This fall, Gypsum marks its 100th anniversary as an incorporated town in Eagle County . According to the Eagle County Blade of August 11, 1911, “Yes, we are taking steps to incorporate…We will in the course of a few days have electricity available for lighting and will then be the only town in the county to have taken that progressive step…I want you to know that Gypsum today has as good mercantile institutions and is doing as much business as any town in the county.” During Gypsum Daze this upcoming July, there will be a walking tour of the town, a tour of Cedar Hill Cemetery, and all the parades, bands, and entertainment usually part of that celebration. In anticipation of this, the Eagle County Historical Society is doing its homework. We met in Gypsum on April 7 for a walk with Art Davenport and Jack Oleson, long-time residents, both entertaining as always, for a close-up look at historic downtown Gypsum between 1st and 2d Streets.
The great building above Art’s head in this photo is the Upper Gypsum School building, originally on Daggett Lane. Now it’s a private residence. Jack Oleson bought it in 1946 and moved it to the current location, selling it to Lily Anderson. It was used to serve school lunches for many years and is still a unique architectural statement.
The Upper Gypsum School soon after its construction in 1910. Italianate style with cupola bell tower. The building is presently at 115 Eagle Street, Gypsum. It was used as part of Gypsum School District 16 until the districts reorganized. It then became the Bible Chapel and then was used by the Annointed Christian Fellowship.
The Ulin Hotel at 318 1st Street is now an apartment building. It was later the Travelers Hotel, being right up the street from the train depot.
And continuing on to 418 2d Street, we find Bill Lea’s house. Mr. Lea was the county surveyor at the time and did the survey of the city limits as part of the incorporation process. He was also elected one of the first Trustees of the town with Theodore Stremme being mayor.
Anniversary celebrations are wonderful times to go back and document the history of our communities. Gypsum is fortunate to have much of its downtown core intact and in use today, testimony to the “progressive” citizens of the previous century.