Monday, February 25, 2019

The Hiwan Homestead Museum

Hiwan Homestead Museum, located in Evergreen, Colorado, is a magnificent, 25-room log lodge, built between 1880 and 1942, and includes three other original buildingswhich are now used as a museum and exhibit space.

I visited Hiwan Homestead Museum on different occasions during last summer, and especially enjoyed the excellent docent tour when I went with a group.  

Hiwan Homestead was a mountain retreat for Mary Neosho Williams, a Civil War widow, and her daughter Josepha in the 1890s. They were among the aristocratic society of Denver who camped at Evergreen. They acquired a simple log structure and hired John “Jock” Spence, a Scottish carpenter, to convert it into a summer cottage, and over the years added on to the initial structure. The property was named Camp Neosho after Mrs. Williams’ middle name.

Overnight guests of Mary Neosho Williams would stay in tents, comfortably equipped with wood floors, stoves, and double canvas walls.  In 1889, Josepha graduated from Gross Medical School in Denver and became one of Colorado’s first women doctors. Seven years later, Josepha married Canon Charles Winfred Douglas, an Episcopal clergyman who achieved world acclaim for his musical work.

The Williams/Douglas families would hold lavish parties at their mountain retreat and one of their famous guests who stayed at Camp Neosho in 1931was the poet Robert Frost.

Josepha Douglas died in 1938 and the house was sold to Tulsa oilman, Darst Buchanan. It grew to 15,000 acres over the years. His wife renamed the land Hiwan Ranch. Buchanan’s Hiwan Hereford cattle were known throughout the country and won many stock show prizes. Six generations of notable families lived in this rustic mountain lodge before it was developed as a museum by Jefferson County Open Space in 1974.

Many of the restored rooms in the Hiwan Homestead are furnished with the original residents' belongings, including a collection of southwestern Indian artifacts.

Canon Charles Winfred Douglas, whose portrait hangs on one of the fireplaces in Hiwan Homestead, was largely responsible for bringing plainsong, the ancient music of liturgical worship, into general use, and with it the full choral service in Episcopal worship.

One of my favorite rooms in the Hiwas Homestead was the kitchen, which was frozen in time circa the 1930s

There were so many wonderful artifacts to look at in the kitchen, including a wonderful vintage cookbook collection...

...and vintage spice and condiment containers. 

Schoolchildren often tour Hiwan House to learn about the early days of Colorado, and they make pioneer style journey cakes in the kitchen.

One of the visits I made to Hiwan Homestead Museum was to see an exhibit going on at the time about Chief Colorow, a Native American who was active in the area where I now live.  I've blogged more about him, and the red rock front range cave he liked to use as a shelter, on this blog post.

It was a wonderful exhibit of both photographs and artifacts of the Utes and early settlers in Colorado.

The grounds of Hiwan Homestead Museum are much smaller now than when it was a functioning ranch but are beautifully maintained.

Two of the beautiful sculptures on display on the grounds.

Above is a short video about Hiwan Homestead from the Jefferson County website.  

I hope you enjoyed learning more about this wonderful piece of old Colorado history preserved for all time.

The Hiwan Homestead is located at:
28473 Meadow Drive
Evergreen, CO 80439

Admission is free

 For large group tours contact the museum at 720-497-7650 
Museum Hours: Tuesday – Friday: Noon - 4:00 pm Saturday & Sunday: Noon – 4:30 pm

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Winter Hodgepodge

"Live in each season as it passes.
Breathe the air
Drink the drink
Taste the fruit
And resign yourself to the influences of each."
~ Henry David Thoreau

I may be one of the few who enjoys winter. So often I hear people say that they are tired of the cold and snow and can't wait for spring and summer to arrive. Truth be told, summer is my least favorite season. I do appreciate summer's longer daylight hours, and flowers growing in my garden, but I really dislike hot weather, humidity, and here in the west the all too often days of drought and the danger of fires that summer brings.   

