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1/17/2013 Peaks of the Past

(Information was gleaned from copies of the Wet Mountain Tribune, all from the third week in January.)

100 Years Ago – 1913

Professor Carl Wulsten passed away at his home in Rosita on Friday evening last, after a lingering illness of chronic bronchitis, aged 79 years. Deceased was a native of Germany and came to America when quite a young man. It was he who organized the Germany colony in Chicago and settled this Valley in 1870 and Mr. Wulsten as the head of this enterprise had one of the most sweeping government commands of any of the Western pioneers. Mr. Wulsten and his band of followers into this Valley did not get along well together and while they settled the Valley he took to mining in Rosita which a little later sprung into prominence as a mining camp. Later Silver Cliff was discovered and he took up his residence there for a number of years. He then went to Aspen and spent a few years, later returning to Silver Cliff and finally to Rosita where he spent his last days. The great majority of the colonists Mr. Wulsten brought here, although suffering great privation when they first entered the Valley, in a few years became independently well off. But for him who led the way into this, then wilderness, there was little of fortune, although he did make a comfortable stake at mining, which he in turn, like many another, put into the ground again in his search for greater riches, his ambition to develop the mining resources of the country being far in excess of his own interests and welfare. He was a very scholarly man, being a graduate of Berlin University. He was an assayer, chemist and mineralogist and he wrote many scientific articles for the mining journals that were copied all over the country. He was ever optimistic of the resources of Custer County and his great ambition was to reveal the latent resources he believed to abound here. He is survived by the widow, a daughter and son, Mrs. Wulsten and the daughter arriving here Monday evening, a day after the funeral which took place at Rosita on Sunday last. The remains were laid to rest in the Rosita cemetery.

50 Years Ago – 1963

Some of the coldest weather in recent years and the coldest that many residents of Custer County have ever experienced visited the area last week. Official weather observer Marvin Rankin was unable to stop the downward plunge of the thermometer until it registered a minus 41 degrees last Saturday. Rankin thinks it happens about this time every year because on Jan. 10, 1962 he registered a 38 below.

The seven room modern home of Mr. and Mrs. Les Schulze in the Antelope district southeast of town was destroyed by fire of undetermined origin Wednesday morning. Nothing was saved from the fire which was not discovered until it had completely enveloped the house. Myrtle was in the living room cleaning ashes from a stoker when she turned to see one entire wall of the room in flames. She raced out to call Les who was at the barn feeding the livestock. He ran to the house, went in to try to summon help by a two-way radio, but the heat was so intense he had to leave immediately. The Schulzes have four children in school, Claricy Ann in the seventh grade, Leslie in the fourth, Cindy in the third and Tommy in first grade. Members of the Westcliffe Volunteer Fire Department went to the scene but the home had been destroyed before they could reach it.

25 Years Ago – 1988

Art Gaide will serve as president of the Custer County Chamber of Commerce for 1988. Other officers for the coming year are Bob Halenda, Doris Porth and Mike Finney. Outgoing officers are president Carla Bowlds, Lynn Butler, Ed Gant and Corinne Chockie.

The C-1 board of education has awarded a contract to Westcliffe Petroleum to buy diesel fuel for the coming year. The local service station submitted the lone bid at 54.5 cents per gallon.

There are mountains of snow around town that could provide some competition to the Conquistador Ski Area. Among the more notable piles created by the street-shoveling crews in Westcliffe are Vickerman Peak in front of the Wilbur Vickerman house, and Myrt Mountain just across from Jim and Myrt Christoff’s home.

10 Years Ago – 2003

A 37-year-old Penrose man has been charged with burglary, theft and other charges related to a series of recent break-ins of units at Wet Mountain Storage in Westcliffe. Some $10,000 in stolen goods was recovered by Sheriff Fred Jobe following the search of two Penrose businesses.

James Sperry has been named district conservationist for the Natural Resource Conservation Service office in Silver Cliff. Sperry comes to the Valley from Saguache County; he replaces Charles Beard who retired last year after five years of service here.

Claricy Rusk, vice president of the Custer Soil Conservation District, has been selected to participate in the first Colorado Conservation Leadership Program. The 14-month program gets underway this Saturday, when Rusk and 13 others chosen from conservation districts throughout Colorado gather at the state capitol in Denver. In early 2004, Rusk will attend the national conservation district conference in Hawaii, and she’ll travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with congressional leaders.

Long-time Valley visitors Earl and Allene Phillips of Wichita Falls, Texas, will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary next Friday with an open house at their home, hosted by their six children.

5 Years Ago – 2008

District 3 Republican county commissioner Kit Shy announced this week that he will not be seeking a second term in office. GOP county chair Bob Senderhauf said Shy cited personal reasons for the decision.

The Wet Mountain Valley Community Foundation has announced that more than $135,000 will be distributed to 50 local non-profit organizations as a result of the recent fourth annual Community Spirit matching funds campaign. More than 400 donors contributed to this year’s campaign.

Valley residents Monty and Terry Lee and family trekked to California last week to help Terry’s grandmother, Doris Ophelia Decker-Beckwith, celebrate her 100th birthday.

1 Year Ago – 2012

Custer County zoning office director Jackie Hobby reports the number of dwelling permits issued in 2011 was up from the previous year. Zoning permits issued for new home construction in 2011 totaled 62 compared to 55 in 2010, an increase of more than 12 percent.

The town of Westcliffe has announced a series of special events this coming year to commemorate the town’s 125th anniversary. Westcliffe was founded on July 30, 1887.

The Valley’s own Gushikawa will perform her sword dance during this weekend’s Chinese New Year celebration at the City Auditorium in Colorado Springs. This marks the year of the dragon in the Chinese calendar.