Gilman, Colorado

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Thankful, We Are

It’s the season to celebrate the harvest and give thanks for what comes to us.  Eagle County, largely agricultural until the past few decades, has always known how to throw a good dinner.  The Home Demonstration Club of Brush Creek put together the Eagle County Cook Book in the late 1930s with some fascinating recipes contributed by women with very familiar names in Eagle County.  As we enjoy our celebrations this week, let’s remember some of these women. 

Early Days on the Eagle

It is fortunate for me that Early Days on the Eagle, prepared and published by MacDonald Knight and Leonard Hammock, 1965, was written.  Based on extensive research done by MacDonald Knight as foundation for his master’s thesis, Early Days documents the history of Eagle County from before 1879 to the mid-20th century.  I have answered many reference questions using this resource and have been fortunate to learn a little about the man who did the research. Knight1

We Were Soldiers Once...and Young (thanks to Moore and Galloway)

May 18, 2013, was our most recent Armed Forces Day.  President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank all our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country. [Memorial Day (Decoration Day) had been designated a remembrance for those killed in defense of their country.] On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense. 2013ArmedForcesDayHiRes


So, it’s true.  I killed another computer at the end of January and have been left to my own devices here in local history, using a laptop.  Not a problem really, as the backlog of cataloging is always there and people continue to bring in wonderful items to share.  [Kathy Heicher, ECHS president, Angela Beck, Theodore Beck and Bob Riggle have all brought in treasures during the last three weeks.] This break in routine has also given me time to go through files, eliminate duplicate photocopies, dust, whatever.  Imagine my horror when I found an unlabeled envelope full of photographs from the first and second pilgrimages to the Mount of the Holy Cross in a folder labeled “Miscellaneous.”  What a useful label.  It was accompanied by the realization that all the photographs that accompanied Dr. Randall’s scrap book [see blog Mt. of the Holy Cross Scrapbook] had been separated from the scrapbook at some point in the past.  So much for the concept of keeping collection parts together [not evening mentioning fonds: a fonds is the aggregation of documents that originate from the same source]. This does give me an opportunity to share some magnificent photos from 1924 to 1933, some captioned by Dr. Randall, that have now been reunited with the accompanying scrapbook.  CCC Camp on O.W. Randall’s ranch.  Gilman is visible in the distance.  “Two companies of CCC boys were on the Holy Cross Project—parts of three years.” CCC Camp on O.W. Randall’s ranch. Gilman is visible in the distance. “Two companies of CCC boys were on the Holy Cross Project—parts of three years.”

Color Me

Photoengraving (revisit the blog “Art Is Where You Find It) and photolithography were welcomed by newspaper journalism and by the publishing industry at the turn of the 20th century and were widely available by World War I.  Both are photo-mechanical processes used very successfully for reproducing illustrations. How nice to find a good example of photoengraving recently when Pam Boyd shared a 1914 copy of Rocky Mountain Views on the Rio Grande, the “Scenic Line of the World;” consisting of twenty-four quadric-colored engraved views from recent photographs, compiled by Wm. H. Crane.  Made exclusively for the Inter-State Company, Denver, Colorado. Leadville and Mount Massive

Positively Negatives

In 2007, Byron Stanley, a photographer for the New Jersey Zinc Co., gave us a great collection of 1950s-era photos of the Gilman mine near Red Cliff in Eagle County. They were added to our online historical photo collection at  and will show up using Gilman, Belden, New Jersey Zinc, etc., as search terms. More recently, Byron gave us [via Bob and JoAnn Riggle] a series of negatives that were also of 1950s-era Gilman.   Many of the negatives were oversized [6” x 4”] and, with our Epson 10000 XL scanner, I was able to pull beautifully detailed scans, some of which images we had not seen previously.  They will be uploaded to our historical photo collection soon, but here’s a preview. Let’s begin with this photo, a beautiful shot of Gilman and Windy Point with Notch Mountain at the far left.  The Eagle River Canyon is in the middle.

Caption Challenge

As previously noted, logging  in the 1930s and 1940s in eastern Eagle County was done in rough terrain at a high altitude.  Horses and skids were used to move trimmed logs to the point where tractors could take over. The logs then went to the mills for trimming.  Moving trimmed timbers to the railroad for transport  in steep areas was difficult.  At Peterson Gulch, this was accomplished by a surface tram.  Rails (about .25 the size of railroad rails) carried two cars using cables  on which timbers could be guided from the top to the bottom of the gulch.  The remains of the Peterson Creek gulch tram are visible in the Beck Family photo above as a line cleared of timber running from the top of the photo to midfield.  The shot was taken from the Champion Mine at Bell’s Camp, across the Eagle River.  Some remnants of mine structures are present in the foreground and left side.  Due to the camera angle, the terminus of the tram and the railroad pickup point are hidden from view.  It does document the terrain in the Eagle River Canyon which can certainly be described as “rough.”  To our knowledge, this was the only Peterson Creek tram photo in the Eagle County Historical Society’s collection.

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.