Give me a cool, crisp day...a day to sit by the fire...a day to watch the snow softly falling...and a day to enjoy the special quiet beauty of winter, and I'll be content.  There is a special coziness about winter that

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand
 and for a talk beside the fire; it is the time for home" 
 ~ Edith Sitwell

The beginning of this winter was even more of a stay at home time of the year for me, as I had foot surgery. While I was healing, my husband took over most of the chores, but I did use my crockpot quite a bit to make cooking easier.   I made chicken hatch pepper and bean chili, ham and split pea soup, and many quick skillet meals.  One of my favorite vegetarian meals is to make is to saute chopped swiss chard with one chopped onion and two cloves of garlic in olive oil in a skillet, then add sliced boiled potatoes to the skillet and a package of Madras Lentils.  Mix well and heat. I buy the packages of Tasty Bite Madras Lentils, 8 packages in a box, at Costco. They are already cooked, in a not too spicy tomato sauce. and really delicious alone or mixed with other vegetables.
One of my favorite banana breads is the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Banana Bread. I doubled the recipe and made it in a bundt cake pan as I had quite a few ripe bananas in my freezer. It is really moist and delicious. 

Two special events occurred in February, First, my son turned 40! I'm not sure how that happened, as I don't feel old enough to have a son who is that age. I feel like I was 40 just a short time ago myself. Second, my oldest granddaughter turned six and had a wonderful party her parents hosted at a local children's beauty salon. She and her little friends had their hair and nails done, made beaded bracelets, sang karaoke, ate pizza and cupcakes and had a very happy time!

Our neighborhood bobcat is still on the prowl. The photos above are ones a neighbor posted on our facebook community group. "Bob" makes himself right at home. Bobcats are smaller than mountain lions and mainly eat small animals like mice, birds, squirrels, and rabbits and he is obviously finding enough of them to stay around.
I'm sure you heard about the Colorado man who was attacked recently by a mountain lion while jogging in the foothills. You can hear an interview of how he was able to kill the mountain lion and escape with his life on this link.  Living among wildlife requires us to be alert, but thankfully wildlife attacks are rare.

Beautiful roses from my husband for Valentine's Day! Roses are my favorite flower and my birth month flower. They are even more precious in winter!

Last, the good news for me is that my foot is almost back to normal! No more need to wear the heavy supportive post-op boot!  I am back to using a shoe and little by little I am regaining strength in my foot.  I hope to be hiking again soon.  Thanks for all your good wishes! 

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Boettcher Mansion on Lookout Mountain, Colorado

I'm sharing some places I visited this past summer that I did not have an opportunity to blog about,  while I am recovering from foot surgery.

Charles Boettcher (1852–1948) was one of Colorado’s most important early businessmen and philanthropists.  He owned many lucrative businesses, one of which was a cement company. He donated cement to a businessman building a road to the top of a prominent foothill west of Golden, Colorado, known as Lookout Mountain. When the property on top of the mountain became available Boettcher bought sixty-two acres and built Lorraine Lodge, now known as Boettcher Mansion, in 1917 as a summer retreat. It stands as a particularly elaborate example of the rustic foothills lodges that were popular among wealthy Denverites in the early twentieth century. (All photos in this post will enlarge if clicked on.)

Boettcher hired a popular architectural firm of the time; known as Fisher and Fisher, who designed many buildings in Denver. For “Lorraine Lodge,” the Fishers used local harvested stone and wood from the site to construct the massive retreat.  The estate, which included the main residence, carriage house, gazebo, and well house, emphasized traditional Arts and Crafts craftsmanship in its design. Large east-facing windows allowed Boettcher to take in the view of Denver, and rooms at the lodge could accommodate fifteen to twenty guests.

The grounds around the mansion are beautifully landscaped, both in the rear...

....and front.

Since the mansion was completed in 1917, many pine trees have grown and have obscured the view of Denver, but have added to the beauty of the location.

