Interviewer Bob Holt
July 16, 2004
This is Bob Hult and today is July 16, 2004 and I am in the home of Winifred Day at 36 River Road in Bailey, CO and we’re going to be interviewing Winifred to gather and record her experiences here in Park County from the 1940s on.
I would like first off for you to start when your birth date was?
1924, okay. You mentioned that you came here to Park County somewhere in the mid-1940s.
To Park County in Colorado we came in ’51.
But you actually came into Colorado…
Oh yeah, mid-40s, after my husband had completed his missions in World War II, we were married and then he had to complete his time with the Air Force and so it must have been well, … I don’t know. ’46 or something like that. My father had purchased some property in Colorado Springs to start with and so offered us a job to come and help him with that and so we did, took the opportunity and moved out there and oh! Colorado Springs have even changed since we did that!
Oh, for sure.
Then he purchased a tourist court motel and out in Derby, which was part of what is now considered Commerce City.
Now you actually came in from Hebron, Nebraska to Colorado Springs and then this Derby.
And Derby you mentioned, you think was in the Commerce City area?
It doesn’t even exist anymore.
No no, it’s gone, too. My folks at that time had a small café. They had a café, a pretty good-sized one, in Hebron and so when they had a chance to get this at Hudson, and my husband purchased a filling station right next door at Hudson and – boy! That was an experience! He bought this filling station and they started shortly after, they started a gas war in Denver.
So boy, that – – we had to get rid of that.
Do you remember what they were selling gasoline for at that time?
Oh no, I have no idea. I can’t remember that part but it was different. I think it was in the – – oh, it must have been in the teens or like… 17 cents, does that make sense, 17 cents a gallon or something like that?
Well anyway, then my folks had a home at there in Derby and they were experimenting with radiant heat. You know, where they put the pipes in the floor.
…at that time. Well, when they sold everything in Hudson why, they – for a short time – were in just living in this new home and all, but my dad couldn’t be without something to do. He just couldn’t. So he had become friends with a realtor and he said, “Where could I find something. I don’t want to live in Denver or the big city, but what could we find somewhere maybe in the mountains for some place to live and a business to buy where I could have something to do.”
This is your father that’s saying this.
This is my father.
So they looked around and they looked at several little places on the way up here to Bailey, but they decided on a café that is no longer in existence either.
And it was the Ranger Café; sat over here where the Conoco station is now.
Oh, okay, so it was right here in Bailey then.
And the house that I live in now came – – well, you could rent it. You could lease it and rent it if the man had had the Ranger Café and he reserved this house to live in if you owned the Ranger Café.
Did the same person own the Ranger Café? Who owned the house at that time?
It’s a man named Hanson and he moved to Wyoming.
But so we came up here and moved in and all of us…
Now this was your father and your mother and your husband?
My father and my mother and an adopted baby brother – – well, he wasn’t a baby, and my husband and I and we had – -well, the second girl, the older girl, was about three and a half and the other girl, she walked the day we moved in the house here. So she was just a year old.
What year was that would you think that you moved here?
1951, okay. So you bought the café and moved into this house.
Into this house and he had made it – – we had to come up and take a look at it and everything because he said we can’t run it by ourselves. It was one of those 24/7 deals? And we thought that, “Gee, this will be great.” Dean could fish in the river in the front and then we had a mountain in the back yard.
Dean’s your husband.
And we could just you know…
The good life.
Yeah! Even though we expected to work pretty hard. We took over on the café on the 24th of September. We moved up here see, the – – well, we came up here the 24th of September, 1951 and they closed the deal and on the café and my mother started scrubbing and my husband had to go in and get new tubs and a new stove and everything! The sinks even leaked! And they had put sand and to keep that sand in, some grease in the sand in the bottom of the tubs and so well, we opened though right shortly because it was hunting season about that time.
Well, when we opened, we didn’t close the door for a year and eight months.
My folks ran it through the daytime and I was here with the kids and my husband and I then went to work from 5 in the afternoon til 5 the next morning and my mom took care of the kids and of course, we had to have some help, we had a girl baby-sitter and some things like that that had be adjusted. We had a cook, but my mother taught that cook how to cook, too.
Did your parents live in this house too?
We all did to start with,
And that’s why we all of a sudden decided that we needed to add on, so we’ve got two bedrooms and a walk-in closet and a laundry room that we added on. Well, then I got pregnant! Somewhere in that line there.
This was with your fist child?
No, this was with the boy, the third one.
Ah, this was the third one. At that point, when you moved in here, you had two children then.
I had two girls.
The boy that my folks adopted was in – – well, let see – he was two years older than my oldest girl so he was like our son, not theirs you know. I mean when we went someplace why, we were all together. We finally started closing one day and of course it meant a trip a town for supplies and what we couldn’t get around here and things like that. We lived here for quite awhile, adding on and then my folks had a chance to buy the home that’s up just on the corner of around where you go to the County offices.
Just the one up on the hill. They had a chance to buy that one and so they moved there, did some remodeling on it and all and that made it a little easier for us and we were closed often enough then that my husband could – – but for about seven years, he didn’t get a chance to fish.
And you lived on a creek!
Right on the South Platte, right here.
Yeah! North fork of the South Platte runs right by in our front yard practically.
And well, it finally – – the business was too much. My mother had rheumatoid arthritis and once she got to work and got in that kitchen, then she was able to function but, it was hard on her. So we decided to sell it and then we had a little more free time, but we used to picnic once and awhile; take our stuff and go to a picnic down Buffalo Creek, on the creek.
