Town of Erie was originally called Coal Park

The article first appeared in the Broomfield Enterprise.

One of the oldest platted settlements in our region is the town of Erie, originally called Coal Park. In the 1860s, the area along Coal Creek as it meandered across the prairie was settled by a few hardy farmers. These isolated souls were connected only by crude wagon roads and by a stagecoach service along the Cherokee Trail, also known as the Overland Stage Route, which roughly followed today’s Highway 287. Homesteaders made good use of surface coal beds that dotted the plains and some ambitious folks earned a few extra dollars by gathering up the stuff and delivering it to customers by wagon. Continue reading

The Birth of a 1950s Suburb: Broomfield Heights

This article first appeared in The Broomfield Enterprise.

In August of 1955, the Boulder Daily Camera announced the creation of a sparkling new city located in the countryside between Denver and Boulder called “Broomfield Heights.”

The modern new city was located on the sprawling Zang property, known as the Elmwood Stock Farm or Elmwood Ranch. Continue reading

Cherokee Trail was early road through Colorado

This article first appeared in the Broomfield Enterprise (May 20, 2007).

Back in 1849, a wagon train came through the front range of Colorado, which was then described as a “howling wilderness,” sparsely populated by the Arapaho and Cheyenne.  In a collaboration that must have been unusual, the wagon train consisted of members of the Cherokee Nation  and white pioneers. Continue reading

Semper Farm last remnants of old village of Semper

This article first appeared in the Broomfield Enterprise.

Just east of Wadsworth Boulevard, tucked away behind a bank of old growth trees at Pierce Street and 92nd Avenue, is a charming spot called Semper Farm. Continue reading

Train softened hard limits of early living

This article first appeared in the Broomfield Enterprise (Jan. 18, 2009).

I am one of those people eagerly awaiting a Fastrax line through Broomfield. I envision a stress-free zip up to Denver or downtown Boulder. I’ll sit by the window with a good book and listen to the pleasant clickety-clack. No parking hassles, nobody cutting me off, no traffic jams. Continue reading

Colorado pioneers mostly came in a wagon — the slow way

This article first appeared in the Broomfield Enterprise (Oct 21, 2007).

Those of you who are as ancient as I am might remember the old TV series, “Wagon Train.” The program showed the adventures of a group of hardy pioneers heading west in search of new lives. Continue reading

Age of stagecoach was full of adventure

This article first appeared in slightly altered form in the Broomfield Enterprise (12/16/07).

For a brief period in the wilds that became Colorado, the stage coach was king. During the 1860s, the Rocky Mountain News advertised Overland Stage coaches leaving Denver every morning at 8 a.m. for a five day trip to Salt Lake and on to California. Continue reading

Colorado’s northern coal field fueled local economy for 120 years

Article originally published in The Broomfield Enterprise (8/16/2009).

Looking out across the rolling plains of the front range region, you’d never guess what lies beneath: hundreds of now-empty caverns and passageways that once held millions of tons of coal. Continue reading