Writer's note: This is the final of a series of three articles written from a "narrative" by Bert Williams of Delta. Williams was the father of Ralph Williams who resides in Montrose.
Writer's note: This is part two of a series taken from a written document by the late Bert Williams of Delta - date unknown. Williams was the father of Ralph Williams, long-time resident of Montrose.
Writer's note: This is the first of a series (two to three articles) on early days in Delta as hand-written by Bert Williams (exact date unknown). It is felt that many long-timers of the area will be interested in this documentation.
On the shore of the Gunnison River in Confluence Park, Antoine Robidoux's fur trading center of the early 1800s has been recreated by the City of Delta.
Antoine Robidoux established the trading outpost in the late 1820s in an area known as Robidoux Bottoms near the junction of the Gunnison and Uncompahgre rivers.
Robert A. Brown, author of "The Hunsicker Tree Roots and All," describes his book's findings:
This is the story of two remarkable people of Swiss and German descent, born and raised in Schwenksville, Pa., in the later decades of the 19th century: James Abner Hunsicker, who was a pastor, educator and fruit grower; and his wife Kate Augusta Bromer Hunsicker, the daughter of a wealthy clothing manufacturer.
Each year the Museum of the West in Grand Junction invites area museums to be part of its Heritage Rendezvous to showcase items in collections found at Western Slope museums. Pioneer Town Museum is participating this year with an exhibit of barbed wire.
From 1904 to 1943 a weekly newspaper, "Surface Creek Champion" was published by C.W. Brewer in Cedaredge. Now the Surface Creek Valley Historical Society (SCVHS) is digitizing every issue, or about 12,000 plus pages.
The Hotchkiss-Crawford Historial Society will host its annual meeting on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 2:00 at the Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss. There will be music, refreshments and a guest speaker, Robert Sibernagel. He is well known in the area as he writes regional history columns for The Daily Sentinel. He was formerly the editorial page editor for that paper for 19 years.
Delta historian Jim Wetzel announces the publication of his fifth book capturing more of the history of the area. His new book, titled "A History of Delta, Colorado and Beyond," is a collection of many historical articles he has written over the past 20 years, some of which have appeared in prior issues of the Delta County Independent in years past.
In 1942, a man named Obid Martin worked in Hotchkiss for a sheepherder named William Green.
His biological granddaughters, sisters Joan Ratliff of Littleton, Colo., and Becky McKinney, of West Point, Mo., would like to know more about what he did here, and where he might have been headed from here.
A plan to increase general knowledge and usage of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail in Delta and Mesa counties is detailed in a draft document prepared by the Bureau of Land Management.
Stakeholders came together to identify Old Spanish National Historic Trail sites that could be marked and developed for the public, including trailheads, overlooks and interpretive locations.
History Colorado is calling all rural entrepreneurs with a business idea, a vision for historic preservation, and an interest in accessing tax credits to help defray eligible rehabilitation costs. Applications for the annual tax credit program are accepted on a rolling basis, but most of the credits are claimed by early November so time is of the essence to tap into the 2018 funds.
During the July 14 "Celebrate Cedaredge" event, members of Cedaredge's Historical Preservation Board presented plaques commemorating the vintage of local buildings.
Two plaques were presented to the 4B's Brewery and the Cedaredge Pharmacy.
For nearly two decades, the Town of Cedaredge historical preservation board has been identifying, researching, and recommending vintage town sites for designation as historic properties. Over the years, two dozen properties have been approved by the town trustees and, by the time the preservation board meets this September, each of those historic buildings will be displaying a distinctive commemorative plaque.
After 44 years, Bob Esplin and his wife Laurie have decided it's time to sell the Delta Elevator.
Bob tried retirement when he turned 62 about 18 years ago, but quickly realized how much he missed the daily interactions with his customers and suppliers.
Through the courtesy of Joel Magnuson of Orchard City, let's visit today with Joel's great-grandfather, Samuel Edwin Iams, who was born in 1844.
Joel has at his house a handsome, very old, Iams family trunk, which holds many treasures.
Twenty years ago in May, Jim Wetzel was named curator and director of the Delta Museum. Because of unscheduled emergency surgery, he arrived on the job in a wheelchair and with just one day to learn everything he needed to know to take over.
Chuck Farmer will present a special program to the Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society on Saturday, April 14, at 1:30 p.m. at the museum at 180 2nd Street, Hotchkiss. He will relate the history of two .45-90 rifles in the museum's collection.
The Cedaredge trustees held a regular meeting last week during which they approved resolutions designating five downtown buildings as historic structures. The town's historic preservation board recommended the buildings and provided research into each structure's background.