 Please click to enlarge--photos of Charles Boettcher and his granddaughter Charline Humphreys Breeden.

After Boettcher and his wife, Fannie, officially separated in 1920, the property became Boettcher’s personal retreat and for the next three decades, he stayed at the lodge each year from June to September, using it as a base for hunting and entertaining. Upon Boettcher’s death in 1948, the estate passed to his granddaughter, Charline Humphreys Breeden. Breeden raised her family at the lodge before making plans in the late 1960s to donate the house and surrounding grounds to Jefferson County for public use. When she died in 1972, the 110-acre property officially became county land.

Jefferson County built a nature trail on the grounds and opened the lodge to the public in 1975 as a combined conference and nature center. In the 1980s the entire property was managed by Jefferson County’s Open Space program, but in 1989 Lorraine Lodge was renamed Boettcher Mansion and became its own entity within the Jefferson County Parks Department. These changes were intended to help differentiate the mansion, which had become a popular conference and wedding venue, from the Lookout Mountain Nature Center, which moved into a new building on the property in the 1990s.

In the collage above you can see, what was know as the Fireside Room (left) in the mansion, is now a large banquet room that can accommodate 200 people.  Boettcher Mansion has become a popular wedding venue site

The Boettcher Mansion retains some of the original Stickley classic furnishings.

Many rooms inside the mansion can be used as meeting rooms for conferences...

...and there is also an up to date, state of the art kitchen inside for catering purposes.

There is also a gift shop in the mansion as well as many interesting framed historical photos, period newspaper clippings, and information in the hallways. In the upper right on the collage above, you can see a photo of Chief Colorow. He often roamed this part of Colorado and liked to camp on Lookout Mountain.  You can read more about him on this blog post--click here.

Boettcher Mansion and the Lookout Mountain Nature Center continue to share the open-space park at the top of the mountain, which has grown from Boettcher’s original 62-acre purchase to the 134-acre Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve.  

I really enjoyed my visit to Boettcher Mansion and learning more about its history, and I hope you did too!

Further information:

The Boettcher Mansion
900 Colorow Road
Golden, 80401
Phone: 720-497-7630

Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
(Nights, weekends, and holidays by
appointment or reservation.)

PS: I am reaching the end of my foot surgery recovery and hope to be back to wearing shoes again soon, and be able to get back to a normal schedule. We have so many wonderful places to hike in Colorado and I'm looking forward to being able to walk well again. I really hope this surgery will help to make hiking comfortable for me. Thanks for all your good wishes!

You can also find me on 

I'm linking this post to the following blog events:

Amaze Me MondayMosaic Monday, All SeasonsBlue Monday,  Through My Lens MondayInspiration Monday, Blogging GrandmothersHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog HopGood Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Photo Tunes, Happiness Is HomemadeTuesday TreasuresPictorial TuesdayOur World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesdays With A TwistParty in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayNanahood WWOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful WednesdayOutdoor Wednesday,  Your Whims WednesdayWednesday Around the WorldWonderful Wednesday Little Things Thursday,Thankful ThursdayThursday Favorite ThingsThursday Traffic Jam Weekend LinkyPretty Pintastic PartyFriendship FridaysFriday Photo JournalSkywatch FridaySweet Inspiration, Pink SaturdaySaturday CrittersOver the MoonHappiness Is HomemadeWandering Camera (monthly-last Thursday of the month)

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Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Civilian Conservation Corps Camp at Morrison, Colorado

When one walks from the upper parking lot of Red Rocks Amphitheater towards the park, you will see this statue entitled "CCC Worker" dedicated in honor for the 3 million workers who served in the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1933 to 1942 and to honor those members of Co 1848, SP 13-C, at Morrison, Colorado, who were the builders of this Red Rocks Amphitheatre from 1936 to 1941.

The dedication plaque under the statue seen above.

