Glendale Stagecoach Inn on Beaver Creek

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Boy With the Boot 2


The story of the little boy is not known for sure. He may have been a drummer boy in the Civil War who brought water in his leaky boot for thirsty wounded soldiers. The statue is a monument to his caring and dedication.

There are only 24 known statues of the Little Boy in the world. He is made of bronze and is now owned by the Senior Citizens of Penrose. In the Spring of 2005, he was presented to the Penrose School and has a place of honor in a glass display case at the new school.

Boy With the Boot 1


On 13 November 1915, Spencer and Julie Penrose presented a statue of a little boy holding a leaky boot to the citizens of Penrose. Main Street was filled with citizens of Penrose and the surrounding areas. The hitching posts were full of horses that people rode into town and wagons lined the streets. The crowd was delighted to see Mr. and Mrs. Penrose and all were dressed in their Sunday best.

School children led a parade, held banners and flags, and sang songs. Old soldiers also marched in the parade and many speeches were given. The flag was raised during the ceremony. The statue was placed at the intersection of Broadway and Fremont streets. It stood on a small pedestal inside a larger fountain surrounded by a white metal picket fence. Water spouted from the toe of the boy’s leaky boot and fell into the fountain below.

Playing on Beaver Creek


These photos were given to me by descendants of families who lived on Beaver Creek. I love the
"Hat Ladies" and the happy children.


This building is still standing south of Highway 50, south of Beaver Creek. It may have been flooded in 1921 and abandoned. I was able to hike there with the permission of HOLCIM, who owns the property, in Oct. 2007. The map is from the late 1890s and shows the settlement of Toof where Beaver Creek empties into the Arkansas River.

Dance at the Rowland Barn


This photo shows a barn dance at the Rowland Farm in Penrose around the turn of the century. It is unknown exactly where the Rowlands lived but their name does show up in the City Directory.

Neighbors, family and friends came together to have an evening of old-fashioned fun. People brought their fiddles and guitars to make and share music. The women brought cakes, pies, cookies, coffee, and lemonade. Everyone dresses in their Sunday best, including the children. Women wore beautiful lace-trimmed dresses and the men wore suits and ties.
Notice all the different ages. If a square dancer caller was in the vicinity, he was invited too. A good time was had by all with dancing, eating and visiting.

The Kirkwood Memorial Presbyterian Church


In the early 1900’s, people had to travel to Florence or Canon City to attend church services. In 1908, Mr. Ben Taylor met with other citizens of Penrose to establish a church. Construction of the church began in October 1908 and it was almost finished in December 1909, when the whole building was mostly destroyed by a storm.
This was very disheartening to the congregation because they had little money and the winter weather was quite cold. By May 1909, the little church was completed and on 30 May 1909, the Kirkwood Memorial Presbyterian Church was dedicated. It was completely paid for and had 17 members.
It was named in memory of Rev. Thomas C. Kirkwood DD of Colorado Springs, who helped with building and financing the new church.
There were other church services by various religions, but this was the first church building in Penrose. In 1937-38, an addition was built to the original building.

Penrose Beaver & Northern Railroad 2


On 1 June 1909, the first passenger train roared into Penrose, with important visitors from Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek, with Spencer Penrose as their leader. The depot was located north of Penrose, and the tracks went through the downtown section, then over present day Highway 50 and on to the Denver and Rio Grande tracks by the Arkansas River, south of Penrose. This station was named Beaver.

The railroad did not make lots of money and only lasted for 10 years. By 1918, more automobiles were traveling over the roads and the production of fruits and vegetables was not as great.

Penrose Beaver & Northern Railroad 1


The Beaver Penrose and Northern Railroad was incorporated in 1909 by the Beaver Park Land and Irrigation Company as well as Spencer Penrose and some of his wealthy friends from Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek.
Penrose became the president of this small railroad.

The train ran on a “spur” which was 6 ½ miles long and linked it to the Denver and Rio Grande tracks that ran between Florence and Pueblo. It owned only a combination passenger/baggage car and a locomotive and leased other cars as needed.

The Pen-Mac Hotel was financed by Spencer Penrose and his business partner, Charles Mac Neil, hence the name Pen-Mac. The downstairs contained office spaces,
a restaurant run by Mr. Yeager, and later became home to the Penrose Press newspaper. The rooms upstairs were used as apartments for when Mr. Penrose and his various business partners came to town. Still standing in Penrose, the Pen-Mac Hotel is located on the northeast corner of Broadway and Grant, across from the VFW building. It has been remodeled over the years, and still contains business offices on the first floor with apartments upstairs.

Historical Penrose Downtown

Penrose Downtown included several businesses and buildings. The Penrose Mercantile was located on Broadway Street and contained the Post Office. Other business were the Penrose Pharmacy, Gibson Lumber Company, Beaver Land and Irrigation Office, Livery Stable, two restaurants, a hotel, churches, and many residences. The “1909 Florence City Directory” included the newly named town of Penrose, and listed over 100 households and numerous businesses

1921 Flood - When the Schaeffer Dam Broke


As the swollen Beaver Creek emptied into the Arkansas River, Pueblo braced for the flood, where damage was much greater than on Beaver Creek. No loss of life was reported on Beaver Creek because the residents heeded the earlier warnings. Most of the farms and ranches had been destroyed and were not rebuilt or reoccupied for decades. A Diversion Dam was later rebuilt by the Beaver Park water company and is still used by the town of Penrose for its irrigation and drinking water.

