A lot of people know that the masterpiece scale model of Pioneer Town on display at the Cedaredge Welcome Center was built by Ed Bernadou.
What people may not know is that Ed's model building career began in the 1930's when he was a young boy, and that his career continues to this day.
Ed's complete scale model replica of the valley's history and heritage on display at Pioneer Town is only one of many model building masterpieces that he, along with other professionals working under his supervision, has created during that career.
"Aircraft have been a love all of my life," Ed says. So, it's not surprising that among his first modeling ventures were airplanes. A recent addition to his collection is an impressive, scratch-built scale model of a vintage, World War I era, British-made bomber in Canadian Air Force livery. People saw it displayed in the Edge of Cedars Art Exhibit two years ago.
Ed is a proud veteran. From 1943 to 1945 he served in the U.S. Naval Reserve as seaman 1/c metal smith working and flying on the PB2-Y, a four-engine flying boat. At the end of World War II, Ed joined the Army Air Corps as a flight engineer stationed at Hickam Field, Hawaii, from 1946 to 1948.
Ed has a unique connection with the military; a Navy destroyer that served in World War I and World War II, the U.S.S. Bernadou, is named for his great uncle, Lt. John Baptiste Bernadou, a torpedo boat commander in the Spanish and American War. The U.S.S. Bernadou received a Presidential Unit Citation for action in the World War II North Africa campaign.
Ed built his professional model building career after World War II making wind tunnel models for Boeing in Wichita, Kan. From there he moved on to the Denver area directing and contributing work on massive scale models of industrial projects including mines, power plants, and other industrial facilities for customers in the U.S. and abroad.
Ed's current projects include a working scale model of the Cedaredge Methodist Church elevator project. The model is being used in the church's fund raising efforts.
For this year's Edge of Cedars Art Exhibit in June, Ed won a ribbon for a hand-carved basswood model of geese landing at Confluence Lake. He took the idea from a newspaper photo that caught his eye. Ed includes photography among his several interests and talents.
"I've done wood working all of my life, too," he said. And although the complete wood working shop once set up in the Barnadous' garage is gone now, there is a handsome entertainment center in the living room of Ed and Virginia's comfortable Ginter Grove home north of Cedaredge that shows Ed's artful and professional skill.
The efficient garage workshop where Ed works on his projects today is constructed conveniently into a corner and along two walls. Though it holds all the many tools Ed needs to keep his creative instincts and skilled hands on the move, there is still plenty of room left for Virginia to park her car indoors out of the weather.
Ed and Virginia, married for 62-plus years, enjoy a life of community involvement so characteristic of many energetic retirees who call Surface Creek Valley home. They, like many of their neighbors, learned about Cedaredge from friends who had moved here. Ed and Virginia moved here from a nice Front Range area at Coal Creek Canyon in the foothills above Denver.
Ed and Virginia share a love of art, and both are artists. They display Ed's models and their oil paintings at the annual Edge of the Cedars exhibit. Ed's entries earned several ribbons this year.
Virginia is active in the Methodist Church and has contributed to projects with her play writing talent and by helping to organize and stage the congregation's popular musical productions for the public.
Before Ed and Virginia met, a mutual friend had managed to arrange a pen pal relationship for them while Ed was serving with the Army Air Corps in Hawaii and Virginia was living in Kansas. "We wrote to each other for over a year," Virginia recalls.
When Ed got out of the service, they met for the first time. "I asked her to marry me, and three days later she said 'Yes.'"
Ed still writes. He contributes articles to the "tabletop" publications seen in area restaurants. Though an accomplished writer today, it's unlikely that anything Ed ever wrote accomplished more than the letters he exchanged with Virginia more than 62 years ago.