Welcome to Eagle County Local History

December 22, 2009

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!


Falling Castles

March 24, 2015

“Even Castles made of sand, fall into the sea, eventually.”  — Jimi Hendrix

This eventuality was evident when part of Lionhead Rock fell in Minturn last year.  Those landmarks that we use to place ourselves in our environment can also change.


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Pay your Water Bill

January 27, 2015

I got to know John “Jack” Cleator at the Red Cliff Museum, one of my favorite places.    This was strictly by accident in that I was examining a cased piece of wooden pipe with the following caption:  “Part of the first Gilman water line; 3200 feet long, laid by John Cleator in 1884.  It supplied Gilman with Rock Creek water for 29 years until the new line was laid in 1915.”


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1915, a New Year!

December 29, 2014

The end of any year gives us pause to think back over recent events.  Even Facebook encourages us to reminisce.  Thinking back 100 years, we find that the January 1 issue of the Eagle Valley Enterprise gives us an interesting picture of life in Eagle County in 1915.

Although it would be two years before the United States entered World War I, the war news found a place on the front page:  “A German aeroplane was sighted Friday in London. It was flying very high from east to west over Sheerness.  British air craft went up in pursuit and engaged the enemy, who, after being hit three or four times, was driven off seaward.”

Later in May 1915, the war became “total war” with the German Zeppelin air raids on England.

Hackney Bombing 1915

Hackney Bombing 1915

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December 19, 2014

On February 4, 2011, I posted a blog about “the Red Book,” a history of Eagle County written by school children in the 1940s.


Here we are, finishing up 2014, and I am working with a poor copy of MacDonald Knight’s thesis for Western State College of Colorado, Gunnison, Early Days on the Eagle, 1953.  Knight’s thesis eventually ended up as a monograph, Early Days on the Eagle, published in 1965, by Knight and Leonard A. Hammock.  It continues to be the most comprehensive, well-documented account of the settling of the Eagle River drainage.


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Happy Anniversary!

November 17, 2014

Mary McCarthy, of Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection fame, brought to my attention the 70th Anniversary of the official graduation of the 10th Mountain Division on November 15, 1944. Mary sends these men “a happy graduation anniversary from their fans at CHNC!” I will add my congratulations, as well.

In June of 1944, the 10th Light Division (Alpine)was sent from Camp Hale to Camp Swift, near Austin, Texas, for flat land training. Moving from the Rockies to Texas heat was disturbing from a morale standpoint, as heatstroke cases multiplied and the men weren’t any closer to seeing action. The men had trained three years for winter combat and were watching as the Apennine campaign in the summer and fall of 1944 cost thousands of casualties.

General Mark Clark finally incorporated the mountain troops into the U.S. Fifth Army. On November 6, 1944, the 10th Light Division was redesignated the 10th Mountain Division, entering combat on January 28, 1945 in the North Apennine Mountains of Italy. [information from the Fort Drum website]
Thanks to Mary for reminding us of this anniversary and to all those who served in the 10th Mountain Division.



The Rest of the Story

October 28, 2014

I get so much information from readers of this blog.  The last post on Tom Mix caught the attention of John Flynn, who provided additional information about the train crew working with Mix in filming The Great K & A Train Robbery.  Thank you for sharing, John!

James Joseph Flynn, born Oct. 7, 1903, was the youngest child of William R. and Catherine Flynn.  William, a D&RG railroad employee, died in 1905, leaving Catherine with seven children.  The family moved to Denver for a while but Catherine petitioned the railroad to move back to Kent.  She supported them by cooking for the railroad employees housed at Kent and most of her children were employed by the railroad at one time or another.

James Flynn eventually became an engineer for D&RG’s California Zephyr.  In 1926, however, he was the fireman on the train in the Tom Mix movie, The Great K & A Train Robbery.  James must have had a picture of Tom Mix and the train crew as sometime in his retirement, he submitted the picture to the Green Light, a magazine for Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad employees.  The magazine no longer exists.

The picture below is a copy of the clipping from the Green Light magazine that was among James Flynn’s things that were given to John Flynn by Blanche Tracy Kyes.  Blanche Tracy Kyes was James Flynn’s wife, Frances Tracy Flynn’s sister.  James J. Flynn died on August 27, 1977.

James Flynn is third from the left, standing

James Flynn is third from the left, standing


It’s a Wrap

October 9, 2014

Colorado scenery is pretty spectacular.  It’s not surprising that many films have been made with Colorado as the backdrop.  The Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media is more than happy to assist filmmakers with locale.  While Cougar Hunting may be Kathy Heicher’s favorite Colorado-made film (Kathy is president of the Eagle County Historical Society), I am enamored of The Great K&A Train Robbery, starring Tom Mix and filmed in our neck of the woods.

Tom Mix2

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