Lake McNeil


Lake McNeil was named for Charles McNeil, one of Spencer Penrose's business partners in the Beaver Land and Irrigation Company. It was a large lake that offered fishing and other recreational activities such as wagon rides and picnics on a road high above the west side of the lake.

Building of the Schaffer Dam 1907-1909


One of the most interesting events in Penrose history was the building and subsequent failure of Schaeffer Dam in the early 1900’s. I recently came into temporary possession of the monthly reports of the dam construction, from 1907 to 1909. For weeks I copied each page, including abundant photos, reduced the numerous maps and blueprints, designed cover sheets and title pages, then had each year bound into a single volume. These reports make fascinating reading of what was then a massive and incredible project

The Shaeffer Dam was originally called the Beaver Creek Dam and Reservoir. It was planned and implemented in 1907 by the Beaver Land and Irrigation Company which was formed by a group of investors from Colorado Springs, including Spencer Penrose. The Beaver Land and Irrigation Company also had plans to develop a 10,000 acre town site in conjunction with the dam and reservoir.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Meeting a descendant of the Woodriff family

Yesterday I had a phone call from Mary, who is a descendant of the Woodriff family who settled on the south side of the Arkansas River. Daniel and Augusta Woodrif came from Canada to settle and farm with their children. Many of them are buried in Lower Beaver Cemetery and I wrote about the Woodriffs in "THE FORGOTTEN CEMETERIES OF BEAVER CREEK" and I profiled Augusta in "PIONEER WOMEN of BEAVER CREEK." Mary shared information with me that I didn't have. She had also bought both my books at the Penrose Community Library earlier in the day. I have a few documents that I'll copy and send to her. We had a lovely conversation, both of us benefitting from talking together. This is what I love about my writing on local history. I never know what each day will bring and I enjoy helping people find out more about their families.

Will and Anna McGowan Callen

Will Callen came from Iowa with his parents in 1864. Anna came to Beaver Creek with her parents as an infant also in 1864. They married around 1885 at the Glendale Stagecoach Inn. They had eight boys, seven died as infants and are buried in Middle Beaver Cemetery. Only Ernie Callen lived to an old age. I’ll write more about Anna in a later post.

Spencer Penrose


Spencer Penrose was born in Pennsylvania and came to Colorado in 1892. He bought a gold mine in Cripple Creek and enjoyed hunting and fishing in the mountains. He built the world famous luxurious Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs and established a bank in Cripple Creek. He founded the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the Will Rogers Shrine and later purchased the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.

In 1906, Mr. Penrose married Miss Julie McMillan, a widow from Colorado Springs, and they built a mansion later named El Pomar, at the foot of Cheyenne Mountain. He and Julie never had children together, although Mr. Penrose loved Julie’s daughter, Gladys as his own.

Mr. Penrose had heard about the fertile soil and pleasant climate of Penrose and deiced he would invest in the Beaver Park Land and Irrigation Company. He also invested in a dam and reservoir and the Beaver Park and Northern Railroad.

In 1910, Mr. Penrose is shown in an old photograph driving a wagon down the main street in Florence. In 1915, Spencer and Julia Penrose presented the citizens of Penrose with a statue of a little boy.

When Spencer Penrose died in 1939, he left a legacy of buildings and businesses in the Pikes Peak region, including the town that bears his name, Penrose.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Glendale Stagecoach Inn


John Mc Clure was an early settler on Beaver Creek. He built this two-story stone building in 1868, on the east bank of middle Beaver Creek. It was used as a stagecoach stop for mail carriers and weary travelers, and included a hotel, restaurant, corrals, and gardens. It has been known by various names through the years:
the Mc Clure House, Glendale House, and the Stagecoach Inn. Its ruins still stand to this day, east of Penrose, on Beaver Creek.

Coffman Family


Mary Ellen Callen, daughter of John H. and Sarah Callen came west to Colorado with her family in 1864, where settled on Beaver Creek. Lafayette Coffman and his brothers sought gold in Leadville. Finding none, “Lafe” enlisted in the Civil War, with the 3rd Colorado Infantry. After the war, he came to Beaver Creek where he met and married Mary Ellen Callen. They settled on Beaver Creek, on the Spring Ranch located near Red Creek. They raised their family, ranched and farmed on Beaver Creek into the 1950’s and were a pillar of the Beaver Creek community. Lafayette and Mary are buried in Beaver Park Cemetery.

Kelley Family


Jesse Kelley and his brother Levi, settled on Beaver Creek. Jesse farmed on middle Beaver Creek and hauled his produce by wagon to the mining town of Leadville. He also built several plumes for the water ditches. In 1890, Jesse built a large white frame house on Beaver Creek. He also planted fruit trees and built a large haybarn. “Uncle Jesse” had black hair and a black beard. “Aunt Marthy” was a kind-hearted woman who made delicious berry jam from the berries along the banks of Beaver Creek, which she served with her hot-from-the-oven homemade biscuits.” They had four children: John H., Ella, Levi T., and Pearley, who was crippled and raised bees, and sold the sweet honey to friends and neighbors.

