working so hard to put together this excellent program for the past two years." Well said. JCHS also thanks Nancy Larner and Jan Murphy for generously contributing to JCHS a portion of the proceeds from the day's sales of their books.

The Record is published four times per year by the Jefferson County Historical Society. Editor: Rebecca Young. Email your submissions to the editor.

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