At Buffalo where they won’t let you go anymore. They made a different road some time ago. It had a – – right on the other side of the creek from the little road that went by, had a rock, a big rock that the kids could climb and then it was kind of hollowed out underneath and that was where we’d have our fireplace.
Sure, right on the creek.
And the kids would get in their underwear play in the creek and build a little dam or a little water-wheel and stuff like that – had more fun! And we would just spend the afternoon and eat at some point in the evening and we’d come home. My husband and I got motor scooters; we used to take – – we’ve got movies of taking the kids on the back of the motor scooters around different places.
This would be in the late ‘50s or early ‘60s?
Probably the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. As the kids were growing, you have to have something for them to do, but we never – – I never heard, “I’m bored,” like you hear now.
When they got a little older, why there was some man that fixed up the truck, a flatbed with hay and they went on hayrack rides and they’d sing and they’d stop up in the mountains somewhere where they could have a picnic and have hot dogs and marshmallows and somebody would have a big chocolate cake baked and that kind of thing and we had – -well, at one time, you could – – for awhile, they didn’t have the tunnel running.
They didn’t have it finished. That was – – they were working on it and they finally got it working fulltime, around the clock and we fed a lot of those boys that worked up there, you know.
Oh yeah, because this would be the closest town to it, a decent-size town.
And my dad, when we had the café, my dad finally had decided we didn’t have any bank; we didn’t have a bank in Conifer. You had to go to Denver, the outskirts there and talking about that, we were tickled to death when Lakewood Shopping Center went in. Finally we didn’t have to go into downtown Denver.
That became the closest then?
Lakewood and then eventually they put in Westland Shopping Center and then of course the big one at Villa I’talia, but that was much later.
Did Bailey ever have a bank do you know?
Yeah, yeah they did. Half-way up Crow Hill…
That building that’s brick that there’s a now – – I think there’s a 5th wheel trailer sitting by the side of it? And for awhile it was the school …
Oh, I know exactly where it is. It was the school administration building.
That was a bank?
That was a bank at one time and right up here in the corner it first started, I think out of Fairplay, when Fairplay got a bank, we finally had a bank at least here.
But part of the time you couldn’t get through like winter and you had such a rough time.
Because of the Pass or getting through South Park?
Getting through the South Park, those blizzards and so forth. The roads weren’t nearly as good. I think we had an island when we first came but it was something new over here and no… because when we first moved up here, we had this scenic drive down instead of Crow Hill.
Oh yes. It cut – – I don’t know when that was made but…
No, I don’t either, but that wasn’t made when we first came.
What was Bailey like when you first came to the city.? What was here? You were here in 1951.
In 1951, there was the Ranger Café sat there.
Right where the Conoco is now.
Yeah, pretty much and then the Bailey Hotel they called it – Hotel and Bar, sat right next to it.
Now is that the – – let’s see, that was – – it used to be a restaurant and now it’s being refurb’d again as a restaurant; it’s a two-story building?
Was that actually a hotel on the upper floor then?
Well yeah, and they had a few rooms up there but they never operated it as a hotel really when we were here. They had a gunfight there one night I guess, you could see the bullet holes and everything but that was before …
Before you got here?
Before we got here, yeah.
Alright, so what else?
Let’s see – the Ranger, the Bailey on this one strip.
It was called the Bailey hotel?
Bailey Hotel and Bar.
Hotel and Bar, okay. Then there’s the Knotty Pine.
Well, that little wooden place, the Conoco (?book? was there.
And then it was the Conoco station, garage and eventually they had a liquor store and eventually they built their home there, but that was where my son worked at that Conoco, where the (inaudible) the two-story building is now.
Okay, so that was originally a service station?
Yeah and then you have the top and the garage; the garage first just the other side of the canal that goes through there was the garage and then the service station and then the pumps and the eventually, they had their home right next and small liquor store in there.
What was the canal from? Was it just a drainage canal?
It was drainage…
From Main Street from … okay.
And once it flooded. All the debris from all down there flooded the back street, what they call Main Street.
But anyway, then the Knotty Pine…
The Knotty Pine was here at that time and it was a little restaurant and fishing license – it was a bar.
It was mainly a bar. You couldn’t even really call it a restaurant. It was and it was built for this guy whose wife was a retired wrestler. I mean, I guess she used to trade shirts with some of the guys who came in. She rode a horse and according to the legend, it was a white horse and she would ride it right in to the store – – into the Knotty Pine.
Into the Knotty Pine! (laughter)
And up to the bar; they’re trying to trace where that bar came from and I don’t know where it came from, but she’d have a shot and the horse would have a beer.
Now this was before you actually – – did you actually see this yourself?
No, I didn’t see it. This is all legend.
Shortly after we came I think they sold it to somebody and it had a dance hall, a small floor in the back.
In the back of the Knotty Pine?
Back of the Knotty pine where the clothes are now.
Then the man who owned it, he is the one who put some clothes in and started the um-yum burgers and that kind of stuff – – and we had it. We had it at one time and to start with, we had a couple of pool table back in the back on the dance floor.
You actually owned the Knotty Pine at one time?
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And then we were the ones who finished out putting more clothes to it and of course and made it more or less what it is now. Then next to that, was the motel down on the corner that’s now the Chinese Restaurant and the little string of …
Right, that was a motel – -was it a motel when you came here first?
Yeah, it was a motel and where the restaurant is was the people’s – the owners of it – their living quarters.
Oh, that was their home there.
Yeah and the home that people retired back at the Knotty Pine, that used to sit on I think on the corner down there somewhere and it was the old telephone office building.
