Gypsum, Colorado

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On May 12, 1939, the Eagle Valley Enterprise published an article thanking local firms that helped build Eagle County.  After ten years of Depression economics, businesses were hard-pressed to stay open. 

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. 

Mile Marker 141, I-70

Eagle County possesses beautiful horizons seen in every direction.  The mountains and valleys provide a strong sense of place, that character that can be felt by locals and visitors alike, contradicting Gertrude Stein’s, “there is no there there.” Being interested in local history, I find that it is frequently the horizon and geography that can identify an otherwise uncaptioned photo.  The photo below could be any town but the placement of Castle Peak in the background is an obvious clue that the town is Eagle and the street is Broadway, the main street in old town Eagle.  Looking north on Broadway, one finds Castle Peak as the dominant feature on the horizon. 2011.014.055

Duck, Duck, Merganser

The I-70 commute from Dotsero to Gypsum to Eagle gives us a good view of the Eagle River before it joins the Colorado River at Dotsero.  The river meanders through this area, producing a riparian zone [where the land and river interface] that is fascinating for its plants and wildlife.  Just east of the Gypsum exit is the Gypsum Ponds State Wildlife Area.  So, get off the Interstate and explore. Since it’s after June 15, you may even bring your leashed dog along. Take the Gypsum exit [140] and circle the roundabout (you may make several laps if you enjoy roundabouts) and take Trail Gulch Road headed east.  Veer left, staying on the dirt road to enter Gypsum Ponds.  You will be traveling parallel to I-70. IMG_1682

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

H2Know Colorado

Each year, the Eagle Valley Library District and the Walking Mountain Science Center present the High Country Speaker Series.  H2Know Colorado, this year’s winter series, focuses on water, something we’re all interested in, especially given the current drought conditions. As part of the EVLD focus, there is an exhibit of six topographic maps of the Eagle River printed in 1954 by the U.S. Geological Survey.  With accompanying historical photographs from our collection, the exhibit begins at the western end of the Eagle River and goes upstream to the headwaters in six beautifully drawn contour sheets. The seventh sheet is a profile sheet showing the various elevations of the river as it drains Eagle County. Eagle River, looking east, with the town of Eagle in the background, circa 1930. Eagle River, looking east, with the town of Eagle in the background, circa 1930.

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 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.


Where are We?

An incredible source of information in any local history collection is annotated maps.  A dated map showing the locations of businesses, ranches, ditches, or other details subject to change with ownership can document community development.  Sketch maps fall into this category as they often provide details never found on commercially prepared maps.