The Wigwam Teahouse

Anna’s Cabin                                        The Teahouse

 

 Anna WolfromWhat might motivate a single female teacher from Kansas City to move to the Rocky Mountains in 1907? The Homestead Act of 1862 required an individual to stay on the land, build a structure, raise crops or animals and pay $10.00. Once the homesteader spent five years ‘proving up’, they still needed two neighbors to testify before they owned 160 acres.

Look back to 1907-1912, when Anna was working to improve her claim. There was not a National Park in the vicinity of Anna Wolfrom’s claim. She needed help clearing trees and hauling supplies to a steep site in a wheel barrow. Women were still fighting for the right to vote in U.S. elections, despite Coloradoans passing women’s suffrage in 1893. In fact, stories about the west were mostly about male pioneers, explorers, miners, missionaries and soldiers.

Anna Wolfrom was well-educated, studying in the United States and France. She may have known, she was making herstory. At age 35, she decided not to pin her hopes on marriage. Instead, she chose to become a landowner and independent woman.

Her property was between the YMCA in Estes Park and Lily Lake, three miles from the road to Lyons. She put herself on the map by building a teahouse and curio shop for people traveling along this rugged trail. Construction continued for two years, 1913 – 1914. Rocky Mountain National Park was dedicated on September 4, 1915. Serving tea and cakes in the wilderness was quite popular. She added on to her teahouse in 1921. One of her visitors was Dr. Orville Dove of Kansas City who fell in love with the mountains and the first woman homesteader in Estes Park. At age 51, Anna Wolfrom married Dr. Dove. When asked how she liked being married, she replied, “It beats teaching school.”

You can still hike to the site of the Wigwam Teahouse from Lily Lake, but you’ll need a current map and time to complete a 4.7-mile hike. Bring your own snacks and water, since the teahouse has been closed for close to a century. You can also see more photos and artifacts at the Estes Park Museum, at 200 Fourth St. which is open seven days a week.

Anna Wolfrom was too busy to write a book about her life. Fortunately, Marcia Meredith Hensley wrote Staking Her Claim and included the story of a neighbor who was inspired by Anna Wolfrom. Katherine Garetson moved to the area near Allenspark in 1914 and built the Big Owl Teahouse. She left details of a single woman’s life in the Rocky Mountains which paint a vivid picture of the time and place.

 

 

 

 

         

 

 

         

Look Who is Coming to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area

Soapstone Prairie
Residents of Northern Colorado often think of their ancestors as the earliest people who lived on the land. Prior to the pioneers, however, there were indigenous people who thrived here by hunting abundant wildlife and gathering naturally growing food. How many of us truly understand the historical time during which early humans survived in this area?
In this photo you can see a gorge which was excavated by the Smithsonian Institute and proved that humans occupied this land since the end of the last ice age, 12,000 years ago. Clovis points from spears prove early man hunted prehistoric animals in this area. The Lindenmeir Site is not being explored further. Instead the land is preserved.
On November 1, 2015, ten genetically pure American bison will be moved to the unspoiled grassland in hopes of preserving one of the few bison who have not been crossbred with cattle or infected with a disease carried by the Yellowstone bison.
This herd of bison are the largest land animals in North America and will be fenced and protected on 1,000 acres of public land.
To learn more about the trails and programs at Soapstone Prairie and Red Mountain Open space go to: naturalareas@fcgov.com
This park is only open from March 1 – November 30.

Residents of Northern Colorado often think of their ancestors as the earliest people who lived on the land. Prior to the pioneers, however, there were indigenous people who thrived here by hunting abundant wildlife and gathering naturally growing food. How many of us truly understand the historical time during which early humans survived in this area?
In this photo you can see a gorge which was excavated by the Smithsonian Institute and proved that humans occupied this land since the end of the last ice age, 12,000 years ago. Clovis points from spears prove early man hunted prehistoric animals in this area. The Lindenmeir Site is not being explored further. Instead the land is preserved.
On November 1, 2015, ten genetically pure American bison will be moved to the unspoiled grassland in hopes of preserving one of the few bison who have not been crossbred with cattle or infected with a disease carried by the Yellowstone bison.
This herd of bison are the largest land animals in North America and will be fenced and protected on 1,000 acres of public land.
To learn more about the trails and programs at Soapstone Prairie and Red Mountain Open space go to: naturalareas@fcgov.com
This park is only open from March 1 – November 30.

American Bison

Lone Tree – One-Room Schools Live On

20150520_162139_001 20150520_150822 20150520_150754 Lone Tree School, built in 1883, is an authentic example of a one-room schoolhouse. For thirty seven years it was where students of all ages learned reading, writing and ‘rithmatic. They also learned patience and perseverance while one teacher delivered brief lessons to children in each grade and followed up with oral assessments.
In these photos you can observe an old-fashioned ice cream social at the reconstructed Lone Tree School in North Lake Park, 29th St. and Taft Ave., Loveland, Colorado. The Loveland Historical Society provides refreshments, tours, and activities free of charge. You can also sign students up for the ultimate living history experience during one of three summer sessions. Go to: https://d1li5256ypm7oi.cloudfront.net/lovelandmuseumgallery/2015/04/2015-Lone-Tree-Registration.pdf
Lake Loveland and horseshoe pits are currently in the school’s yard. There are also playground and picnic areas across the street. During the Fourth of July Celebration and Loveland Art Festival there will be a children’s railroad offering rides.
Take time to imagine life in Loveland 100 years ago. Automobiles and railroads were still a novelty to pioneers. People in Northern Colorado grew much of their own food and worked tirelessly to care for their animals and land.
What would you like to know about life in Loveland during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s?

