Book delves deep into history of Douglas County

Castle Rock Writers Group divided topics about plethora of locations

Posted 9/25/17

Frankstown, Pine Valley, Plum, Cherry Valley, Spring Valley, Westcreek, Louviers, Roxborough, Larkspur … some are names we use today and others remain attached to older images and maps. But all are part of the Douglas County story, as most …

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Book delves deep into history of Douglas County

Castle Rock Writers Group divided topics about plethora of locations

Posted

Frankstown, Pine Valley, Plum, Cherry Valley, Spring Valley, Westcreek, Louviers, Roxborough, Larkspur … some are names we use today and others remain attached to older images and maps. But all are part of the Douglas County story, as most recently told by the Castle Rock Writers Group in a book published at the end of August.

Group members were each responsible for a chapter of historic photos and copy about the towns that have evolved, and the introduction is written by Shaun Boyd, archivist at the Douglas County History Research Center. In addition to landscapes and structures, we learn about cowboys — and girls, miners, teachers, developers, business people, kids who were expected to earn their keep early on and interesting interactions among the above — sometimes on horseback and often by walking for many miles …

The cover photo depicts a pair of fashionable Edwardian ladies exclaiming over the beauty of rock formations at what is now Roxborough State Park. Henry Persse named the area for his family home in Ireland — an area that he hoped to develop into a luxury resort for wealthy Easterners, but at first featured a brick factory. His special formula for bricks died with him when he was killed by a tram in downtown Denver in 1918, according to writer Susan Trumble, who compiled Chapter Eight.

Debbie Buboltz and Derald Hoffman produced the first chapter: “Castle Rock, County Seat Takes Shape,” with a photo of the iconic formation behind early buildings and a story about how six sections were laid out by Jeramiah Gould and John Craig. The depot followed, and the Masonic temple, a rooming house, school and soon, Wilcox Street. Products from the stone quarry south of town are seen throughout the metro area.

Also distributed through the metro area were dairy products. Milk cans were hauled to creameries which shipped them to Denver via train or wagon — or made cheeses for sale (see Larkspur and others.)

“Franktown and Southeastern Valleys: From Seeking Gold to Homesteading” is compiled by James Hansmann, Kathleen McCoy and Elizabeth Wallace. Originally, it was called Frankstown, after James Frank Gardner, entrepreneur and politician.

Chapter Three: “Highlands Ranch, Daniels Park and Castle Pines, Wildcat Mountains Tamed,” by Peggy A. Cummings, includes photos of the hunt at the Phipps Ranch, surrounding the present location of the beautifully restored Highlands Ranch Mansion. Included: a young early child Phillips family member, mounted on a pet pony in front of the mansion’s fireplace.

“Larkspur, Perry Park and Greenland: Douglas County’s Dairyland” are described by James Hansmann as tranquil green meadows, with fresh, healthful mountain air — a health and tourist mecca as well as productive ranch land. Shades of former inhabitants include one of the ancient, curious, bent, manipulated trees the Utes used for messaging and worship.

“Lone Tree and Happy Canyon, From One Small Tree” by Kathleen McCoy includes photos of the Schweiger property, which has been carefully restored. Since the original tree was not found, a blue spruce was planted at the corner of Lincoln and Yosemite on Arbor Day, 1998.

Chapter Six is about Louviers and the DuPont Company’s role in Colorado, written by Alice Aldridge-Dennis. Some buildings pictured are still standing.

“Parker: The 20 Mile Landmark” is by Kathleen McCoy and Elizabeth Wallace talks about a town on the route of the Gold Rush. Originally called Pine Grove, it has Ute history as well.

“Sedalia, Town at the Crossroads,” by Laura Smallegan Adema, talks about an early settlement at the junction of East and West Plum Creeks, with orchards, the historic St. Philip’s Church and the legendary Bud’s Bar.

The final chapter: “Western Region and Platte River: Rugged and Beautiful” is also by Adema and includes the Penley Ranch, partially on what was a Ute campground, now at the edge of Pike National Forest, and Diamond Jack, a gangster/cowboy (Leland Varain). Also in this section: Strontia Springs, submerged by a dam in Waterton Canyon.

Tidbits of local history invite further exploration in the many museums and private collections cited throughout, as well as nice Sunday drives. The book is priced at $21.99 and it should be available at events and locations throughout the county. (Including the 2017 Castle Rock Writers Conference on Oct. 20 and 21. See castlerockwriters.com.)

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