Really! So the building behind the Knotty Pine was the telephone exchange.
At one time. Then there was the restaurant up on the – – where’ it’s – –
The Cutthroat Restaurant?
No, it’s the other across the highway.
It was Sully’s.
Yeah, that one was the restaurant, so we had the four restaurants.
Yeah, there were a lot of restaurants in town.
Was it a restaurant or a bar also at that time?
Well, it was a bar at that time, too and then the Bell Oil right across.
Was that a service station at that time?
Okay, so you had that service station there.
We didn’t have the top on it, either. I don’t remember – – the old, old buildings that were down along the river there, the one – – well, let’s see. Their fire station was up here where just before the (inaudible) goes down and I think… let’s see…
Is that off of 74 or was it – – 74 or 60 – whatever it is that heads south toward the (inaudible) Wellington Lake.
That’s 68, I’m sorry.
Yeah, but just at the end of this side of the – – well, no it isn’t either. It just sits this side of the highway, the building was the old railway depot kind of.
Really! It was (inaudible).
No, what was it? They made it the fire house was there… see, I can’t remember. Where it goes down there, we used to use that as the arena for a little horse show on the 4th of July we had down in there.
But there were little cabins kind of down – – little white buildings that are some of them are still there I think, but we didn’t have anything. The café and bar was right here and Bell Oil here. There was a little house; it’s still there I guess but it’s not as a house and a Catholic church and a manse and so forth right up here.
That was up above Bell Oil on that same side of the road?
Yeah. It’s still there.
Yeah. I don’t’ think they use the little chapel but the cutest, sweetest little chapel that you ever saw sits up there.
I don’t think I’ve noticed it.
And then there’s a house up there and then this side…
Okay, starting at the – now this would be on the north side of 285 on the west end…
Yeah. Those two houses that are up there were there. Now, they have been improved and painted and so on so forth but they were there.
That one had a big solar collector on the roof it looked like.
Yeah, and then garage down below that is a garage now, it was a garage.
Okay, it was a repair shop; they did all kinds of auto maintenance, that kind of thing?
Something like that. Of course people didn’t work real hard at it you know, in those days (laughter). And they used that at one time for a dance floor when they had anything going.
That’s what I had heard. Another person – -in fact, I spoke with Clyde Johnson, one of you r neighbors just over here two years ago and I think he had mentioned too that at one time, that was a dance floor and people would gather during weekends.
This cement I think – – was it cement? Or a hardwood floor? I can’t even remember about that, but they’d have costume – – like a dance, come in costume and they’d award …
That’s a metal building now, is it now? Was it a metal building then?
Well, the roof was I think; I don’t really know whether it’s – – no, I don’t think so.
Maybe it’s just wood. Yup, you’re right – it is just wood (apparently looking out the window).
I think it did have the old kind of metal top on it, but it’s since been changed, but that was there.
Then there’s nursery that’s over there, that Bailey Garden Center?
Yeah, now that wasn’t there as such. There was a – – oh, you ought to talk to Barb Pilcher that’s in the Knotty Pine now. She has got quite a collection; her grandparents lived down river where her mother and father lived and then her father has since died, but her mother still lives there in the summer. She winters in Arizona but they – – and I can’t remember. Our cook lived in a little old cottage that just back of the there next in where that is and there was a storage place and stuff like that in there, just before again, the canal.
Ok, so this would be just a little bit north and east of the existing Conoco station now.
Yeah and then the canal and then of course the forest …
Right, Forest Service has a building now and that was there in the ‘50s.
Yeah, they really used it! We had some – – a couple of guys that played for… one of the back east teams of football, he played form – pro football and he would come out here and do his training in the mountains and worked for the Forest Service ‘casue he’d take logs or big heavy things and run up these mountains.
To stay in shape!
He figured that if he could have breath to breathe up here why, he would certainly have it when he went to training and that was before they had him come out here to Colorado to train and so forth.
Right, exactly. You don’t’ remember who was that though, who the player was or the team?
Mm-hmm (affirmative) but that’s when they were on the east coast.
Baltimore Colts. It wasn’t Namath and it wasn’t the guy who was quarterback before… oh, isn’t that terrible!
That’s okay. If you think of it, we can pick it up.
So continuing east, past the Forest Service buildings …
Then there was that old house that still sits there. They’ve got the apartments built in now.
But they weren’t here, but there was an old house that sat just back of the store and then the store.
Was it grocery store at that time then?
Yeah and a pretty good one.
It was probably the only grocery store in the area then.
A friend of mine, when they first came, they came just a little ahead of us and they worked there and then eventually owned it. We didn’t have to go so far for groceries beaus you always have to pay the freight on the groceries, so you paid a little more than a big old Safeway or King Soopers but you didn’t have to use as much gas getting there either.
They had that for a number of years.
END TAPE 1
There is a Cutthroat Café now which is (inaudible).
Yeah, that was put in.
That was put in there later?
That was a little house that was built in there to start with but that was after and there were a few things on around the corner where you went the old Crow Hill Road and there were a few places up there, but Bailey itself, as far as this road, there was a house where the post Office is.
Mm-hmm, which is right next door, directly west of this house.
Well, it wasn’t – – there was a vacant lot in between and then that and then that house going down this direction
Which is east.
Yeah. Our house, this house was there (gesturing) then there was a little kind of a little old lady that lived in a little old crooked house, you know, one of those kind of things in back in the back. Now they have the blue roof.
Oh okay. So that house is gone now, but had (inaudible).