Click here if you'd like to see one of the many concerts we attended in Red Rocks Amphitheater

Please click on twice to enlarge to read. This graphic is part of an exhibit inside a CCC Camp at Morrison, Colorado

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a New Deal program under President Franklin Roosevelt's administration, aimed at reducing unemployment among young men by giving them steady work improving the nation’s landscape, public lands, and infrastructure. When it was implemented in 1933, the CCC was the largest-ever public works program. At the president’s urging, the CCC enrolled 25,000 young men by April 6, 1933. The initial camp, appropriately called Roosevelt, was established on April 17 at George Washington National Forest near Luray, Virginia. Less than three months later, about 300,000 men from across the country were settled in some 1,500 camps. CCC enrollment was initially limited to single male US citizens between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. Enrollees were assigned to camps for an initial six-month period with the option to reenlist for up to two years. The height of CCC enrollment was reached in the summer of 1935 with over half a million men scattered across 2,600 camps. Each of these camps typically housed about 200 men. Corps members received housing, three meals a day and $30 a month — $25 of which went directly to their families.  The CCC program of the 1930s put 3 million men nationwide to work over the course of its 9.5-year life.

Photo part of the CCC Camp from the Morrison CCC Camp exhibit.

Colorado’s first twenty-nine CCC camps were established in the summer of 1933. Two years later, at the height of the program, that number was forty-seven. In all, 172 camps spread across the mountains and plains. Men performed all types of badly needed conservation work.

A vintage photo of the natural setting of Red Rocks Amphitheater. part of the exhibit at the CCC Camp in Morrison, Colorado

One of the CCC’s most important projects was turning an incredible rock formation just outside of Denver into an actual amphitheater. Red Rocks Park, known for its towering 300-foot sandstone formation and 200-mile panoramic view of Denver and the plains, has become a destination for Colorado residents and tourists from around the world. The amphitheater, world-renowned for its natural acoustics and majestic landscape, often appears at the top of various lists of premier concert venues.  The Mount Morrison Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp Co 1848, SP -13-C, was the camp responsible for building the amphitheater.

Please click on to enlarge

The Mount Morrison Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp is part of the Red Rocks Park and Mount Morrison Civilian Conservation Corps Camp historic district. The camp and adjoining Morrison Park comprise 18 acres of the overall 640 acres Red Rocks Park. The camp houses one of the largest collections of intact CCC buildings in the United States.

Please click on to enlarge

While the camp is not open to the public on a regular basis, we arranged a Ranger-led tour of the CCC Camp with members of a community group we belong to during the summer. It was fascinating to see where the men lived and worked while they built Red Rocks Amphitheater and hear some of their stories, narrated by the Ranger. 

Please click on twice to enlarge. This graphic is part of the exhibit at the CCC Camp in Morrison, Colorado.

Vintage photo of the construction of Red Rocks Amphitheater from the exhibit at the CCC Camp at Morrison, Colorado.

Please click on twice to enlarge. This graphic is part of the exhibit

About half of the CCC camps were assigned to two bureaus in the Department of Agriculture: the Forest Service and Soil Conservation Service. With Colorado’s vast forests, the CCC provided an unprecedented opportunity to accomplish many badly needed improvements. Among other tasks, enrollees built roads, trails, and campgrounds; planted millions of seedlings; thinned overcrowded timber stands; removed dead wood; and performed vital fire suppression services. On Colorado’s eastern plains, camps administered by the Soil Conservation Service completed soil and water erosion control projects resulting from overgrazing and prolonged drought.

Recently, HistoriCorps, a volunteer organization that helps preserve historic places, is restoring eleven more of the Morrison CCC Camp buildings in exchange for moving their Denver headquarters to the site. It is an opportunity for HistoriCorps to consolidate their operations and work with the city of Denver to rehabilitate the buildings at the CCC camp as well as throughout the Denver Mountain Parks system.

If you would like to join a group tour of the CCC Camp in Morrison, Colorado, you can arrange it by contacting Denver Mountain Parks at the email: mountainparks AT gmail DOT com or call 720.865.0900 and leave a message.

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