The 20-mile-long Silverton Railroad from Silverton to Ironton over Red Mountain Pass was the best paying U.S. railroad per mile when it opened in 1889. The historic railroad ended up only running for a couple decades, but its path is still traceable today, along with the vestiges of the towns and mine sites it served.
After last week's story on the history of the miner's statue in Paonia Town Park, Paonia resident and town trustee David Bradford said his research revealed more information about how the town acquired the land for the park, and how the community rallied to purchase the land from the family of William Clark.
Bradford said in doing his initial research, he learned that the park "was rumored to have been gifted to the town" by the Clarks.
Gary Thompson is determined to set the record straight.
He says he, and only he, is "the sole, original, authentic discovery person" of the mosasaur skeleton that was unearthed in Cedaredge in 1975.
The Mesa County Historical Society and the Museums of Western Colorado will present a program on Powderhorn Ski Resort. Alice Sisac, who serves as Powderhorn's historian will give a talk on the 50-year history of the ski resort on Grand Mesa.
Four historic fruit labels from Western Colorado have made their way into a newly-opened exhibit at the History Colorado Center in Denver.
Between 1899 and 1917, the Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded construction grants to 35 public libraries in Colorado. As of 2010, 30 of these buildings were still standing and 18 were still operating as libraries. Delta Library is one of them.
A matinee hosted by the Delta County Historical Society on Saturday, Oct. 14, brought a different type of venue to the theater as it presented the opening night experience to theater patrons as it might have looked on Oct. 1, 1928. On that occasion, two movies -- silent films -- were shown along with a stage act or two, all highlighted with music from the Robert Morton theater organ then installed at the Egyptian.
On Nov. 21, 1898, Hotchkiss Constable Robert G. Lewis was killed in the line of duty. The unarmed lawman stepped between two men.
Delta County Libraries is the recipient of a $35,000 grant from the State Historical Fund (SHF) to draft revised construction documents for Delta Library. The grant is an important step in an ongoing, multi-phase project to preserve the Delta Library, a site designated as historic by the State of Colorado.
Fort Uncompahgre was a lively site Saturday. Visitors in period costume sampled traditional Mexican fare while browsing the open air market. Vaqueros traversed the courtyard on horseback, while kids gathered under a large canopy for games organized by the Girl Scouts.
The Pea Green Community House was recently named a Montrose County Historical Site -- largely because of the role the unassuming building at the corner of Highway 348 and Banner Road has played in the lives of area residents.
Native Pea Greener Lee Markley worked diligently with the Montrose County Landmark Properties Advisory Board to have the hall designated a historical site.
Native Pea Greener Lee Markley has been working diligently with the Montrose County Landmark Properties Advisory Board to have the Pea Green Community Hall designated a Montrose County historical site.
Linda's Bistro is located in a relatively nondescript brick building just off Grand Avenue. Owner Linda Little recently came before the Paonia town board for the 21st time to renew her liquor license.
Those who know trees, especially cottonwood trees, have said for years that it is "just a matter of time" when the Ute Council Tree gives up its last vestige of life in its limbs and succumbs eventually to the whims of nature. Such appears to have been the fate of this historic tree in 2017.
When the Ute Council Tree was a very small sapling, about 215 years ago, Thomas Jefferson was president of the United States. The strong and mighty Ute Indians roamed freely through the area that later became known as western Colorado. The Ute Council Tree provided a gathering place where tribal leaders could talk about important issues while children played in the shade of the tree.
At its August meeting, the Cedaredge Town Board named four structures to the Cedaredge Historic Property Inventory. They are the Bolton residence at 380 W. Main Street, The Hawkins Barber Shop at 145 W. Main Street, Giradet's Feed Store at 235 W. Main Street and The Hawkins Maternity Home and residence at 213 SW 3rd.
The Delta County Historical Society, owner of the 215+ year old Ute Council Tree, has made plans to have the ailing Ute Council Tree cut down to a level about 10 to 12 feet above the ground, with further plans to create a memorial with the surviving trunk of the tree. With the loss of the last limb on the tree trunk on Aug. 1, tree experts, following an up-close examination, have determined that the tree is now at great risk of a catastrophic failure since the crown of the tree contains the only remaining branches.
A fossil uncovered near Cedaredge four decades ago is now on display in a museum on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
While the full mosasaur skeleton is new to the BYU Museum of Paleontology, a cast of the skull has been showcased at the Welcome Center in Cedaredge for years.
The Delta County Historical Society board of trustees met in emergency session Aug. 10 and concluded by unanimous vote that the Ute Council Tree must be cut down. A portion of the base trunk will be left standing as a memorial.