And they have built in. Then the house where the next people live, that’s Kingery’s; they have Bell Oil. Well, it’s not Bell Oil anymore, it’s Bailey Propane.
Kingery’s, and it was not as big as it is and as nice either and it sat back up against the mountain a little more; that one and then the next one and then they had a summer cabin beyond that one and that was it.
That was it.
And there was people who were just summer people down there.
My impression is that a lot of people came up from Denver, but also people from as far east as the East Coast would come up here in the summer.
So this was a big recreation area back even in the 20’s and 30’s.
Back, way back when, Tumbling River – – have you ever been up on Geneva?
I don’t think so.
They have a creek road up Grant and you go up over —
Oh yes, I’ve been over that.
Well, you passed by Tumbling River Ranch.
Oh yes, okay – I’m familiar with that. In fact, I interviewed – – oh, I can’t think of her name right now. She’s basically managed it for past who knows how many years and she came out here in 1910 with her husband from Chicago to buy that – Tumbling River Ranch – and it was a private home before that, from I believe a Denver financier owned it. So there’s a lot of history up in that area.
Pete Smythe – do you know of Pete Smythe in Colorado? He used to do radio.
Oh, I know the name but I don’t know…
And he broadcast from Tincup, Colorado?
He owned that for a short time. It was bought by a lawyer and his wife from California I think they were; I think they were. She was a Stanford graduate anyway and she was member of the school board for a long time and she still has a little place – – I don’t know if she owns it or they reserved it for her but she sued to take guests “thinging” – in her Jeep; they’d look for “things” and of course, they built that up t o where it has a swimming pool. They had three girls and their youngest girl went to school with my oldest girl, so knew them. Oh, that is quite a place!
Oh I’m sure.
They put the stairway together without nails.
It’s just wood.
Just fit it properly.
Well you’ve mentioned that one of the things that you used to enjoy was going on a picnic. Did you ever go up to Glen isle, which is just a few miles up the road?
Yeah, oh well yeah. That’s another family. He became I think our first bus driver when we finally added a bus to our school system. You’ve seen the number of school busses that we have now?
You know, we had one and he was the first bus driver.
This was Barbara’s husband?
And their oldest girl went to school with mine oldest girl and so we’ve been great friends for all these years and they had in the summer, they would always have chuck wagons.
They still do.
Do they still have them?
We’ve gone to them several times. I don’t know about this summer, but last year for instance, we went on summer evenings – basically weekends.
And the kids they would use the kiva – the one place they called the kiva – for square dancing and things like that. And when my oldest girl got married, as a wedding gift they gave us the use of the kiva up there for the reception.
Oh, that’s nice! What year was that?
Oh, now you’re getting (inaudible) laughter.
I’m just trying to tie some dates down to get a general idea.
Well, let’s see – she graduated in ’66, so it must have been late 60’s, early 70’s.
Okay. When you came here, you had two young girls and shortly afterwards…
Two really young girls.
And then you had a son. Where did they go to school while you were busy running the restaurant?
The two girls and my brother, I haven’t even mentioned him, they started school at what is now Id-Ra-Ha-Je now.
Oh, okay, so that was the elementary school?
Mm-hmm (affirmative) well no, the whole thing.
That was everything.
All the grades through high school.
Yeah. They had the one building that looks like a school building.
Yeah it was.
The one, the first one and that was where they had most of it, but they started increasing then, too with kids. People moving up and moving in so they had some buildings in the back that they brought in, just kind of like they bring in now to schools.
Yeah and in the back. When my oldest girl, Teah, was in fourth grade I think it was, and the youngest one was in second grade, they were moved up to the new one.
Okay, and that’s where the current school is now?
Yeah, but the old part of the high school without the swimming pool and that end of it. That was the school and it held everything through twelve at that time. They called it the “Tin Goose.” They fought it putting it in up here. My dad was president of the school Board for eight years through that period and so I …
So you really got involved with it.
Why did they call it the Tin Goose?
It was a pre-fab building. When school was out, they started immediately and they had to delay for one school starting one week in September to open it.
Do you remember what year that was?
The reason I know – – 1957 – – I have the first yearbook that the high school put out up here and I have quite a few of them after that.
The first yearbook was put out the first year that we graduated seniors out of that school, which was 1958.
So that was the summer of ’57 and the fall of ’57 and then they graduated the next spring in ’58. I know somebody wanted to find out the members of the school board as far back as they can take it and I said, “Well, I can take it back this far because I have the first annual that they put out and it was 1958,” and that was the new school and I have the pictures of the school board and so forth and then I think I go through ’60 – – let’s see, my daughter graduated in ’66 and my next one graduated in ’68 and then I kind of lost track because the boy wasn’t as interested in annuals and that kind of stuff. I think his wife has annuals representing and things like that.
Do you know how large the classes were at that time?
We graduated two seniors.
That was it! Two seniors in ’58.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). They kind of started increasing, but the boy that graduated in 1958 wound up as my brother’s senior advisor or senior – – he taught school when he got out of college; he came back and taught school and was his…
Like a homeroom advisor?
Sponsor. That’s the word. For awhile, they kept returning to this community!
It has some real advantages. This is just a real pretty area.
See I think at that time, they had decided to work fulltime on that tunnel.
Ah, that’s the Roberts Tunnel.
