Happenings

Jefferson County Historical Commission and History Jeffco's Annual Hall of Fame Celebration 2022 and Historically Jeffco Magazine

On Wednesday, October 12, 2022, the Jefferson County Historical Commission and History Jeffco held the annual Hall of Fame celebration in the beautiful and historic Buffalo Rose, in Golden Colorado. The Historical Commission is a volunteer commission and its members, representing every part of the County, are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners. History Jeffco is a Colorado non-profit also comprised of volunteers who are passionate about preserving local history. Both organizations aim to preserve Jeffco’s heritage, protect its historical sites, and celebrate the people and places that make the County rich, diverse and significant. 

The thJohn Litzeme for this year’s Historically Jeffco Magazine and other events centered on “people and places that matter.” Following those themes, two new members were inducted into the Jefferson County Hall of Fame. The contemporary member is John Litz, recognized for his long years of service to preserving open space in Jefferson County. Mr. Litz was an original member of Plan Jeffco, the group that organized the campaign to create Jefferson County Open Space through a ballot initiative. Mr. Litz was also heavily involved in Kiwanis and other service organizations.

This year’s historical inductees to the Hall of Fame are a group of three Golden Pioneer woman known as The Honored Mothers of Golden

Honored Mothers of GoldenArtist Lynette Vaughan's interpretation of the Honored Mothers of Golden (cropped version).

Jeannette “Netty” Ferrell was one of the first settlors of Golden. Along with her husband, Netty was the coproprietor of the “Miners Hotel”, built alongside the Clear Creek River in the area where the current-day Washington Bridge stands. Netty was likely Golden’s first female business owner and among Jefferson County’s first business proprietors overall. 

Helen Ferrell Berthoud was the daughter of Netty Ferrell and wife of well-known surveyor Edward Berthoud. Credited with helping save Golden from the lawlessness that plagued Denver and other gold rush communities, through her “influence and little acts of motherly and sisterly kindness,” Helen helped her parents run the Miner’s Hotel and was known in her own right for her enduring legacy of service to the troops. Helen served as a nurse on the front lines during the Civil War. After the war, Helen continued her service as an officer and member of the Women's Relief Corps. Following her death, Helen’s husband Edward carried out her idea to build a home for soldiers, sailors, and marines, who served the United States. He named it the “Helen Berthoud hospital” in Helen’s honor. 

Mary Sharp Clow Boyd was another calming influence on the rowdy Golden pioneers—described by publisher George West as having a far-reaching and undeniable influence, “making [Golden] one of the most orderly of all the camps in this whole mountain region.” Mary Boyd and her husband were among the pioneer farmers of Golden, growing wheat (among other things), in the place that would become known as Wheat Ridge. Mary joined with other ladies of Golden to form the “Ladies' Samaritan Society,” Golden's first health organization, "for the purpose of alleviating the sufferings of strangers who may be sick among us" and served as the President of the society. Mary was also a founding member of Calvary Church where she helped organize another ladies' society, the Mite Society, which successfully raised funds to give Calvary its first organ. 

Staunton Cabin, restored by HistoriCorps

HistoriCorps crew at Staunton Cabin. Photo courtesy of HistoriCorps.

meyer award 2022The Historical Commission’s Norm and Ethel Meyer Historic Preservation Award went to HistoriCorps, for their outstanding efforts at creating a sustainable organization dedicated to preserving historic places and inspiring and training the next generation of preservationists. HistoriCorps is headquartered in the historic CCC Camp in Morrisson, and has been involved in historic preservation projects across Colorado and throughout the country.

The Historical Commission also designates Jefferson County historical landmarks, and this year’s new landmark is the Centennial House in Golden Gate Canyon. Built in 1876, the Centennial House is one of Jefferson County’s oldest remaining stone waystations and is now owned by Jefferson County Open Space. The House was originally used as a family-run inn hosting stage passengers and freight wagon drivers making their way up Golden Gate Canyon to the mining towns of Black Hawk and Central City. Centennial House later became a single-family home on a cattle ranch. The House retained its tradition of hospitality as a community center, serving as a gathering place for the Golden Gate Canyon community, and hosting meetings of organizations including a local ladies group called the Columbine Club, which was focused on home economics and community improvement.

Centennial House with original horse trough from JCOS ArchivesCentennial House, photo courtesy of Jefferson County Open Space.

Historically Jeffco Magazine 2021 Cover Opens in new windowThe Historical Commission’s current issue of its annual magazine, Historically Jeffco, was unveiled at the Hall of Fame celebration. The magazine carried through the theme of “people and places that matter,” including articles on Jeffco’s shared history with its neighboring counties including that of Gilpin County’s black resort community Lincoln Hills, the Arnold Family legacy, the three Ralston stations and the Astor House in Golden. 

You can read more about all of the award winners and Jeffco’s people and places that matter in 2022 edition of Historically Jeffco Magazine. Copies of the magazine, along with past issues, can be accessed for free online at Historical Publications.

Jefferson County Historical Commission informs about Jefferson County history in other ways besides the magazine, including its Facebook page, web site, YouTube channel, annual Historic Preservation Symposium, and the Hall of Fame event.