A professional arborist has been employed by the Delta County Historical Society to assess the health of the Ute Council Tree. Early this week, Gil Mitchell of Davey Tree Company got a close look at the tree, courtesy of a Delta-Montrose Electric Association bucket truck and crew.
The Delta County Fair wasn't always in Hotchkiss. The Colorado Historical Newspaper website reveals that the first official Delta County Fair was held in September of 1897 in Delta.
A huge chunk of the Ute Council Tree broke off early Tuesday morning, raising questions about the future of the historic landmark in North Delta. When he heard a loud crash at about 7 a.m., neighboring homeowner Ken Kothe said there was no doubt in his mind what had occurred.
For public safety, and to prevent further damage, two homestead cabins in Escalante Canyon have been closed until June 2018.
The Walker Homestead and Captain Smith's Cabin, along with a historic water wheel, are listed on Colorado's Most Endangered Places List (2013) by Colorado Preservation Inc. Efforts are underway to secure funding for restoration and interpretation of the structures, which represent the pioneer spirit of Escalante Canyon.
The Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Museum will be closed on June 10 in order to have a booth at Pioneer Days in Crawford.
Interpretive Association of Western Colorado is hosting an educational program in conjunction with its annual meeting Tuesday, April 18, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Bill Heddles Recreation Center. The free lecture series highlights the history and the heritage of Delta and the surrounding areas.
A collection of donated quilts will be on display at the museum on March 18 from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. at 180 S. 2nd Street in Hotchkiss. Admission to the museum will be free for that day.
When is a building more than a simple building, more than drywall and 2x4s, more than paint and fixtures, more than a place where spreadsheets are created and invoices billed out? The staff of ShadeScapes Americas in Hotchkiss are eager to answer those questions as they showcase their newly-renovated building this weekend.
The Hotchkiss Crawford Historical Museum was recently gifted with three antique rifles that once belonged to Hotchkiss town founder, Enos T. Hotchkiss. The rifles were a gift to the collection by Enos's great-grandson, John Hotchkiss.
A little house on Cedar Mesa has been awarded recognition with a place on the Colorado State Register of Historic Places.
The simple frame structure on Peach Road has served as home of the Cedar Mesa Community Club since 1949.
The Surface Creek Valley Historical Society's Pioneer Award for 2016 was presented to members of the Williams Family during the SCVHS annual meeting and banquet at the Stolte Shed last Saturday.
The Williams Family traces its roots in western Colorado to the mid 1880s. The first Williams Orchard was planted here in 1921.
The annual meeting of the Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. in the Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss. The speaker will be Glade Hadden, archaeologist with the Montrose office of the BLM, on the Eagle Rock archaeological site west of Hotchkiss.
Cedaredge Community United Methodist Church celebrates 120 years of spreading the gospel in the Surface Creek area in February. The public is invited to attend the festivities during a two-day celebration.
Palisade archaeologist Curtis Martin will present "The Archaeology of the Ute Indians and Their Final Years in Western Colorado," at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, at the Paonia Public Library.
Martin is principal investigator for the Colorado Wickiup Project, a program of the Dominguez Archaeological Research Group (DARG).
In the closing days of 1999, fears of Y2K mounted. Doomsayers warned that when the date turned from Dec. 31, 1999, to Jan. 1, 2000, a programming bug would shut down computers across the globe.
It's business as usual at Davis Clothing, thanks to a legion of friends who stepped in to help dust and vacuum the interior of the store after a Grand Junction woman rammed her RV through the side of the building.
Owner Brad Davis was just sitting down to his Thanksgiving meal when his phone rang shortly after 2:30 p.m.
There's an old adage that says if you don't learn from history you're bound to repeat it.
In the North Fork Valley, a small group of locals have a slightly different perspective on that: if you don't teach people about their history, that history will cease to exist.
Who was Hazel Short, what was she like, and how did she live?
Those questions have puzzled Joe and Kathryn Colwell since 1990 when they purchased 40 acres on Redlands Mesa where Short lived for almost 50 years.
Plan to attend a special presentation on Thursday, Nov. 3, to be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Bill Heddles Recreation Center in Delta, sponsored by the Delta County Historical Society. The presenter, Steven G. Baker, is an ethnohistorian and archaeologist in the western Colorado prehistoric and historic contexts.
The Cedaredge Cemetery is observing its 110th year during September as the treasured institution serves its public, preserves the community's heritage, and protects a community trust in a way that no other institution can.
The administrations of town government and demographics of the community may change over time, but the mission of stewardship that directors of the Cedaredge Cemetery District undertake does not change.
