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Valley Vintage

Local History Blog

  • Jun 10, 2010

    Mt. of the Holy Cross Scrapbook

    Scrapbooks fall into the class “visual biography,” so aptly categorized by Jessica Helfand in Scrapbooks, an American History p. ix.  Generally speaking, scrapbooks are collections of ephemera, things not meant to last forever:  movie ticket stubs, letters, pressed flowers, clippings, etc.  The one thing they have in common is that they mean something to the collector and thus give us information about the collector. It...    Read More »

  • May 20, 2010

    More Volcanoes

    Similar in age to the volcanic rock covering the Flat Tops, Castle Peak is a distinctive volcanic visual marker north of the town of Eagle.  At 11,275 feet, it is covered with snow during a large part of the year, making summer hiking preferable.  It is also summer range for elk and deer and home to a variety of wildlife.  Meadows and stands of fir, spruce and aspen provide habitat and great views over the dramatic landscape.    Read More »

  • May 04, 2010

    I'm Stumped

    Logging has been a part of Eagle County history since the first homesteader built a lean-to.  The need for housing is the most obvious reason for cutting trees but timbers were also used for reinforcing embankments at road shoulders during construction and for bracing mine stopes, beautifully described in William L. Jude's "Gilman Modification of Mitchell Slice Stoping" in Underground Mining Methods Handbook, 1982...    Read More »

  • Apr 13, 2010

    Revolutions per minute

     As you approach McCoy via State Bridge on Hwy 131 (just past the Copper Spur Rd.), look to the left.  On the Colorado River, you will see the answer to moving irrigation water onto hay and alfalfa fields 100 yards uphill from the river bottom—the Brooks Water Wheel.  The wheel is one of several such devices built at this spot.  In 1910, when the surrounding...    Read More »

  • Mar 30, 2010

    It's Not Dead, It's Just Resting (Sorry, Monty)

    The most recent lava flow in Colorado occurred in Eagle County.  This was approximately 4,000 years ago ( think Stonehenge) as determined by radiocarbon dating of a tree found in the ash in 1962.  Local historians weren’t available for documentation purposes, however, according to an article written by Allen Best in 1990 [Vail Trail Dec. 7, 1990], there would have been a native American local population to witness the event.     Read More »

  • Mar 15, 2010

    Moving Right Along

    How exciting that Colorado Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month-May 2010 celebrates “Pathways to Colorado’s Heritage,” the Colorado Department of Transportation’s 100th Anniversary.  “Efficient and reliable transportation has long been a critical element in the development of Colorado.  From Native American trails, to wagon roads and railroads, to a formalized network of highways and airports, our state’s transportation system has evolved quickly and dramatically.  The past 100 years in...    Read More »

  • Mar 03, 2010

    The Obituary: Our Friend

    There is nothing better than a good obituary for historical research.  While this may seem to make light of a sad occasion, the art of obituary writing focuses on life as much as it marks the occasion of death.  There is a Society of Professional Obituary Writers,, whose mission “…is dedicated to improving the quality of the writing and presentation of obituaries for newspapers, magazines, broadcast media and Internet sites.”  There...    Read More »

  • Feb 19, 2010

    Local Olympians

    As we enjoy the Winter Olympics, it’s good to note the “locals” competing.  With the fine ski areas found in Eagle County, it’s not surprising that local athletes are doing well. In 1960, the Winter Olympics were held at Squaw Valley.  Dick Mize, born in Gilman, Colorado, represented the United States on the Biathlon team.    Read More »

  • Feb 11, 2010

    Eagle County at the Brown Palace

    Just west of Wolcott, on the north side between mile markers 135 and 134 on I-70, there are beautiful red sandstone cliffs at Red Canyon.  Look up and you see a drum and platform assembly at the top of the cliff.  This was part of a horse-drawn pully system used to lower sandstone quarried from the top of the mountain to the bottom, where it was then transported by rail.  Rube Sherwood owned the land at the time the quarry...    Read More »

  • Feb 04, 2010

    Chink This!

    “Folk houses…are built by their occupants or by non-professional builders, and all are relatively simple houses meant to provide basic shelter…”  Many of the early permanent homes in Eagle County were “folk houses”… log cabins constructed of round timbers joined at the corners by overlapping saddle notches.   Log houses, by contrast, are of squared logs joined by hewn corner notching and came a little later as carpenters arrived and sawmills were built.   Log cabins require a great deal of...    Read More »


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