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Valley Vintage

Local History Blog

  • Apr 11, 2011

    100 Years of Gypsum

    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...    Read More »

  • Mar 16, 2011

    Changes at Pando

    The narrow, crescent-shaped valley where Camp Hale was to be built had a train stop at the northern end, Pando, and meadows and woods at the south-eastern end called Eagle Park.  In 1898, Col. Lew Frances of Pando cut and shipped timber from his ranch through Leadville.  By 1922, Herman Stein had incorporated the Pando Sheep and Land Company, using Eagle Park as high grazing land.  The Isabell Ranch in Eagle Park was famous for its lettuce and spinach grown by Denny Isabell and after him, the...    Read More »

  • Feb 16, 2011

    February 18-25, 1945

    January 1945, sixty-six years ago now, marked the beginning of the 10th Mountain Division’s campaign to secure Riva Ridge and the Belvedere massif, controlled by the German  Panzer Corps and the Mountain Corps.  In order to get to the Apennines, the 10th moved through Italy at night.  Rain and wet snow turned hazardous roads to mud.  Regular small-arms fire from German patrols provided tension.   All three regiments, 85th, 86th, 87th, set up between the Serchio River and the base of Mt....    Read More »

  • Feb 04, 2011

    The Red Book

    In every local history collection, there is a gem unique to that collection, which epitomizes interest in the area.  For Eagle County, we have A History of Eagle County.  It was a compilation written by school children and their teachers in the early 1940s, in scrapbook form.   Each local community was given a section making eighteen sections total, covering Red Cliff to Basalt.  Photographs and maps were included...    Read More »

  • Jan 18, 2011

    Bozhe moi! [My God!]

    We've all heard stories about records being lost in town hall fires and floods,  monastery libraries ravaged by infidels (even infidel co-religionists), and folk just throwing out piles of photographs and papers when a loved one dies without sorting for importance. The documentation for historical purposes is critical in that local history becomes local myth and legend without a little backup.    Read More »

  • Dec 30, 2010

    Happy 2011!

    One hundred years ago, the Eagle Valley Enterprise  noted in an editorial [“Growth and Prosperity,” Dec. 30, 1910] that agriculture was finally coming into its own through a combination of water (irrigation) and science.  The pioneers who came west to “wrest a fortune from the mountains by mining” ended up finding greener (easier?) gold in the fields and pastures of Eagle County.  “Development of Eagle County’s agricultural possibilities to the vast extent of the present has been a...    Read More »

  • Dec 08, 2010

    Pando (not a typo)

    On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed and the United States finally committed to World War II.   The 1st Battalion (Reinforced) 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, activated on November 15, 1941, at Fort Lewis, Washington, needed a place large enough to train for division-sized maneuvers and where they could fire live ammunition.   The place the Army found was Pando, a settlement located at the northern end of the Pando Valley, on the main line of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and U.S...    Read More »

  • Nov 08, 2010

    Over there

    Veterans Day, a federal holiday in the United States, honors all military veterans.  It is celebrated on November 11th, commemorating the most significant armistice of World War I, which was signed at 5AM November 11, 1918, and came into effect six hours later—“the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”  President Woodrow Wilson made November 11, 1919, the first celebration of Armistice Day.     Read More »

  • Nov 02, 2010

    Water, Water Everywhere

    Water and the infrastructure necessary for ensuring community health has been a problem for Red Cliff for at least twenty-five years.  The town lived under a  boil order for fourteen months, one of the longest issued by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment,  as a protection against Giardia.  That ended in May 2002 when a partially grant-funded micro-filtration water plant came on line.  It replaced the old system which was overwhelmed with sediment during spring runoff.  (Photo...    Read More »

  • Oct 07, 2010

    Odd Lots

     Visual literacy is the process of examining a photograph for detail and then making inferences base on those details.  Does the photograph raise any questions?  My primary question is usually “Who is holding the camera?”  That question, if answered, may provide a great deal of context.  Another question might be “Is a particular event being photographed?”  Wedding photographs are usually very obvious.  “Who is in the photograph?” may present the most frustration if the photo isn’t labeled. ...    Read More »


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