Yeah, the Roberts Tunnel. So all of a sudden, we had an increase in population and when they put this new school in, a lot of the old-timers fought it because – – “Well, when they finish that Roberts Tunnel, these people – – these ‘tunnel rats’ and so on and so forth, will just pull out and leave!” They didn’t! They’ve stayed. And then of course it grew. It’s just like at that time, Id-Ra-Ha-Je was a small, little small place, a camp and stuff like that. You go on up and there wasn’t anything in Friendship, there wasn’t anything – – well, of course Bill ?Irondee? has been the last – that was all Dozier property.
Right, in fact, I think he bought it somewhere in the 50s and from that point, he started developing.
Yeah, he came from Kansas – Kansas City I think he had an airplane that his pilot brought he and the family and they had a maid and a valet and …
Oh really! So they were a very wealthy family.
Oh yeah, yeah. All of that, going on up, KZ was just a privately – – I don’t even think they worked it as a ranch exactly, but it was called KZ Ranch.
Well, I know that there’s a Deer Creek Valley Association that was a family of east coast families that actually owned most of the valley originally.
Yeah and John Woodward still manages all that.
I interviewed him and his wife – wonderful couple. They live in Denver but spend the summers up here.
And so that was all – – but KZ was owned by Kuhler, if I can say it right – Kuhler, German who came from Germany; they had the German accents and they bought that and he was an artist, painter, and he owned I don’t know how many patents from railroads, invented things from the beginning of railroad …
And he had that ranch?
He had that ranch and then they lived here and all and they didn’t have many – – except their place.
I see. What’s the story behind the church over here – Platte Canon Community Church? I understand that’s been here for a very long time.
Well, it was a hay barn.
The man who owned the house that ‘s right next to it – and of course, it’s been added to – one of the little houses that they used to have there was made out of a chicken coop, but the house – he owned that and he owned the garage that was over here for awhile.
Oh okay, right across from the Conoco.
That was his hay barn. I mean it was kind of a …
It looks like a barn.
It was a ranch and stuff like that. When he passed away, she started selling. He owned also I think up to the corner here.
Oh, right where Moore Lumber is?
Almost up there, but just this side, the south side of the road.
Okay, where the Fairplay Flume building is.
And then that had two lakes in it. Those were here when he was alive. He and his wife, his name was Clarence. The two lakes were there and they were natural – I mean they were spring-fed.
Then all of the people coming in and putting wells in, the nice-looking gray house that’s just up the road just a little ways, the man who built that had to have a sump pump under the house for quite some time to get rid of the moisture. We had a little stream in the back yard here that ran through these (gesturing) and kind of went this way and ended up in the river, but they’re all dried up now. See those springs – – I think people digging wells and taking the water that way, along with some drier times, but I didn’t remember anything like what we had the last few years. Nothing like that. We had snow when we first came up here.
That was one of the questions I wanted to ask you. What was the weather like here in the 50s?
Beautiful! Beautiful if you like the extreme…
You had four seasons for sure.
Yeah. Well, we never have had much of a spring; never too much of the spring. It usually kind of goes from winter to summer pretty much, kind of like it does now, but at the time, they had fishing seasons and hunting seasons. I mean, you didn’t just put in for a permit to go hunting through (inaudible) times, but a definite season for it and people used to hunt around. When fishing season – – I can’t remember the exact dates – but from the middle to the end of May and I have seen fishing season open where you could hardly see the river out here and the banks because of the snow storm.
Oh really! You’re taking here about maybe 50, 75 feet.
I’ve seen many a time, fly-fishing out there.
In a blizzard?
In a blizzard, in the snowing coming down and cold enough it was freezing the line. You could see the ice on them.
Before they opened the Roberts Tunnel, did this creek go up and down a lot?
We used to have a lot more but it didn’t go up and down as much as what it does now. At one time, they dredged it through to make it a little deeper but basically, it was gathering snow from – – so in spring, it would roar. Oh, if you lost your footing in that, you were gone.
Yeah, they have found some kids half a mile down, just beaten to death on the rocks and we used to get the call from up above Gant, that some kid had fallen in and they’d start looking all along the river. Our kids had learned that they didn’t throw the ball that way because if the ball got in it, it was gone and they had no business trying to get it.
It’s a big open ditch and it would be real attractive to kids I suspect.
When they first dredged it out and made it a little deeper, then they kind of made a little pool out here where they could go swimming for awhile but never in the spring.
Yeah, it’s just too wild at that point.
It’s just too wild and the ice would break or freeze! We would go ice skating; we could start
It would actually freeze up? Completely over?
Yeah we could start at – – oh, up there about – – usually it was around Shawnee, but some of them, the hardy souls, went from Grant and they’d come all the way down and some of them go further than what we can…
Just keep going.
Yeah and it would freeze enough that it was level enough so that you could skate and they had the lake at Shawnee, that would freeze over and Barbara Tripp’s husband was one of them and then we had another fellow that worked at the tunnel that had a little Jeep with a plow on it. They’d get those Jeeps out there and get the snow off so that you had good skating. It would be perfect skating. Now those are ice ponds up there near Shawnee I understand. They would saw them up and then bring them to Denver for (inaudible). They had an ice house down at the end of the line down here.
Oh really! Near Sully’s? Where Sully’s is now?
Well, a little bit more towards this end; our line, but in there somewhere, it was just kind of a ramshackle place, but they filled it with straw and hay and that kind of stuff.
They weren’t doing that in the 50s when you were here, were they yet?
They had some ice in there, yeah.
Really! They were still doing that in the 50s?
I’ll be darned.
