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Ambitious pictorial history delivers Jeffco saga in detail

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Resident brings to life 150 years of local lore in photos, stories, landmarks, landscapes

By Vicky Gits

How many know that the scar above the Chimney Creek Condominiums in Genesee is where the Denver Ski Club built a ski jump in 1921?

The fascinating history of Jefferson County from the pioneer days to the Bucksnort Saloon, Lockheed Martin and suburban housing developments, is obsessively chronicled in “Jefferson County, Colorado: A Unique and Eventful History.”

Written mostly by longtime Lookout Mountain resident Carole Lomond, and published just in time for Christmas giving, “Jefferson County” is a massive tome, weighing in at 4 pounds, 654 pages and 2,000 photos.

Lomond had printed 5,000 copies locally and has sold 1,500 in about three weeks, she said. The book is available at HearthFire Books in Evergreen, Mountain Books in Conifer, Clear Creek Books in Golden, Barnes & Noble and the Tattered Cover. Lomond also found 22 local sponsors to help pay for the production costs.

“We aren’t going to make a lot of money,” Lomond said. “It was really a labor of love. We did enjoy doing it. It was frustrating at times, then we would discover things.”

The photos are mostly from the Jefferson County Historical Society collection at Hiwan Museum and the Golden Pioneer Museum, before it disappeared, Lomond said. A few are from the Denver Public Library and the Colorado Historical Society.

As publisher and editor of City and Mountain Views magazine, Lomond has been collecting area history for 18 years.

“People told me they really appreciated it. … I realized how diverse the county was. There wasn’t really anything else that pulled the whole county together,” Lomond said.

“I thought it was time for people to appreciate and discover where they live,” she said.

Lomond estimates she wrote about 70 percent of the book. She also had help from Stephen Knapp, Mary Ramstetter, Linda Kirkpatrick and others.

Interesting stories abound on every page, but the one that Lomond likes best is the story of Jefferson County Open Space.

“It really took a lot to get that done in 1972,” Lomond said.

The book covers every settlement that ever existed in Jefferson County, including Joytown, which became Starbuck, Ida’s Dale and Idledale. The story of Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is documented, along with a view of the Mount Morrison funicular tracks, built in 1908.

Lomond’s book covers the history of Evergreen from the days of Thomas Bergen, one of the original settlers who built a stage stop for miners on their way to Clear Creek in 1859 to its heyday as a “rustic summer vacation.”

There is a chapter on the five Beers sisters and their Beers Sisters Farm Dairy at what is now South Wadsworth Boulevard and West Belleview Avenue. The sisters did most of the work themselves, including milking 50 cows twice a day by hand.

If you ever wondered how Ken-Caryl came to be, “Jefferson County” explains that it was named after Kent and Carroll Shaffer, the sons of John Charles Shaffer, owner of the Rocky Mountain News, who purchased the 3,000 acres for $100,000 in 1914.

One can find a brief item about the “best-known Kittredge residents” — stonemason Gus Roehling, Sen. Gary Hart and Charles Gates Jr. — and the Gates Chateau designed by J.J. Benedict on Bear Creek.

Most of the architectural landmarks, parks and natural wonders are also cataloged in this well-written, exhaustive work, which is lavishly illustrated with many maps and unusual historical photos.

Contact Vicky Gits at 303-350-1042 or vicky@evergreenco.com.