A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Visiting my Father's Friends and Relatives

Rocky Mountain NP, Denver, Mt. Evans and Colorado Springs

After we left Uncle Leonard's, I am not absolutely sure of the sequence of events.

We went to Rocky Mountain National Park
Chipmunk lured out with a PBandJ

Chipmunk lured out with a PBandJ


and I remember seeing the Rocky Mountain Sheep, but I don't have any photos of them.
Me up on the rocks in Rocky Mountain National Park

Me up on the rocks in Rocky Mountain National Park


Iceberg Lake

Iceberg Lake


I think after that we spent the night at Professor Wallin's cabin. The story behind the Professor's cabin is as follows:

My father went to interview at the University of Colorado Medical School for a job as a teaching assistant. The questions that the professor asked were -Can you clear land? and Can you notch logs? Evidently my father's answers were satisfactory because he was hired. He spent the summer during the week learning how to dissect a human cadaver, and the weekends building a cabin for the professor.
Prof Wallin

Prof Wallin


My dad and my mother spent part of their honeymoon there, and 16 years later, we all spend the night there too.
Wallin's cabin

Wallin's cabin


We went fishing and we brought home trout which we fried up for breakfast. Our father taught us to eat them tails and fins and all.

We went to Denver
Prismatic Electric Fountain in Ferril Lake - Denver, CO City Park

Prismatic Electric Fountain in Ferril Lake - Denver, CO City Park


and my dad took photos of a fountain where the colors were synced to music,
F0555-000002160020-083.JPGF0555-000002160020-084.JPG
and we visited my little first cousin Margaret - the daughter of my father's younger sister Mary.
Margaret

Margaret


My father's sister died in 1944 and her husband had remarried.
Margaret, her father, stepmother and half sister

Margaret, her father, stepmother and half sister


We went up Mt Evans where the University of Denver Cosmic Ray Lab is.
Mount Evans

Mount Evans


My dad had an experiment up there last year, to see whether cosmic rays (from the sun) had any effect on cancer. Some of the mice were up here and some were down in a coal mine in Pennsylvania

Then we went to my father's younger brother Harry. Harry managed the State Game Farm in Colorado Springs. My grandmother was there
Granny, Daddy, Mother, me, my sister Aunt Alice and our cousins

Granny, Daddy, Mother, me, my sister Aunt Alice and our cousins


along with our Aunt Alice and my three cousins.
Aunt Alice and Uncle Harry and our cousins

Aunt Alice and Uncle Harry and our cousins

F0555-000002160020-093.JPGColorado cousins

Colorado cousins

The oldest of Uncle Harry's daughters

The oldest of Uncle Harry's daughters

Uncle Harry with his youngest daughter

Uncle Harry with his youngest daughter


The four of us cousins had a really good time there - our youngest cousin Beth was still in diapers. Uncle Harry raised game birds - pheasants and quail. Every morning we would gather the eggs which were put in an incubator to hatch.
Eggs hatching

Eggs hatching

F0555-000002160020-116.JPGBird just hatched

Bird just hatched


Some of the eggs Aunt Alice would fix for breakfast.
Eagle and its prey - Harry shot it

Eagle and its prey - Harry shot it

Harry holding eagle

Harry holding eagle


Uncle Harry had to keep predators away from his flock - some of the pens were covered with wire and some were not.
My sister and me holding the eagle

My sister and me holding the eagle


We played on the grain sacks in the barn until we were stopped because it was disintegrating the feed in the sacks.

My sister and I wore dresses most of the time. Usually made by my mother. She would make one for my sister and one for me, and then when my sister grew into my dress, she made another one for me in a bigger size. After I grew out of the dresses, she sent them out to the Colorado cousins - the oldest of them was my sister's age.
Five first cousins - me, my sister and the three Colorado cousins

Five first cousins - me, my sister and the three Colorado cousins

My sister and the Colorado cousins

My sister and the Colorado cousins


Uncle Harry's was a chance for our mother to wash our clothing - I was "helping" with the wash - the washing machine had a wringer, and I was feeding the wringer and got careless and fed my whole arm through. Fortunately it was set for blankets and I did not suffer any injury.

