The Virtual History Museum

A View of the Past

Louviers, Colorado – A Model for  a Company Town

The artifacts in this exhibit date from the heyday of Du Pont’s ownership of the town and dynamite manufacturing. By the early 1960s Du Pont divested itself from control of the town and deeded infrastructure to Douglas County as well as selling homes and land to the residents. 1971 saw the end of dynamite operations in Louviers but the town continues to prosper.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents

THE FISH ON THE FLOOR

This exhibit displays ‘The Fish on the Floor’. It is a piece of Colorado history from the community called Deckers, an area in the western portion of Douglas County that was a popular mineral springs and health resort in the late 1800s. Over time the Deckers Saloon became a mecca for sportsmen who came to fish in the Upper South Platte River. The Denver Water Board purchased the property in 1981 and remodeled the Deckers bar and restaurant about 1999.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents


Converse House Front

Hidden Mesa – William Converse Ranch/Grange Property

Hidden Mesa Open Space stands out as a modern remnant of Douglas County’s proud western heritage.  Today Parker Road (State Highway 83) runs along the eastern boundary and is a heavily used modern route, as in the 19th century, when wagons cut ruts and swales on the Cherokee Trail.  The 1500-acre site includes an1870s homestead; a portion of cottonwood-lined Cherry Creek; a stand of native grasses and plants complete with some true western inhabitants – prairie dogs and rattlesnakes; along with picturesque vistas of mesas and shrub lands.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents


ALLIS RANCH: GREENLAND, COLORADO : A Pioneer Ranch on the Palmer Divide

ALLIS RANCH: GREENLAND, COLORADO : A Pioneer Ranch on the Palmer Divide

This virtual exhibit is dedicated to Penny Burdick, a tireless advocate for Douglas County, Colorado history and the preparer of this landmark nomination.Douglas County’s historic Allis Ranch lies in a valley of a unique geographic feature named the Palmer Divide. This rare west/east running watershed separates several tributaries of the South Platte and Arkansas River Systems. The seven thousand foot terrain attracts storms year round providing higher annual rainfall than the surrounding area’s 17-inch average. Underground aquifers and several springs are also valuable.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents

Who walked with the Columbian mammoth in Douglas County, Colorado 13,000 years ago?

Who walked with the Columbian mammoth in Douglas County, Colorado 13,000 years ago?

The Ice Age was coming to an end and climate was warming. The mammoth, ancestral bison, three-toed sloth, sabre-toothed tiger, camel, ancestral horse were prey for humans and the weapons of choice were the spear and atlatl. As the environment changed, the large mammals went extinct and over time the people adjusted their weapons and methods of food procurement.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents


LARKSPUR BOTTLE COLLECTION: Larkspur History Through the Eyes of It's Bottles

LARKSPUR BOTTLE COLLECTION: Larkspur History Through the Eyes of It’s Bottles

Bill Fischer, of Fischer Construction, uncovered and donated twelve bottles to the Larkspur Historical Society in 2013. The collection includes six clear, four colored and two unique clay bottles, ranging in age from the late 19th century through the early 1930s. As you peruse the collection, you will see a chronological progress of the bottle industry.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents

PREHISTORIC OCCUPATION OF CHERRY CREEK: 9000 Years on the Creek

PREHISTORIC OCCUPATION OF CHERRY CREEK: 9000 Years on the Creek

Douglas County has many beautiful areas that are ideal for occupation by animals and humans. One such area is in the east-central part of the County where East Cherry Creek and West Cherry Creek merge and flow through rolling hills and meadows to steep-walled canyons. Cherry Creek provided a permanent source of water, which in turn provided many other resources needed by prehistoric peoples to survive, including: water, food, shelter, and wood for cooking and heat.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents


Ivan's Blacksmith Shop: The Smithy, A Pioneer's Best Friend

Ivan’s Blacksmith Shop: The Smithy, A Pioneer’s Best Friend

What is one the most recognizable businesses found in pioneer towns? The blacksmith shop, of course. It was an indispensable trade for a community that needed metal fittings of all kinds, domestic, farming, ranching, and commercial. In the late 1800s and early 1900s Castle Rock, Colorado had three blacksmith shops. Two of these faced the courthouse square, one to the north and one to the south. The Sanborn Fire Insurance map of 1890 has the shops on the map. Research has led to the belief that the plot #13 to the north of the courthouse is the blacksmith shop belonging to a man named George Nickson. Mr. Nickson owned the shop until the 1960s when Ivan Cramer purchased the furnishings. Mr. Cramer moved the equipment for use on his ranch on Liggett Road north of Castle Rock..