They also had a pond down below here if you’ve ever taken the – – well, they’re kind of doing away with that – – but it was down her eat across from – – well, about where the sewer plant is now, but in there, there was some ponds and they’d keep those clean and we’d go ice-skating and the whole beauty of this at that time was anybody needed anything or wanted anything, or was going to throw an ice-skating party or anything , any kind of a hay-rack ride party, or anything like that, everybody pitched in. I mean, it was kind of a community effort. When they put the new school in, they decided to put the football field – – we never football or anything – – they put field up there by it and they wanted to clear it. They had an awful time getting that football field in there because we grow rocks in this country. You think you’ve got all the rocks cleared out and then the first thing you know, they’re popping up.
Oh yeah, yup. I never understood how that happened, but it does.
Yeah, we grow rocks!
So they needed to have it cleared, so they put the call out; parents,…
They had phone service up here at that time, right?
So that’s how everybody communicated by phone.
Yeah. We were on a six-party line at one time. Well, in order to get through with the kids because it was something to “tote and fetch.” I mean we had no busses – if they had a school program I started at Grant picking up kids and taking them with my kids to school, like at Id-Ra-Ha-Je or start up at the other end and somebody – – parent – – bring the kids to school.
Everybody worked together it sounds like.
I was supposed to bring pumpkin pies or cookies or things like that and somebody else was supposed to – – we worked through the church and through the school and when they put out the call that we needed those rocks cleared and the school didn’t have the money enough to start out with topsoil and things like that, so parents gave their time. Their dad’s day off or a Saturday and a Sunday working up there and now you aren’t allowed to do that! Because insurance wouldn’t cover it.
Now, if a parent wanted to take the kids on a hay-rack ride, I don’t know! You’d probably have to have …
Yeah, that liability insurance where everything’s prohibitive.
Otherwise, some kid might fall off that hay-rack.
Yeah, and you’d be responsible.
Things like that. All of a sudden, it started getting, “Come on, I don’t want to face this.”
They call that “progress.”
Yeah, when they first started Bailey Days I was the clown. (laughter). Oh, gee.
When did that start? What year?
Gosh, I don’t know, but it was back in – -we had it for eight years before they finally quit, so if you can figure back that way…
That’s probably been – – two years? Did they stop it? So you figure ten, twelve years ago is when the last one, so that would have been ’94 and you said they had it for about eight years?
So then it’s probably around 1985 or so, ’86 is when it started maybe?
Yeah, they’d start with a parade.
And it would start right up that road up here (pointing) and it’d come down and it would go down the highway.
Oh, not down to Main Street but actually on the highway itself.
On the highway.
Did it shut the road down?
Then whoever was sponsoring it, had to come up for a million dollars for insurance on it.
Is that what shut it down for those years? Was it just insurance concerns?
They didn’t shut it down completely, but they wouldn’t let them be on the highway any longer.
Yeah, I can believe that with the traffic.
Now, they have the policemen out and they stop traffic to let people to go by and everything. We would go down and it wasn’t the fanciest parade…
No, I can believe that.
But it was made up of people – – Eos’s from the Eos from Eos sawmill had some donkeys and they’d give rides and some of those would pull the kids.
So the Eos brothers would come down here for that?
I’ll be darned.
Yeah I interviewed them.
See, I saw that boys – the two Eos boys.
They the ones that are running the mill now.
Yeah, well, they’re men now!
Yeah, they sure are!
They’re grandpas now.
They’re in their 60s, maybe early 70s now.
But when we first moved here, see they were young men and they had their girlfriends and they went square-dancing and they got married.
This was a self-contained community then. Pretty much people – – well, you go to Denver I’m sure sometimes.
Oh yeah, but you go to Denver and if you were shopping or doing something where you came home after nine or ten o’clock at night, you could home without meeting more than maybe one car.
Yeah, I can believe it.
The traffic was just nil. We’d taken the kids to the amusement park- Lakeside I think or Elitch’s; I don’t know ‘cause how long they’ve been going; wasn’t the new Elitch’s – anyway – we had had a fun evening and the kids in the back seat were sleeping but my husband was driving and I was sitting in the middle and then the daughter was sitting on the side and we were singing, the two of us and moving our hands like this (gesturing) and we got stopped by the patrolman in Turkey Creek! He thought we were drunk! (Laughter).
I can believe it!
We were singing and …
Just having a good time.
One thing we did for amusement, we would give the kids a choice. We would say, “You’ve got a free evening or free time. Do you want to go in and eat at a nice place and come home, or do you want to go to a drive-in movie and eat cheap?” Well, most of the time, they would take the eating in a nice place.
Yeah and I don’t know whether you’ve ever gone in – – I think it’s on Morrison Road – I think it’s – – or Alameda now – – the Airplane Club. It was close see. We could go in on Morrison Road and go right in and we’ d go in and have a – and we’d sing and laugh and giggle all the way in and then we’d be gussied up a little .
It was on a weekend, right? Was it particularly on a weekend?
In the summertime, we’d pick through the week because it wasn’t as busy and we never did too much in the wintertime; the kids were in school and the boy played basketball and the girls were in the Pep Club and it seemed like there was something going on at school all the time.
So you sold the café here across the street in about ’50?
END OF TAPE 1
This is tape 2 by the way, side A, and we were chatting about what Winnie and her husband did after they sold the restaurant in about 1959.
Well, let’s see. Somewhere in there we bought the Knotty Pine and ran that for awhile and…
What made you sell the café then and buy another restaurant?
Too busy. It was really just too much.
Business was too good!
