During the first half of the Twentieth Century, Broomfield wasn’t big on growth. The 1900 census for the area had about four pages; the 1940 census blossomed to about six pages. It was a farm community with a small town center, the area we now call Old Broomfield. Younger children attended the Lorraine School or later the Broomfield School. When kids hit high school, the parents had to scramble about for a school in another town that would take the kids, then figure out a way to get them there.
Beverly and Burton Brewer are twins who grew up on one of the Zang Ranch homesteads in the latter part of that period. Born in Boulder in 1929, they spent most of their lives in Broomfield or nearby towns, with a brief and tragic side-excursion to California during the height of the Depression. Their father, Bill Brewer, died there in a truck explosion, after which their mother Maude brought them back home. In 1937, Maude married another local boy with deep roots in the area, Carl Archer, who soon went to work as a ranch foreman for the Zang family, and later the Biddles who bought the ranch from the Zangs.
The Zang homestead where the Brewer kids grew up was located approximately where today’s Midway Park sits. The ditch that now runs through Midway Park ran through their homestead. Beverly has vivid memories of the endless struggles over water during those years. The water in their well had been deemed undrinkable, so about once a month they drove a water wagon over to the well at the other Zang homestead (on today’s Poppy Way), fill up the tank with water, and haul it back to their cistern. Both of the twins attended first the Lorraine School, then the Broomfield School, and finally Lafayette High School. After school, they helped out on the farm.
Beginning when she was in high school in the mid-1940s, Beverly Brewer worked for over a decade at the Broomfield Telephone Exchange as an operator. Most Broomfielders were on a party line at the time, with eight or nine families sharing a single line. Built in 1920, the charming telephone exchange building was located at 120th and Lowell but was torn down in 2011.
After World War II ended, Bev married a local boy, Ed Hansen, whom she originally met at Lafayette High. The Hansens operated a hog farm for several decades, located where the Safeway now stands at the corner of 128th and Zuni. After their marriage, Bev and Ed took over the farm from Ed’s father and ran a local garbage service for many years. The used a special process to “cook” the collected garbage, then fed the results to the hogs. The ditch and pond there are today all that remain of the farm. Family members say that in later years, Ed Hansen was unable to drive by the old pond without remarking, “Shot many a duck there!”
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