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6/13/2013 Peaks of the Past

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

100 Years Ago – 1913

The mocking-bird whistle at the Bismuth Mine is once more being heard, indicating that this once famous little mining property is again being worked. On inquiry we find that the mine is being worked this time by a company, a branch of The Vicksburg Mining and Development Company of Vicksburg. Drifting to further exploit the ground is the nature of the work being done at present.

W.H. Meriwether of La Belle, Missouri, the past week had his first parties into the Valley this season. After looking the Valley over and conversing with many people in both Valley and town, these gentlemen were favorably impressed with the outlook, in fact were delighted. This is the first season that the summer tourist railroad rates apply from the east, which means much for the Valley. Mr. Meriwether and his party last Sunday morning took a little jaunt to the top of Round Mountain, where almost the whole Valley could be viewed at once, and the scene presented was one which will last long in their memories.

The regular June term of the district court is being held here this week with District Judge Charles A. Wilkin on the bench. E.T. Wadleigh, Joseph Georges and Joseph Armstrong, applicants for citizenship, were granted same by the court.

Mr. Otto G. Oelrich and Miss Ella Erps were united in marriage on Wednesday morning last, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. Huxhold in the Valley. The happy young couple immediately came to town and here secured an automobile which took them to Hillside where they boarded the train for Pueblo and Denver on their wedding trip.

50 Years Ago – 1963

Members of the Intermountain Highway association met here Saturday at the Westcliffe Hotel and decided to again become active in efforts to get improvements on Highway 69 south of town. Those from Custer County present were Mrs. Anna Hanssen, Mrs. Genevieve Stewart, Mrs. Lois Ferron, Jim Christoff, Gerry Smith, Earl Cress and Mr. and Mrs. Joe Payton.

Darlene Hobby, senior student at Custer County high school, has been awarded a trophy from a national shortening manufacturer for outstanding work in home economics. The coveted gold trophy was presented to Darlene on class night by Mrs. N.D. Riggs. Darlene is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Hobby, Jr.

The Colorado Fuel & Iron Corp. of Pueblo gave a retirement party at Lake Short Club in Pueblo last week, honoring Henry W. Hanssen who had worked for CF&I since 1923. Henry was born in Silver Cliff in 1899 and spent the early part of his life there. He worked for a while freighting ore and then operated the Westcliffe power plant for three years prior to coming to work for CF&I. He started in the by-products section of the coke plant as a pump man. In 1938 he was promoted to creosote foreman. He was made relief foreman in the ovens section in 1947 and in 1954 was promoted to plant turn foreman. Henry and his wife, Agnes, live in pueblo with their son, Dale.

25 Years Ago – 1988

While the possible closing of the Conquistador Ski Area would be an economic blow to Custer County, the long-term financial health of the Wet Mountain Valley should nonetheless remain strong. That was the message of Colorado Governor Roy Romer who visited Westcliffe Monday with 20 of his key staffers and cabinet members. Gov. Romer said the Valley’s traditional economic base – ranching and agriculture – will continue to play an important role as we enter the 21st century. And, he said, tourism will have an increasingly strong impact on future economic growth here.

Governor Romer’s press secretary said Wednesday that the governor and his staff were very pleased with their “Dome on the Range” visit to Custer County this past Monday. “It was a good trip; everyone commented on the beauty of the place and how warm and friendly everyone was,” said Lana Fry, Romer’s press aide. “More importantly, we learned a lot about the area.”

Employees of Geller Construction this week have torn out the east wall of the elementary school and began pouring the cement for the school’s new addition. Five of the classrooms will be enlarged and each classroom will have new storage cabinets, a sink and an exterior door as a result of the $189,000 project. Enrollment at Custer County Schools, grades kindergarten through 12th, has grown from about 200 to 320 in the last ten years, mostly in the lower grades, said superintendent Dick Wilson.

10 Years Ago – 2003

One year after the Iron Mountain Fire consumed more than 4,400 acres of land and destroyed more than 200 homes and structures, families, volunteers and various agencies are continuing to work together to rebuild. The fire started June 2, 2002, in the Fremont County subdivisions of Copper Gulch, Cody Park, Glen Vista, Iron Mountain and Colorado Acres.

The end of the school year is here, and the five outstanding foreign exchange students who attended Custer County High School are saying their goodbyes. Those students are Yuki Yoshimoto of Japan, Sonya Arzumanova of Russia, Joschka Schmidt of Germany, Anastasiya Kulifeeva of Russia, and Aya Kizuka of Japan.

Stan and Irene Francis of Rosita will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on June 20. They were married June 20, 1953 in Antioch, Ill.

5 Years Ago – 2008

A June snowstorm left an accumulation of several inches of snow in the high country last Thursday. The white stuff melted quickly and spring returned on Friday.

A presentation to consider a request by Dr. Robert Hamilton of Wetmore for a special use permit to operate a commercial venture for property he owns at the intersection of Highways 96 and 67 in Wetmore will be considered by the county commissioners at a public hearing to be held next Wednesday. Uses stated in Hamilton’s original application include a feed store, veterinary clinic, propane transfer station, offices, a medical facility, a farm and ranch supply store and a convenience store among others.

Live music, jack leg drilling demonstrations, hay rides and a scavenger hunt will be among the activities offered this weekend during the annual Mining and Heritage Days celebration in Silver Cliff.

1 Year Ago – 2012

Retired Army General Joe Arbuckle is the new chair of the West Custer County Hospital District board, and Dave Noble has resigned from his board position in order to apply for the executive directorship vacated by Terry Nimnicht in late May. The action took place during the board’s June 7 meeting.

VALI Assisted Living is planning an open house later this month to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the opening of the facility. Current VALI board members are Jennie Baily, Pam Camper, Deborah Christie, Beth Green, Robert Kattnig, Karen LeBlond, Mary Ellen LeSage, Janet Scura, Jan Sloan and Sandy Sunsen.

Funeral services were held Tuesday in Fowler for Valley native Julie Ann (Vickerman) Pharr, late of Fowler. Mrs. Pharr died May 30 at age 57 following a lingering illness.