Callen Family


John and Sarah Callen travelled by ox wagon, from Appanoose County, Iowa, with their three children; 14 year-old Martha, 11 year-old Will, and 9 year-old Mary. They were among the first settlers on Beaver Creek, east of present-day Penrose. They settled on the lush banks of Beaver Creek in August 1864. John was a friend to the nearby Ute and Arapahoe Indians, and served as a Fremont County Commissioner. Sarah was known for her kindness to family, friends, and neighbors. They share an obelisk tombstone in Middle Beaver Cemetery.

Toof Brothers

The Toof brothers, James, Devella, Richmond, and George were probably the first white men to settle on Beaver Creek in the early 1860’s. They settled where the creek flows into the Arkansas River; their water rights were some of the oldest in Colorado. The Toofs built homes, established a trading post, a hostelry, and a blacksmith shop. The brothers were industrious and “being men of unusual size and vitality, soon developed a small empire at the mouth of Beaver Creek.” The three brothers, their wives, and children are buried in Lower Beaver Cemetery.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I’m beginning my Penrose History Blog with a series of historical photos/short articles that I wrote during the PENROSE CENTENNIAL 2009, for the Florence Citizen newspaper. Because Penrose has no newspaper, Bob Wood, editor and owner of the Citizen, supported the Centennial in this manner. They are arranged in roughly the chronological order in which they ran in the paper.

A little bit about me - Sherry Johns. I’ve lived in Penrose for over 28 years. I have nine children and twenty grandchildren. Some of my deepest delights in life are reading, going on history-hikes and writing. I consider myself truly blessed to live in rural Colorado, where the sun shines bright and blue, and the air is clean and fresh. I have a wonderful circle of friends who are eager to history-hike with me and encourage me in my research and writing.

After a lengthy marriage then divorce I went back to college and decided to major in Elementary Education. I considered that a responsible choice since I had homeschooled my older kids for over twenty years and still had three children at home. However, after taking an “Intro to Ed” class in which I spent many hours observing classrooms and then being a substitute teacher for three years, I realized my heart was not in the classroom, although I loved to teach. At that point, I met (at the local library!) and married a remarkable man who shared my love of history and travel. Dale has encouraged me to follow my dreams and use my talents ever since. He believes in me and constantly fosters my love of history and need to write.

I began to delve again into local history as I had previously read every book I could find on the local libraries’ shelves over the years. I changed to a double major in Library Tech and History. During the course of writing a career paper in an English class, I emailed random college history professors, asking their advice to me as a future history teacher. They responded in detail and with great encouragement. Mary Richards in particular, from BYU, told me this: “Choose something that fascinates you about history. Delve deep into it, become an expert in that part of history.” Her words sank deep into my heart and I decided to become an expert in the history of Penrose and also Fremont County.

Along this journey that began in 2004, I have met remarkable people, hiked magnificent paths, and become the keeper of Penrose History. I have been given priceless family photos and memorabilia, entrusted with family histories, and fallen in love with the land along Beaver Creek. My enchantment with local history has turned into a passion for the people, particularly the women, who lived and loved here. I feel they are my friends and fully expect to meet them after I depart this life.

For the past five years I have taught local history classes to students in Penrose School, at the Pueblo Community College Senior Mini-College, and various community groups. I curated a two year exhibit of Penrose History at the Wells Fargo Bank in Penrose and have currently re-instated the exhibit at the bank and will shortly have Local History exhibit at the Penrose Community Library. I’ve written three books, "SAN JUAN BAUTISTA CEMETERY" about a small Spanish Catholic cemetery south of Florence, "THE FORGOTTEN CEMETERIES OF BEAVER CREEK" about the people who are buried in Upper, Middle and Lower Beaver Creek cemeteries,and my favorite "PIONEER WOMEN OF BEAVER CREEK." Friends made a beautiful Friendship Quilt to accompany this book with the names of twenty-five women who lived and died on Beaver Creek. It was featured in one of the Penrose Centennial Exhibits during the Penrose Centennial.

My life has become entwined with the past as I take great pleasure in researching, teaching, and writing about local history. I currently serve as Chair of the Fremont County Heritage Committee and am able to mingle with like-minded people from through-out Fremont County as we plan for our Sesquicentennial in 2011. History is a tremendous part of my life; it is in my heart and in my soul. I am dedicated to bringing to life the stories of those who lived before me, whose efforts have made my neck of the woods a better place to live.

Please feel free to comment on my blog, contact me with local history information or to schedule me to speak to your organization or class. I absolutely LOVE sharing history with any age group. I have several Power-Point presentations, historical artifacts, and interesting stories to tell. Also contact me to order my books. They are each $14.95 or 2 for $25.00 plus postage.

Sherry Johns
PO 586
Penrose, CO 81240

“…by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.”