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“Weaving Mountain Memories”
It’s been 14 years since Mabel Durning, more or less single handed, produced her loose-leaf Historical Reminiscing in the Allenspark Area. Now, with the help of the Estes Park Area Historical Museum and grants from Mabel and the Hilltop Guild, a new book by Lorna Knowlton, Weaving Mountain Memories, has just been published.
To be scrupulously fair, the present volume owes much to its predecessor, not only because some of the material has been reprinted, but because if the first volume had not been printed, this one might have been many years more in the making.
Still, WMM is a well written and much better organized work, which deserves a place on every reference bookshelf, both for those who have been around a while, and especially for newcomers, who will find more information about this little community and its environs in 248 pages than they dreamed existed. It’s also handsomely printed and bound and contains many interesting and unusual photographs, including a bear drinking cream soda.
Mabel constructed her book in loose-leaf form so it could be added to. Technology has now made it possible to both add to and correct WMM, since it exists in a computer as well as in book form, and in the preface Knowlton asks for corrections and additions.
As with any up to date history, this one already needs revision: The Allenspark Area Men's Club has changed both its name and its structure since the book was written, and several such items will have to be amended in a future edition.
There are some minor errors as well; Herb Miller is listed as Herman Miller, and in my own case I am shown as living in a cabin which was torn down many years ago. The date when Charles Eagle Plume came to the valley is incorrect but that is a quite understandable mistake. H. R. Finn was omitted as one of the owners of Copeland Lake Lodge, but the history of that place is fragmentary at best. Other readers will no doubt find small errors, but on balance it is a carefully researched work which will settle more arguments than it creates, and if you don’t have a copy, you’re going to find yourself at something of a loss when its readers talk of the fascinating past of the area, which covers roughly the area served by the Allenspark Post Office.
The book devotes sections to the St. Vrain Canyon, Roads (I was able to confirm, with one of the good maps, that I live on the last intact section of the old stage road between Raymond and Estes Park), Mining, Mail, Lifestyle, which discusses how both summer and winter residents spent their time, Schools, Skiing, which was very big here in the 20s, 30s and 40s, Churches, Fires and the fire department, Community, which is a history of service organizations and the water supply, and finally a chapter on the histories of various tourist businesses, including listings of various owners through the years.
The book will be on sale at the Hilltop Guild’s Christmas bazaar and is available all year from the WIND. The proceeds of all sales of the book will go toward the establishment of an Allenspark Collection in the Estes Park Area Historical Museum.
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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