The 20th Annual Nimon-Walker Award
Honoring: Rae Benton & Sylvan Lake State Park
Where: Eagle Public Library, 600 Broadway Street, Eagle, Colorado
When: Sunday, October 17th, 1:30-3:30 PM
Special Presentation: Flint Whitlock, a Camp Hale Historian
20th Nimon-Walker Award
Since 2001, the Eagle Valley Library District, in cooperation with the Eagle County Historical Society, have recognized individuals, families, and organizations whose work has helped preserve the history of Eagle County. 2021 marks a special year as we celebrate the 20th Nimon-Walker Award! In celebration of that milestone, the Eagle Valley Library District and Eagle County Historical Society will recognize two honorees for their role in preserving local history: former Historical Society President, Rae Benton and Sylvan Lake State Park.
Honoring Rae Benton
The Benton family homesteaded in Burns (northwestern Eagle County) in the 1907, and ranched cattle for over 80 years. Rae Benton served on the Historical Society Board of Directors during the 1980s and was one of the visionaries who transformed a dilapidated horse barn into a viable historical museum. She and her late husband, John, also were instrumental in documenting the ranching history of the county and donated invaluable artifacts to the museum’s collection including an antique buggy and a collection of Ute arrowheads.
“It is a privilege to represent the people who made the museum happen,” said Benton.
Honoring Sylvan Lake State Park
Sylvan Lake State Park officially became a part of the Colorado State Parks system in July 1, 1987, having been purchased by the State of Colorado in 1962. Dubbed the “crown jewel” of the Colorado State Parks System, the Park offers year-round recreational activities. The Park was created from old homestead lands that had been owned by several early Eagle County settlers including the Fulford, Borah, Dice, and Coulter families. The remains of some of the old buildings built by these families are still visible in the Park today.
Sylvan Lake State Park staff have worked for more than a decade to preserve the Upper Brush Creek Schoolhouse. Built in 1915 by local ranchers, the structure served not only as a schoolhouse, but as a meeting place for the residents of the Brush Creek Valley. Thanks to the persistence of the State Park staff, funding from Great Outdoors Colorado, and the construction skills of HistoriCorp volunteers, the roof and front porch have been replaced, and the building has been stabilized. The only historic schoolhouse located in a Colorado State Park, the structure was added to the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties in 2014, and to the National Register of Historic Places in 2015. The Brush Creek Schoolhouse building stands as valuable testament to Eagle County’s past. Sylvan Lake staff have also installed interpretive signs throughout the park telling the history of the Brush Creek Valley.
With a Special Presentation by Camp Hale historian, Flint Whitlock
The son of a 10th Mountain Division veteran, Flint is an award-winning military historian and is the author of scores of magazine articles and 14 books, 10 of which deal with World War II. Four of his books have been finalists for the Colorado Book Awards sponsored by Colorado Humanities. He is also on the board of directors of the 10th Mountain Division Foundation and the Broomfield Veterans Museum. His book about the 10th Mountain Division, Soldiers On Skis, was used as the basis for the documentary, Fire on the Mountain. In September 2021, he was inducted into the Colorado Authors Hall of Fame.
Dr. John Votaw, former head of the First Infantry Division Museum at Cantigny in Wheaton, Illinois, once paid him the ultimate compliment: “Flint Whitlock has a gift for empathy.”
The Eagle Valley Library District and Eagle County Historical Society invite you to join us for this special event on Sunday, October 17th from 1:30 to 3:30 at the Eagle Public Library! The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. Please arrive early. Refreshments will be served.