Too good. Everybody made fun of us but my mother was wearing out and my husband was … well, he didn’t like the bar end, dealing with, you know, that end of it; he didn’t care for that at all and so he got interested in – – he fixed this place up room by room and he had gotten interested in construction. He’d done some of that before way back when and so he was doing that and then we bought – – but that really wasn’t a restaurant as much as what we had done. The restaurant at the Ranger Café, we put out full meals.
And dessert and we baked probably at a minimum of eighteen pies a day and made our own homemade dinner rolls.
You made everything yourself right there.
Yeah and it was quite a project and built a walk-in box to keep supplies on hand so that you weren’t running somewhere every two days and all. Cases – I mean big cases pf eggs and whatnot and things like that and so it was cutting down considerably to have the Knotty Pine, but it still was …well, we decided to sell that, too.
How long did you have the Knotty Pine would you say?
Oh gosh, probably three years; three or four years, something like that.
Okay, so in the early 60s then you sold it.
Yeah and for the two families, it wasn’t as good so and then my father talked me into becoming a music teacher for the school.
You mentioned earlier that you played violin.
Yeah, I’d given that up but I’d gone to college and I had – – I was going to be a music teacher and so forth and got married instead, so I got the permission, the certificate to teach music. I taught all the grades and had to put on three programs a year.
But it was like a three days a week, most of it. Of course, when the kids were on vacation, I was on vacation, too.
Right. What was your husband doing during this time when you sold the Knotty Pine?
He was working in construction and he finally started working for himself and then we – – we always had trouble with wells and sewer lines and those kind of things. So at some point – and I can’t tell you the date there – they decided that they’d put in a Bailey Water and Sanitation. Well, they needed somebody to run the plant so Dean went to school at Boulder and then he became the water and sewer man. (Laughter).
So he managed the water and sewer plants here.
And that was in the early 60s then probably.
Probably even a little later and he did that for awhile and besides with his building and those kid of things…
You mentioned he was a school superintendent also.
No, that was my father.
Oh, you’re right.
And my father retired and I think that was the death of him; he just was not used to that and he had a massive coronary and then my mother lived a while longer, but her rheumatoid arthritis eventually just finished her off.
That makes it tough.
He was on the Hospital Board. They had a hospital at Fairplay that they put in; my father was on that Board, too.
Very socially active, wasn’t he?
Yeah, anything but politics. He wouldn’t go into politics.
He served on a lot of boards, like the school board and then the hospital board. When did your husband retire then?
He was forced to. He had first one hip and then another that he just had to have replaced and he had a ruptured colon; they flew him out of here in a helicopter and he just couldn’t do so many things so we had decided to – – I worked at the Post Office for almost nineteen years.
Right next door, although it wasn’t then when you started.
It was just where the Fairplay Flume office, that was the Post Office.
It started out in the back this side of the grocery store down there when it is storage now.
That was the Post Office.
That was the Post Office.
When you first – in the 50s, 70s.
Then they built a new one there where the Flume is and so I had a terrible time getting there.
Yeah, it must be all of 4 or 500 feet!
But then that made it nice for you because they moved it next door.
Well, my command, you know.
Of course, you’ve got longevity; I mean you’ve got influence at that point! (laughter).
Oh dear. I worked there for almost nineteen years and then I had a hear attack, so they said quit so I quit. Then my husband had a heart problem and he had to have angioplasty so he still was trying to jump off the roof and be on the roof – – I said it’s a good thing he liked old things. We had an old house and he put his heart and soul into this.
Did every room in the house – redid it and things like that and he bought a ’77 Ford Ranger pickup and he put a new engine in it, but that was – – he kept it up, he was fighting the rust problem on it, but it was – – we called it “Old Blue” because it was painted blue and he would take a piece off of it, the metal, the fender and …
Keep it alive, huh?
Oh yeah, he loved that thing. That was in 1977, we had a Mercury Cougar there was 1978 and it had 72,000 miles on it when I sold it after he died.
My mother had a car just like that. She had a Ford – a big Ford – probably about a ’77, ’78 time frame. It had like 45,000 miles on it, but it was falling apart because of just rust.
The Mercury – – I told everybody it was really in good shape because we took it out of the garage, I had to run along side of it with a big umbrella! (Laughter). So he babied that too. When he died, we found all kinds of little things that my grandson would say, “What was this for?” And I’d say, “Grandpa used to say, ‘Just in case.’ We found every vehicle – – then we bought a little 15-foot trailer and we’d go up to Eleven-Mile or down to Pueblo; oh, he enjoyed that. And I was going to have to cook, I’d just as soon cook at home but you know, I traveled in it, too. It was a way to get away. But I said it was a good thing he liked everything old. It’s the only way that he kept me! (laughter).
Well, you’ve got to stay active and it sounds like you really have.
We had such a happy life – here in Bailey and surrounding. I consider all of this Bailey.
Sure. It is, it’s a community.
I used to know everybody.
There’s so many people that have moved in in the past twenty, thirty years.
Oh yeah, it got away from me when I retired.
Being in the Post Office too, you’d become so much aware of names of people in the area I’m sure.
Maybe I’d only see them in the Post office, but at least I would recognize faces and names and of course, they knew me and then they knew I was the clown in Bailey Days! I had to give that up though, but it was just such a – – like I told everybody, it was terrible. It was a terrible tragedy for me to see him go – and I finally had to pull the plug. He didn’t want it with surviving on instruments and things like that. It was awful but at the same time, we had had such a beautiful life and Bailey was a good share of it; Bailey was a good part of it. Park County was – – oh, we used to have some arguments.
It still goes on!