Another of my mother's first cousins (she had 12 of them) was married in the spring. She asked my sister to be a flower girl and this is the dress my mother made for her to be a flower girl in.
My sister in her flower girl dress

My sister in her flower girl dress


Hunters would come across fauns which had been hidden in the woods, and thinking that they were abandoned, they would bring them in to the game farm.
F0555-000002160020-104.JPGFawns at Bird Farm

Fawns at Bird Farm


One of our jobs was feeding them.
F0555-000002160020-102.JPGMy sister and cousin feeing fauns

My sister and cousin feeing fauns


The State Game farm had a really good view of the Garden Of The Gods across the valley.
Front Range of the Rockies

Front Range of the Rockies


Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak


We went and saw Balanced Rock with our cousins.
Balanced Rock - Garden of the Gods

Balanced Rock - Garden of the Gods


Indian at the Garden of the Gods

Indian at the Garden of the Gods

Indian family - posing for tourist photos for tips.  In the movie my father took of them one of the Indians is reaching for a tip from another tourist

Indian family - posing for tourist photos for tips. In the movie my father took of them one of the Indians is reaching for a tip from another tourist

large_eedca9e0-e302-11ea-be96-635bb0435571.jpgGarden of the Gods Trading Post

Garden of the Gods Trading Post


Our grandmother died on July 16th just before her 70th birthday. My mother and father took us and our two older cousins camping to allow Uncle Harry and Aunt Alice to make the funeral arrangements. We camped as before, on a ground cloth, up on a bluff above a stream. My mother wanted to know why we didn't camp next to the stream so it would be easier to get water. But my father wouldn't do it.

The next morning, the water was up much closer to us - there had been a cloudburst upstream which had filled the dry arroyo.

We went to the funeral service in Canon City.
Walking stick cactus near Canyon City

Walking stick cactus near Canyon City


The obituary in the paper said:

Granny

Granny

"Many Honor Mrs. Maria B. Figge

Wedding portrait 1899

Wedding portrait 1899


Westcliffe July 1948

"Many friends from both Fremont and Custer Counties gathered at St. Paul Lutheran church [Canon City] Tuesday to pay respectful tribute to Mrs. Maria B. Figge, well-known resident of both counties.

"Services were held at the church at 10 a.m. with Rev. J. Bundschuh officiating. An abundance of lovely floral tributes were massed around the casket and in the front of the church.

"Mrs. John Ehmke sang " My Faith Looks Up To Thee" and Beautiful Savior" with Mrs. Margaret Bundschuh playing the piano accompaniment

"Casket bearers were Alvin Stroehlke, Herman Hansen, Harry Schulze, Otto Schulze, F. C. Kiesler and Oscar Heerwagen.

"After the services, Mrs. Figge's remains were taken by Holt mortuary to the cemetery in Silver Cliff for interment."

Grave (Bertha was a nickname)

Grave (Bertha was a nickname)


She died July 16, 1948 and was buried July 20, 1948.
Her youngest son Harry purchased a painting of the Good Shepherd for Canon City's St. Paul Church.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 12:11 Archived in USA Tagged colorado chicks denver cousins funeral grandmother mt_evans fawns Comments (6)

The Birthplace of My Father - Visiting Silver Cliff

Silver Cliff, Westcliffe, Geyser Hill, Hermit Lake and Willard Walker's place

My father was born December 1904 in a ghost silver mining town called Silver Cliff. Silver Cliff is in the Wet Mountain Valley between the Wet Mountains on the east and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (part of the Rockies) on the west.
Wet Mountain Valley looking toward the Sangre de Cristos

Wet Mountain Valley looking toward the Sangre de Cristos


The town was originally built in the 1870s in order to accommodate the mine workers during the silver boom. Silver Cliff was incorporated in 1879 and by 1880 had around 5,000 residents. At that time it was Colorado’s third largest city, behind Denver and Leadville. The railroad was built to the Wet Mountain Valley but it deliberately didn't go to Silver Cliff. The depot was a mile west of Silver Cliff in Westcliffe. Westcliffe was incorporated in 1887. Government purchases of silver were nearly doubled by the 1890 Sherman Silver Purchase Act. The repeal of the act in 1893 resulted in a collapse of silver prices, bringing about an end to the boom and many mining camps like Silver Cliff became ghost towns.

Our father was the middle child. He had an older brother and older sister, a younger brother (Harry) and a much younger sister.
Photo taken about 1911 - In the back my dad's older brother Ernest. The baby on the stool is Harry.  In the middle his older sister Margaret and on the right my Dad.  His younger sister Mary hadn't been born yet.

Photo taken about 1911 - In the back my dad's older brother Ernest. The baby on the stool is Harry. In the middle his older sister Margaret and on the right my Dad. His younger sister Mary hadn't been born yet.


He went to a one room schoolhouse and helped in his father's general store,
General store

General store


but otherwise, he was a free-range child who hung out with the friends of his older brother. He would tell us stories about his boyhood.
Figge store display with Harry and Margaret

Figge store display with Harry and Margaret


I don't know if we did the trip back to Silver Cliff before or after the funeral of his mother.

To get to Silver Cliff my parents always talked about going over the Hardscrabble. I never knew what that meant - even though I looked up the word Hardscrabble, I never realized (until now) that the Hardscrabble referred to is a mountain pass through the Wet Mountains.