Cache la Poudre River

20141203_102528 Cache la Poudre The Cherokee Trail was forged in 1849 by a group of Cherokee Indians who were discontent with their reservation lives in Oklahoma. They chose to travel to California to search for gold. They created a new path from Bent’s Fort in southeastern Colorado to the popular trail leading wagons to Fort Bridger in southwestern Wyoming. Seeking the easiest route, they followed the Cache La Poudre River north until it joined the Platte River. Although the Oregon Trail was well-used during the years from 1843 until the Union Pacific Railroad was completed in 1869, the Cherokee Trail also became an important link between the Santa Fe Trail and the northern route to California.
The small settlement of La Porte, Colorado offered the best ford across the Poudre River. Wagon ruts are still visible in La Porte, revealing a trail which headed almost straight north to Virginia Dale from the crossing.
As you view the photos, imagine the Cherokees holding their breath as they explored the safest place for oxen and horses to drag wagons across. If the trees were as bare as these, they would also be searching for shelter during the winter and delay the difficult trip west across Wyoming and into the Rocky Mountains.
Cache la Poudre is French for “hide the powder” and La Porte is French for “the door”. In the 1820s, French trappers were caught in a snowstorm and had to bury their gunpowder along the banks of this river.
In 1864, the river flooded in La Porte and destroyed the military post, Camp Collins. When the post was moved and rebuilt, it was named Fort Collins.
If you follow the Cache la Poudre to its source in Rocky Mountain National Park, you will understand why it was an important travel route since prehistoric times. Archeologists have found evidence of tipi rings, rock shelters, fire hearths and burial sites.
If you were able to camp along the river, would you plan to hike, raft, hunt, fish, set off on horseback, hear a concert at Mishawaka or just have a picnic?
20141203_102011 Cache la Poudre

Lake Haiyaha

The trail to this natural wonder requires some strength of mind and body. Beginning at the popular Bear Lake trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park a person can hike to Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Dream Lake and finally find the uphill climb to Lake Haiyaha. You can boast about the completion of a 4.2 mile hike, out and back. The name comes from the Arapaho Indian language meaning rocks. Be prepared to climb over some huge boulders to gain a view of this hidden lake.
Arapaho Indians lived in southeastern Wyoming and eastern Colorado during the 1800’s when white men began to settle the western territories. They were known for their beadwork, bravery and buffalo hunting. Today the Arapaho live in Oklahoma and on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.
Think about Enos Mills and F.O. Stanley, who were determined to protect this area by establishing Rocky Mountain National Park in 1915. Why did they choose an Indian word for one of the 150 lakes in the park? Can you name other places which use the word Arapaho?
20140917_095645

The Place of the Supreme Deity, Neahkahnie Mtn.

Neahkahnie Mountain

Neahkahnie Mountain

As you hike the 2.5 mile trail from the Coast Road parking area to the 1,634 foot high summit of Neahkahnie Mountain, imagine the Tillamook Indians who named this place and depended on the large trees, deer and elk which thrive here. Long before Spanish explorers landed on the beach, now known as Oswald West State Park, natives knew how to harvest the treasures found here. They set fires to clear the trees. As sunshine appeared on the fertile slopes, tender vegetation grew and attracted large animals.
In the late 1800’s, pioneers followed the same practice to create grazing land for cattle and sheep. At least one major forest fire developed on Neahkahnie during the Tillamook Burn of 1930. Due to the favorable temperatures along the Pacific Coast, the forest regenerates quickly.
Archeologists and treasure hunters have been curious about Neahkahnie Mountain due to a legend about Spanish gold being buried there in the 1600’s. In fact some Spanish artifacts from the 1870’s were found. It is no longer legal to dig anywhere on or near the mountain. You can experience gold fever, however; a movie, “Tillamook Treasure” was filmed there in 2006.
Some writers also consider Neahkahnie Mountain as sacred. In the past Soapstone Writers have offered a quiet retreat house near the mountain to writers who send a convincing application.
The real treasure of Neahkahnie is the view from the peak. You might make a loop by hiking from the north or south, continuing down the other side and returning to your start by walking one mile along Highway 101.

View of Manzanita Beach from Neahkahnie Mtn.

View of Manzanita Beach from Neahkahnie Mtn.

Yucca, soapweed or Spanish bayonet

photo of yucca plant
This plant grows in sunny places all over Colorado. It was important to the Indians because its sturdy leaves were woven to make sandals, mats and baskets. The sharp tips and strong fibers were also useful for piercing meat and hanging it to dry.

When rubbed with water, yucca roots make soap and shampoo. Native Americans bathed often in streams and always prepared for ceremonies by cleaning thoroughly with soapweed or yucca roots.

Yucca seeds served as a mild laxative when early people needed to clear their digestive system. The fruit was harvested and eaten by Ute Indians.

Dried yucca leaves have fibers which ignite easily. They were saved for fire starters when Indians were dependent on friction between sticks and rocks.

The next time you swat at an annoying Pronuba moth remember that yucca plants can only be pollinated by this insect while its cream-colored flowers are in bloom.