Contact the Jefferson County Historical Commission with any questions.  

Jefferson County Historical Commission's Historic Preservation Symposium

On Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 8am., the Jefferson County Historical Commission debuted its annual Historic Preservation Symposium. Three programs will explore the fascinating story of Jefferson County history and how it is being preserved. This virtual presentation is available on the Commission’s YouTube channel.

To access the Symposium, go to Youtube, log onto the site using the link, then choose Playlists and from there go to Symposium 2022. Each program runs for 8-15 minutes, plus there is an introduction by Commission Chair, Dick Scudder. The programs and presenters include:

“The Centennial House: Jefferson County Historical 2022 Landmark Nomination”

Centennial HouseCentennial House, ca. 1880-1890. Image courtesy of Denver Public Library.

Centennial House is located in Colorado’s first capital, Golden, welcoming visitors to Golden Gate Canyon since 1872. Witnessing the transition from the gold rush to cattle farming, the Centennial House has a rich history, with intact architectural and historic features that make the structure our 2022 Landmark Nomination. Kelly Cvanciger is an educator at Bear Creek High School where she has taught in the social studies department for 21 years. Kelly serves as a Jefferson County Commission member, city of Lakewood Historic Preservation Commission member, and a National History Day Board member. Kelly continues to work to preserve Jefferson County’s past, engaging the community in an effort to preserve our history. 

“Dinosaur Ridge: Morrison-Golden Fossil Areas National Natural Landmark”

This video called “Morrison-Golden Fossil Areas National Natural Landmark” features overviews of two Jefferson County sites known as Dinosaur Ridge and Triceratops Trail. These are two places that matter because of their scientific and historical significance, and are described by two people who matter: Erin LaCount, Dinosaur Ridge’s longest serving staff member, and paleontologist Dr. Martin Lockley who is world renown for his research on dinosaur tracks like those you are about to see. Erin and Martin discuss the Cretaceous and Jurassic aged dinosaur tracks and fossils found at these locations, and why they are important to scientists who study dinosaurs, along with anyone who appreciates the ability to see for themselves the fossil record of the prehistoric giants that once lived here- set in the sandstone right where they were found.

 “From Toll Road to Highway: The History of Colorado Highway 74”

Map of the Bear Creek Toll RoadHighlighted on this historic trail map is the Bear Creek Wagon Road from Evergreen through Starbuck (later renamed Idledale) to Morrison. Image courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior/USGS, Glenn R. Scott, Historic Trail Map of the Denver 1o x 2o Quadrangle, Central Colorado. 

From Toll Road to Highway uncovers the history of the Bear Creek Wagon Trail, from its beginnings in 1872 as a treacherous road that flooded annually, to a road that provided stage coach trips from Morrison to points west. Converted to a formal highway in 1912, the road served as a gateway to the foothills, through the Bear Creek canyon, envisioned by its founder George Morrison. Presenter Mark Joyce has an intense interest in the history of his corner of Colorado. Mark is a board member of the Evergreen Mountain Area Historical Society and the current Treasurer of the Society. He is also a member of History Colorado and the Colorado Geological Survey. With his wife, Mark is rebuilding a 1933 cabin overlooking Bear Creek.

Jefferson County Historical Commission is a volunteer commission appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and tasked with encouraging stewardship of Jefferson County history. It does this through assisting County government, historical societies and museums, and property owners in preservation efforts, and disseminating information about County history. The Commission publishes an annual magazine, Historically Jeffco. For more information, visit our website or contact the Jefferson County Historical Commission.  

How to Get Your Copy of Historically Jeffco

All issues of Historically Jeffco are available for free download on our Historical Publications page. A limited number of hard copies are available at the Planning & Zoning Division office (100 Jefferson County Pkwy, Suite 3550, in the Jefferson County Courthouse).

Past issues of the magazine in hard copy format may be purchased through the Friends of the JCHC with proceeds going to fund JCHC programs and events. For details, please contact us.

We're in Search of Historic Landmarks

Morrison Schoolhouse, a Jefferson County LandmarkMorrison Schoolhouse, Jefferson County Landmark

Is your home, ranch or business one of the gems of Jefferson County’s long and diverse heritage? Let the Jefferson County Historical Commission (JCHC) know and see if it's eligible for local landmark status! Each year the JCHC Historic Preservation and Landmarks Committee chooses one or more special places to spotlight at its annual Hall of Fame event and include in its Historically Jeffco magazine.  Applications are accepted throughout the year. 

In the last few years, successful nominations have included the Arvada Jaycee Hall, Lazy J Ranch near Morrison, and Center Stage theater in Evergreen. Designation as a County Landmark not only recognizes the property’s importance without placing restrictions on its owners but helps pave a pathway to grants and tax credits to enhance preservation and renovation efforts.

For more information on JCHC and criteria for its Landmark Designation Program, visit the Historical Programs web page. Here you will find a comprehensive overview of the Commission, the Landmark program and the application form. We look forward to reviewing your submission and hopefully welcoming your site as the latest proud addition to the list of Jefferson County Landmarks!  

Please contact the JCHC Chair with any additional questions!