We drove into town and stopped to take pictures.
My father with his movie camera and my sister

My father with his movie camera and my sister

Wet Mountain Valley

Wet Mountain Valley


My father wanted to take movies panning along the mountains. In order that he get the panning speed right, we were to run along parallel to the mountains.
32a36350-e3f6-11ea-aa30-dd4340f88aec.JPGMy sister pointing at the Sangre de Cristo

My sister pointing at the Sangre de Cristo


When we were staying in the valley, we did not camp - we stayed in a tourist cabin. The cabin didn't have indoor plumbing so to use the bathroom, we had to go across the street to the gas station.
My sister, me and my mother in the Main Street and the gas station where we used the bathroom

My sister, me and my mother in the Main Street and the gas station where we used the bathroom

Town street

Town street


We visited the house that had been my grandparent's house.
2dc5d020-e3f6-11ea-aa30-dd4340f88aec.JPGGrandparents old house

Grandparents old house


It is a small house - one bedroom, the front parlor and the kitchen.

On the kitchen door frame were notched the heights of the children and the year. My father said that the boys slept over the store.
Flowers on prairie near Figge's

Flowers on prairie near Figge's


My dad took photos of a couple and their daughter - at one time I knew their names, but I can't remember now who they were.
2baba2b0-e3f6-11ea-aa30-dd4340f88aec.JPGOld couple and their daughter

Old couple and their daughter


We also went to Westcliffe
Westcliffe

Westcliffe


and visited the church where my father's family attended.
Lutheran Church in Westcliffe

Lutheran Church in Westcliffe

Lady doing flowers for the church

Lady doing flowers for the church

Westcliffe Lutheran Church window

Westcliffe Lutheran Church window

Westcliffe Lutheran Church window

Westcliffe Lutheran Church window


He was baptised there
My father's baptismal certificate

My father's baptismal certificate

Close-up

Close-up


and so was I thirty two years later.
Miss Kettle's house in Westcliffe

Miss Kettle's house in Westcliffe


Miss Kettle (one of my father's school teachers) had a house in Westcliffe.

We went up Round Mountain, a small mountain in the valley, and looked for garnets. (I don't think we found any).
large_3351cbc0-e3f6-11ea-9fdf-b9b9075a23f5.JPGFrom Round Mt. 1948 - Silver Cliff closest to us and the upstart Westcliffe farther away

From Round Mt. 1948 - Silver Cliff closest to us and the upstart Westcliffe farther away


We also went up Geyser Hill to take photos of the surrounding area.
From  Geyser Hill - 1948

From Geyser Hill - 1948

76e07430-e3f7-11ea-aa30-dd4340f88aec.JPGFrom  Geyser Hill

From Geyser Hill


One day we drove out to Willard Walker's ranch.
En route to Walkers

En route to Walkers


Willard had milking goats.
Mother and me with the goats at the Walkers

Mother and me with the goats at the Walkers


Willard was the son of one of the Evans twins - the other twin was married to my grandfather's brother. Willard had three daughters - the youngest one (Wildra) was my age. I am not sure what our relationship was but we became friends and were pen pals for awhile. Wildra still lives out there. While we were there, we took a trail ride.
Me on the trail ride

Me on the trail ride

Beaver swimming in Willard Walker's pond

Beaver swimming in Willard Walker's pond

Trees damaged by beavers

Trees damaged by beavers


Another day we drove up to Hermit Lake.
En route to Hermit Lake

En route to Hermit Lake


Old shack on way to Hermit Lake (our car parked beside it)

Old shack on way to Hermit Lake (our car parked beside it)


On the hike up there, I caught
Me with the garter snake I caught

Me with the garter snake I caught


a garter snake - I found that the snake can discharge a malodorous, musky-scented secretion from a gland near the cloaca.
Hermit Lake

Hermit Lake


My father took some photos across the valley - there was a hailstorm.
Hail storm over Wet Mountains from Sangre de Cristo

Hail storm over Wet Mountains from Sangre de Cristo

From Hermit Lake trail - family on right

From Hermit Lake trail - family on right

Rainbow

Rainbow


When my grandmother's parents came to this country they bought property and established a ranch. After my grandmother married, and built their house, they moved in with her. We drove out to the ranch
On the way to the old Schwab ranch

On the way to the old Schwab ranch


Schwab Ranch house - our car with mother and my sister

Schwab Ranch house - our car with mother and my sister

Ranch House

Ranch House


Then we packed everything in the car and went back to the State Game Farm.
Daddy at the Tourist Cabins packing the car

Daddy at the Tourist Cabins packing the car

Posted by greatgrandmaR 18:50 Archived in USA Tagged mountains colorado lake snake silver goats childhood Comments (7)

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