View Exhibit | Table of Contents

THE BIG DRY CREEK CHEESE RANCH 1879-1943

THE BIG DRY CREEK CHEESE RANCH 1879-1943:
The Success Story of an Early Douglas County Pioneer Family

In 1879, pioneers John Welte and Plaziduo Gassner, Austrian immigrants purchased for $700.00 the land upon which the Big Dry Creek Cheese Ranch would be built. In 1985 Mission Viejo commissioned Dr. Richard Carrillo and his staff of historical archaeologists to do an archaeological study of the Cheese Ranch prior to the demolition of the site. The history and the artifacts collected by Dr. Carrillo give us a window into a family and a business that contributed to the settlement of Douglas County and Colorado.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents


THE KENT AND MARY LOU BRANDEBERY COLLECTION

THE KENT AND MARY LOU BRANDEBERY COLLECTION:
Music and Instruments 1860s-1900s

Kent Brandebery was the band director for Douglas County High School for thirty-two years. In addition to his vocal and instrumental career in public schools, he is an avid collector of historic artifacts. One of these collections, musical instruments of the 1860s to the 1900s, is now part of the Douglas County History Repository and ready to be enjoyed by the public.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents

Prehistoric Archaic Stage: 7500 BP - 1800 BP

Prehistoric Archaic Stage: 7500 BP – 1800 BP

Archaic Stage is characterized by hunting of large and small animals and increasing use of plants. Early Archaic is characterized by large, side and corner notched dart points. Middle Archaic had stemmed, indented-base points and some large side-notched, corner notched and stemmed points. Late Archaic had large corner and side notched points.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents


Prehistoric Stage: 150 - 1540

Prehistoric Stage: 150 – 1540

Basic life systems are little changed from the Archaic Stage. People migrated in a seasonal round for their daily needs although the nomadic groups gradually grew into larger clusters and stayed in one place for longer periods of time.

Early Ceramic and Middle Ceramic periods define the suble differences in cultural artifacts. The largest technological changes are the introduction of the bow and arrow, and the manufacture and use of ceramics.

Both of these tool adoptions are reflected in the artifacts recovered from archaeological sites. Projectile points are smaller, fired clay ceramics are commonly associated with more domesicated plants. Ground stone artifacts are more numerous.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents

Gold Rush to Settlement: 1858-1950

Gold Rush to Settlement: 1858-1950

The Protohistoric Period, A.D. 1540-1860, begins with European contact and ends with settlement by EuroAmerican people who wrote down their observations of the native peoples.

The discovery of gold in Douglas County in 1858 by the Green Russell party began the gold rush era in Colorado.
Russellville Gulch along the Cherokee Trail was the site of first ‘color’. Green Russell and his group that included Cherokee Indians camped at Russellville Gulch and panned the small creek. Finding gold in amounts not worth their time, they moved on but sent word back East about the gold. Sporadic mining in the county yielded little gold but brought settlers who found other reasons to stay.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents


Agriculture, Commerce, Government: Cattle, Lumber, Potatoes and Dynamite, 1860-1950

Agriculture, Commerce, Government: Cattle, Lumber, Potatoes and Dynamite, 1860-1950

When the gold mining waned, sawmills, cattle ranching, dairying and farming became the economic mainstays. The company town of Louviers was founded by the DuPont Company for the manufacture of dynamite.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents

Guns and Ammunition: Military and Civilian 1860-1950

Guns and Ammunition: Military and Civilian 1860-1950

Once again the trail system brought Douglas County into history. Military groups formed for protection from the Indians traveled the Cherokee Trail and camped in the Russellville Gulch area. All ranchers and farmers had weapons for protection and for hunting. This exhibit will feature military weaponry, accessories and ammunition but will also have artifacts from households that show this aspect of how the family or community lived.

View Exhibit | Table of Contents