Yeah! There was always a pro and con to everything. We had the one lady that – – I miss her. She’s still alive – Leona Nelson from Shawnee – she used to be one that would write letters to the editor.
And boy, she kept things stirred up. I mean, she’d get a reaction.
Oh, I’m sure.
So hey, nobody was able to sit back and “well, I didn’t do what they want to do; I don’t care,” Nobody could do that. They couldn’t get by. So I kind of miss some things like that and then Fairplay got a little bit of a problem with us because we had all these: “They don’t care about Park County- they move in from Denver and their business is in Denver and their high society. They go down to Denver to play their bridge games.” I heard remarks like that.
Now is that because we’re on this side of Kenosha Pass?
I think so and they’re the County Seat and they wanted to be…
Well, there’s ranchers down there and farmer to a large degree and here, this is a bedroom community to Denver.
See, we don’t think alike either.
No, absolutely not.
The two sides of the pass see, are so different.
It’s always been that way?
There’s always been this divide?
Well, yeah especially when Fitzsimmons died. He had the big ranch and all the property where the school is on now. He was commissioner and so forth. He was a rancher; he used to bring his cattle down to move them down to the pasture in front of Farmer’s Union down here.
He put them down Main Street?
Mm-hmm (affirmative) yeah.
They were more important.
He was commissioner and he lived in this part of the county?
He lived in Shawnee.
He lived in Shawnee, okay,
Yeah, with the big barn.
How long ago was that? Was that in the 50s?
I think my dad took his place on the Park County.
So that was in the 60s then.
Yeah, but … (phone rings).
You were saying that Fitzsimmons owned a lot of the property up here, was rancher up here and we were talking about the divide of tension there exists between South Park and this portion of Park County. So you think that that kind of divide has occurred or has existed for a long time?
Well, for a long time as ever since we’ve been here. Not viciously or anything like that; just a kind of a : “Oh! Ooh.” Just kind of a little separation and you can understand why but it kept people down here voting: “Come on, let’s …”
There’s more people on this side of the pass than I think there is on that side.
For awhile, it just was known that it was a Republican county and that’s okay. We don’t even need to go to vote for a lot of times. Get kind of “Sit back and watch the world go by attitude.” Well pretty soon, we had too many people moving in, we had too many people on the highway, so we kind of had to perk up and “Come on, let’s …”
It’s kind of like this gal in Shawnee kept stirred up for you, too.
See, we’ve had some big shots out of big places; not only just Denver – what I classify as big shots. I mean, Pete Smythe is one of them and lawyers that have come up here and bought homes and people of all classes and kinds and so ‘Hey, come on! We’ve got to take off our rose-colored glasses sometime…” We still had the clean air; we still have a – I think – one of the better places to send your kids to school; I think we’ve got a pretty good school. I’m not one that condemns the school all the time. There are some of those; you find those anywhere.
I found a lot of people that are home-schooling; more than I ever.. in any other location. I don’t quite understand why but there appears to be a lot of them here.
So we’ve got everything that I have been able to ask for. We’ve spent a good life and made such good friends and I’d be scared. I’d be scared to be living in Denver or the outskirts or something. For a long time we didn’t have to lock our door or anything. We were just so happy and such a helpful community. I helped with the church; I played the organ for – I don’t know how many years – but it must have been 25, 30 years.
Which church is this? Platte Canon?
The Platte Canon Community Church.
My kids went to church there and had a grand-daughter who gave her testimony there and “Come on!” What could you ask for better than a big place were you don’t know your neighbor? You couldn’t depend on anybody for help?
It’s really nice to be able to have spent your life in a place that you really appreciate and that you contributed to and even now, enjoy. That’s all you can ask for.
I go to ball games; my son volunteers his time for Little League coach and my daughter-in-law was president of the Little League District so I go to ball games and I know these kids and these kids are good kids up here. Basically, they’re good kids. Of course, I think kids are basically good anywhere; I think it’s the environment and parents that don’t care. We began to really get concerned when we became a latchkey community. Our parents were going to work before the kids left for school land weren’t coming home until later. We had people stop at the Post Office who wanted to know where the school laws. They’d stop in and “Where’s the high school? When they lived in this community and their kids went to school!
And they didn’t ever know where it was.
And they didn’t know where it was.
See, that tells you how much involvement that they have.
For the most part, these parents are sponsoring this and that and for the kids and they’re Booster Club; they’re working down at the ball fields for Little League; they’re taking kids here and there – like I say, “toting and fetching.” I had a friend from Texas who was always “toting and fetching”.
That sounds like a Texas phrase. Well, I’m going to wrap it up; I’ve been here a long time and I really appreciate all your insight.
Okay. I had such a happy, happy time in this house, this community.
That’s so nice to be able to be in a place and appreciate it. A lot of times you don’t appreciate it until you’ve been there a very long time and you’ve appreciated it along the way.
I have lived in “Vacationland” for all this time, with beautiful views.
Wonderful, thank you.
END OF TAPE
Park County Local History Archives
Department of Heritage & Tourism, Park County
856 Castello Avenue
Fairplay, CO 80440
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856 Castello Avenue
Fairplay, CO 80440
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- Archives Collaboration with University of Denver September 23, 2020
- Remembering Ada B. Evans, the First African American Mayor in Colorado and Her Legacy in Park County, Colorado on The South Park Heritage Experience July 7, 2020
- A. F. Willmarth, Historical Park County, Colorado Sketch Artist June 2, 2020
- A Huge Loss for the Park County Local History Archives and Park County August 8, 2017
- Remembering Ada B. Evans by Linda Bjorkland February 18, 2017