|(Information was gleaned from copies of the Wet Mountain Tribune, all from the second week in July.)
100 Years Ago – 1917
The directors of the DeWeese-Dye Ditch and Reservoir Co. have decided to enlarge their impounding reservoir on Grape Creek in the Wet Mountain Valley by increasing the height of the dam four feet. A force of 25 men will begin work on the project the first of next week under the supervision of G.M. Rice. The cost will approximate $5,000.
Manager J.B. Putnam was down from the Princess Annie mine this week. He reports the ore showing as better than ever and has increased the force by putting on the third shift.
Silver: 77 7/8 cents.
Mrs. John Lange of the Valley sustained a slight injury when she was in town on Saturday, the result of their driving horse getting frightened at an automobile when it upset the buggy and precipitated Mrs. Lange out upon the ground. Mrs. Lange was driving the horse but jumped out, thinking she could better control it from the ground. It was fortunate the accident proved no more serious.
John Schweigert, deputy state attorney general, accompanied by his better half, arrived from Denver the first of the week on a visit to friends. After John and Grover Falkenberg whip the streams for a few days the rest of us might as well fold up our fishing rods for this season.
“The Five Faults of Flo,” a five-reel masterpiece, will be shown at the Ray-Cusack Hall next Sunday evening, the 15th.
Pastor Sara E. Doebler of Hillside has announced that Rev. Sperry will be at the Hillside schoolhouse next Sunday and will baptize several children. Her hope is to see a large company present.
For sale: A team of good work horses. Apply to Wm. C. Wolff, Canda Ranch.
50 Years Ago – 1967
Miss Jackie Hanssen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hanssen, will reign as queen over this weekend’s Westcliffe Stampede festivities. Her attendants are Miss Claricy Schulze and Miss Clarice Geroux, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Les Schulze and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Geroux. This weekend, July 15 and 16, marks the 21st annual Stampede. The first was held in 1946 and was organized by the Top Rail Club which evolved into the Wet Mountain Valley Saddle Club. There will be two parades, Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon, and the rodeo gets underway each afternoon. The big western dance will be held Saturday night.
Judges have been named for the Custer County Fair to be held August 12-13 at the fair and rodeo grounds. Bill Culbertson of Colorado State University will judge the horse division, and Lee Barden, extension agent from Fairplay will judge the dairy, beef, sheep and swine classes.
Funeral services were held Monday at Hope Lutheran Church for Mrs. Mary A. Loens, a county resident for 80 years. She was born in Germany on June 10, 1879 to John and Mary (Zenter) Reis, and she came to Westcliffe with her parents at the age of eight. Mrs. Loens was considered quite an authority on early history of Custer County and could vividly recall her early day experiences here.
25 Years Ago – 1992
Last Wednesday, July 8, the Colorado Wilderness Bill was approved by the U.S. House Interior Committee. The bill’s leading sponsor, third district representative Ben Nighthorse Campbell, D-Colorado, said the bill would protect a total of 754,000 acres, moving 671,000 acres into the wilderness category, the strictest protection possible. Included in the bill are about 250,000 acres set aside for the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area and 22,000 acres for the Greenhorn Mountain Wilderness Area. The bill goes next to the Agriculture Committee, where it is expected to win quick approval, and then to the floor of the House.
SilverWest Airport, located ten miles south of Westcliffe, is one of 29 airports across Colorado to benefit from the state Aeronautical Board’s first-ever series of discretionary grants. Revenue is generated from excise taxes on aviation fuel. SilverWest will use $35,000 in state funds to develop an airport layout plan and improve the terminal area and utilities.
The Westcliffe town trustees on Tuesday okayed a plan to close south Second Street for the Sept. 19 Oktoberfest celebration sponsored by the Valley Merchants and Community Association.
10 Years Ago – 2007
A 67-year-old retired doctor from Milledgeville, Ga., was found dead last weekend from injuries sustained in an apparent fall above Cottonwood Lake in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Saguache County. The man was reported missing last Friday and his remains were found early Saturday morning. The experienced climber was hiking alone at the time of his death.
James Johnson, past commander of American Legion Post 170 in Westcliffe and current commander of the Legion’s District Eight, has been named the Colorado Legionnaire of the Year. He received the award during the recent state convention in Longmont. Among those attending the convention from here were Larry and Joy Lowe, Carol Kennedy, Ivan Brooks, Jerry Lacy, Anna Orgeron, Bob Dreher, Chris Ueberroth and Charles Bogle.
Fine dining is coming back to the Sangre de Cristo forest as the Alpine Lodge sets to reopen next week. The new owner is Richard Kastendieck, whose family roots here go back generations. Kastendieck purchased the lodge from long-time owner David Leugers who moved to the Texas hill country after closing the popular restaurant and cabins last fall
5 Years Ago – 2012
Fire restrictions in Custer County and on public lands here have been downgraded from stage two to stage one. Though fire dangers remain high, recent rains in the Wet Mountain Valley have eased concerns.
Heavy rains on Sunday afternoon caused flash flooding and road closures on Highway 69 south of town and in the Antelope Valley and Cuerno Verde subdivisions. Officials with the Colorado Department of Transportation said Highway 69 was closed near mile marker 50 from about 7:30 p.m. Sunday until late Monday afternoon. Both lanes of the highway were closed, and the Antelope Creek Bridge, which was in the process of being replaced, sustained heavy damage.
The Alpine Lodge southwest of Westcliffe is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The lodge, now owned by Richard Kastendieck, first opened for business during the 1922 tourist season
1 Year Ago – 2016
Authorities say a lightning strike started the Hayden Pass Fire southwest of Coaldale in Fremont County last Friday evening, July 8. The fire has burned more than 12,000 acres and is now heading east toward Cotopaxi. On Tuesday, the Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp near Hillside was evacuated. Some 300 federal and regional firefighters, including a crew from the Wet Mountain Fire Protection District, are battling the blaze.
The annual Custer County Fair and Westcliffe Stampede will be in full swing this weekend. Reigning over the rodeo are Stampede Queen Brittanee Bohannon and her attendants, Skyler Smith and Aerial Grace Smith.
New Custer County High School principal Jack Christensen and his family are now settling in here in the Valley after moving here from Denver. “I’m excited to be here,” said Christensen, who added that he’s looking forward to raising his three young children here.