Welcome to the Eagle County Local History blog: You Can’t Use it if You Don’t Preserve It! I will be sharing interesting bits of Eagle County history for your edification and enjoyment. Sign up, stay tuned!
It’s the season to celebrate the harvest and give thanks for what comes to us. Eagle County, largely agricultural until the past few decades, has always known how to throw a good dinner. The Home Demonstration Club of Brush Creek put together the Eagle County Cook Book in the late 1930s with some fascinating recipes contributed by women with very familiar names in Eagle County. As we enjoy our celebrations this week, let’s remember some of these women.
Veterans’ Day 2013
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.” — U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs
The recent announcement by Eagle County’s Open Space Department that part of the Horn Ranch will be preserved as open space makes me happy. Not only is this acreage strikingly beautiful, it also has a fascinating history.
We begin with Rupert Sherwood. Sherwood came to Colorado in 1862 and became a trapper. “For years he was a fur trader between the Continental Divide and the Missouri river, but the lure of gold lead him to prospecting for that metal, and the most interesting years of his life was spent with a gold pan and prospecting pick, in company with ‘Prunes,’ his faithful old burro.” – Eagle Valley Enterprise, Sept. 4, 1931 p.1. Rupe and Prunes are buried together in Fairplay.
In 1883, Rupe Sherwood homesteaded eight miles east of Eagle which later became one of the best cattle ranches in the county. The Rio Grande railroad built through the Eagle River Valley and placed a switch near the ranch, the ‘Sherwood Switch, with a section house at the major crossing point on the Eagle River between Wolcott and Eagle.
Rupe owned the ranch when a rock quarry was operational in Red Canyon (now between mile markers 135 and 134 on I-70). The quarry sold red sandstone to builders in Denver, Aspen and Pueblo during the construction boom of the 1880s. The remains of the pulley system to lower the sandstone from the top to the bottom of the cliff is still visible.
Rupert went back to prospecting and, at the time of his death in 1931, his ranch was owned by George W. Watson. ”The Watsons bought the old Sherwood [Kent] ranch near Wolcott from John Morris, and owned that property until ten years ago  when they sold to Leonard Horn and moved into Eagle, maintaining their home here since.” — Eagle Valley Enterprise Jan. 12, 1950 p.1
The William and Catherine Flynn family lived in the Sherwood section house, William being a railroad man with the Denver & Rio Grande beginning in 1888. William died in 1905 and his obituary still lists Sherwood as a place of residence for his widow and seven children. The sons also worked for the railroad and Mrs. Flynn cooked at the section house for many years. It is from their family albums that we can document the Sherwood switch which later was renamed Kent.The 480 acres generously granted by the current owner, Magnus Lindholm, includes 7,300 feet of access to the Eagle River, preserving wildlife habitat and beautiful fishing areas. As this agreement proceeds, it is good to remember the people who recognized the value of this Red Canyon landscape and the lives they made for themselves in Eagle County.
Eagle County possesses beautiful horizons seen in every direction. The mountains and valleys provide a strong sense of place, that character that can be felt by locals and visitors alike, contradicting Gertrude Stein’s, “there is no there there.”
Being interested in local history, I find that it is frequently the horizon and geography that can identify an otherwise uncaptioned photo. The photo below could be any town but the placement of Castle Peak in the background is an obvious clue that the town is Eagle and the street is Broadway, the main street in old town Eagle. Looking north on Broadway, one finds Castle Peak as the dominant feature on the horizon.
Another fun Saturday at the Red Cliff Museum produced several objects shared by the inimitable Angela Beck. All of these items were used in Red Cliff at some point in the last 100 years but some of those usages are no longer current so some research became necessary. What am I looking at and what was its use?
Please don’t ask me where your summer went. I have no idea and I vaguely remember May but not June and July. However, August brings the 16th Annual Red Cliff Studio Tour August 17-18. What a good excuse to do some pre-holiday shopping and visit the always exciting town of Red Cliff.
Or maybe not. If we remember a blog from April 2012 Truss Me, we know that the green bridge on Highway 6 at Dotsero was slated for removal. “ In the case of the Dotsero Bridge, crossing the Colorado River on US Highway 6, historic status was granted because the bridge is part of the federal highway system created during the early 20th century and for its association with a trans-continental highway. It is also a good example of a rigid-connected Parker through truss.”