More than 150 people joined Luce Pipher and family July 23 for a centennial celebration of the Pipher homestead on Crystal Creek, south of Crawford.
Charles Herbert Pipher, aka Coyote Curley, of German descent, came to Crawford from Ohio in 1914 and homesteaded the original 160 acres beginning in 1916.
Two centuries of environmental change in western Colorado.Secrets of Kannah Creek. Archaeological finds on Cochetopa Pass. The North Branch: Digging Deeper to preserve and protect. Treacherous river crossings. The Ute Horse People. Reenactors on mules and horseback.
In 1881, Enos T. Hotchkiss, accompanied by brothers George and William Duke, became one of the earliest settlers in the North Fork Valley. They would stake claims for land and prepare to live in this new frontier. The younger brother, Edward Miles Duke, would arrive the following spring.
Though the event this year is being billed as the 81st anniversary, the Deltarado Days celebration started as a week-long event in 1920 and was called "The Annual Farmers Spree." It was held from 1920 to 1936 and was instituted when Holly Sugar was built in Delta.
Want to know where all of the rural schoolhouses were once located in the North Fork area? Maybe you'd like to learn more about the history of the area's world-famous fruit, or its rich coal mining heritage. Perhaps you just want to know how the town came to be.
The Maher-Onion Valley Community Club will host an open house from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, June 12, a the Maher Schoolhouse on Highway 92.
At the turn of the 19th century, one-room schoolhouses were common among rural communities.
Delta County has designated the Delta County segments of the Old Spanish Trail as a county historic landmark.
Delta County contains some of the only undisturbed yet recognizable tracks of the trail that exist in Colorado.
Bror Faber of Cedaredge was born in Denmark, and endured the ravages of World War II as a child in Norway.
The Faber family -- father, mother, three sons -- was living in a suburb of Oslo.
During its April 21 meeting, the Cedaredge Town Board accepted the Cedaredge High School/Elementary School onto the town's register of historic buildings.
The proposal to do so was submitted by the town's Historic Preservation Committee.
The Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society annual meeting will be held on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m. in the newly remodeled Crawford Town Hall.
The program will be a presentation by the co-author of a recently published book about the Santa Fe Trail.
On Nov. 16, the historic Bross Hotel was named to the National Register of Historic Places. The Bross, located at 312 Onarga Avenue in Paonia, was recognized for its architectural and social significance to the community.
Since the early part of the 20th century, seeing movies on the big screen has been an American tradition. The big screen came to Paonia in October 1928, when an enterprising citizen named Tom Poulos opened the Paonia Theatre on Grand Avenue.
"The war took my dad. He wasn't going to knock on my door and tell me it was all a mistake," Vicky Lehmann said during an emotional interview.
At the Delta County Museum, a World War II exhibit showcases activities on the home front to support the war effort. There's also a memorial for William "Billy" Bellmire, the Delta pilot who was killed in a training exercise at Deland Naval Air Station in Florida.
Bill Rea, a medic, landed with his platoon at Easy Red on Omaha Beach on D-Day plus-one.
Rea, a retired teacher and former Orchard City trustee, was drafted into the Army at age 19.
Norman Shetley had just completed his first year of college at Western State in Gunnison when he received his draft notice in July 1943. Shetley trained in Texas, Ohio and Kentucky prior to landing in Marseille, France, in October 1944 with the 449th Armored Field Artillery of the 14th Armored Division.
As daylight savings time ends, Coloradans are reminded of the sacrifices of war on the home front. During the Great War, Congress established a law to "preserve daylight" and conserve energy, thus ensuring ample electricity to produce the aluminum for building airplanes.
Before the trains arrived, before high-paying mining jobs, and long before construction of the Paonia Project, the industrious new arrivals to the North Fork area planted fruit trees in the rich soil.
"We have such an amazing and rich history when it comes to fruit-growing in the area," said Jaylene Park, a native Paonian whose grandfather was part of that history.
Two area farms were honored in August by History Colorado at the 2015 Colorado State Fair for remaining in operation under the same family for more than a century, despite economic, environmental, societal and other pressures.
Westesen Farm and Ranch, located near Olathe in Montrose County, was established in 1903, according to HistoryColorado.org. Carl Westesen, who immigrated to America from Denmark in 1888, owned a feed store in Denver with his wife, Maude Bishop.
Pioneer Town's Night on the Town on Saturday, June 20, was a roaring success in spite of the warm temperatures. More than 300 visitors of all ages enjoyed a great summer evening. Switching the event to a Saturday seemed to resonate well with all, especially the younger families.
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