Personal Histories

Introduction This section contains histories of our community as seen through the eyes of the participants, history as passed on through the family (for example Lee McConnell, grandson of the first district ranger), or through library research (e.g. the Batterson Barn and Homestead, prepared by Linda Adams) and oral history interviews by Linda Bell. A notebook with all the interviews (but not including the addenda) is available to check out from the Red Feather Library for three weeks if you wish to read them at home.

Personal Histories Table of Contents (alphabetically, by last name) Arent, Charley || Ashby, Marvin L. “Red” || Barker, Gene || || Brackenbury Family || Carnival, Sugarbabe & “Sugarbabe Day” || Colter, Marilyn & the Fine Arts Festival || Dunning, Ted || Ellerman, Gary || Frydendall, Dennis – Water || Frydendall, Dennis  – The “Meadow” Tour || Gorton, Linda || Grauberger, Emma || Higley Family || Hurd, Georgie || McConnell, R.C. || Miller, Lafi & Juliana || O’Rorke, James “Jimmie” R.  || Poulsen, Joie  (Daughter of Bernice George)  || Red Feather Greens (Drake, Hugh and Bonnie) || Reid, Margaret || Robinson, Rick & Zella ||  Stenzel, John & Judith Liebman Stenzel || Tamlin, Evelyn Foster || Taylor Lodge/Bob Allen || Yockey, Levi

Arent, Charley – Charley is known as the “energized bunny” of Red Feather Lakes and has has built so many houses and cabins in and around the area during the past 30 years that he can’t quite remember how many. Interview and article by Linda Bell. © North Forty News, January 2001,  Used by permission.

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Ashby, Marvin L. “Red” - Red Ashby learned to think young, a value inspired by his 100 year old mother. Red and his wife Dee made their home in Cherokee Park in the St. Cloud district where they opened the “Homestead Store.” Interview and article by Linda Bell. © North Forty News, January 2004,  Used by permission. Postscript: Red Ashby passed away on November 25, 2011.  Read Red’s obituary.

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Barker, Gene – Came with his family from Iowa to Red Feather Lakes in 1935, at age 11. His father was in the wood industry, making the first milled house logs in Colorado. Gene helped him and learned the business, so he has in turn had a saw mill, a planning mill, a lumber yard, a construction business, and has built many cabins in RFL.  He also built and ran a diamond sorting plant near former Sloan Ranch on 82E. He has just about done everything including owning and operating a restaurant, working for The Red Feather Lakes Storage and Irrigation Company, and served three years in the marines. Interview and transcription by Linda Bell.

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Brackenbury Family – Learn how the Brackenbury family came to Red Feather in this interview with Amy Brackenbury Larson and Sue Nolde Brackenbury, daughter and wife of Richard John Brackenbury, at Sue Brackenbury’s home in Fort Collins, CO.  Interview and transcription by Linda Bell.

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Carnival, Sugarbabe & “Sugarbabe Day- The Red Feather Historical Society continued its celebration of historical figures in the Red Feather area through this presentation and reminiscence of Sugarbabe Carnival (1921-2004), an extraordinary woman who made her mark in Red Feather, through her artwork, and her involvement in the community. Join many others in fond memories of Sugarbabe as we celebrated her life, stories, artwork, and memories for “Sugarbabe Day” on August 11, 2012, at the Red Feather Lakes Community Library. The Sugarbabe transcript is also available at the Red Feather Library and includes an audio CD of the interview she did at Ellis Island with the US National Park Service oral history project. You can listen to Sugarbabe’s story in her own voice using the library computers and ear phones. Transcription by Linda Bell.

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Colter, Marilyn & the Fine Arts FestivalMarilyn Colter was the Red Feather Lakes Community Library Director from 1995 to 2005, after which she operated Mountain Crafts Gallery from 2005 to 2010. The Fine Arts Festival, running from 1996-2008, actually began with a conversation between Linda Gorton, Ruth Kevan, Marilyn Colter and Jody Dahlstrom.  The group’s goal was to raise money for local organizations, particularly the Red Feather Historical Society and the Red Feather Lakes Community Library. The Festival became a fundraiser for both organizations and was a great community builder. A favorite aspect was voting on the annual poster selections (poster images included in this interview). Interview and transcription by Linda Bell.

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Dunning, Ted – (1901-1989, 88), came from Nebraska to Red Feather in 1928, bought a store, and never left. Then only about 100 cabins, only 25 people in the winter time, several hundred in the summer. First post office in RFL was established in1934, and Ted was post master from 1940 – 1968. He talks about his involvement in The Red Feather Lakes Storage and Irrigation Company, CCC boys building the road, the Chief Red Feather legend, Evelyn Foster Tamil named Princess Redfeather, cattle drives, and more stories of the early days.

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Ellerman, Gary – In this interview by Linda Bell, Gary Ellerman tells the history of Deadman Road, its construction by the CCC, and includes information on the road’s bridges, catch-basins, culverts and its current state. In the 1980s, Ellerman was part of the crew that rebuilt the road.  Contains historic and current photos of Deadman Road.

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Frydendall, Dennis – Water, is an interview by Linda Bell, focused on western, state, and local water issues and early growth of Red Feather Lakes Community.  Dennis bought a cabin in Red Feather Lakes in 1962, and has been coming every summer since.   Soon after his arrival he became a member of the Board of Directors of the Red Feather Storage & Irrigation Company which governs the water in Red Feather Lakes.  In this interview Dennis provides his valuable perspective on water issues in our community. Interview and transcription by Linda Bell.

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Frydendall, Dennis  – The “Meadow” Tour – is an interview by Linda Bell wherein Dennis recounts how he first read the Meadow by James Galvin and how his interest in the book turned into a Historical Society Tour. At the end of the interview is the map, along with photos, which should enable you to take a virtual tour. Interview by Linda Bell.

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Gorton, Linda – This interview with Linda Gorton includes her family’s history in Red Feather Lakes since 1930s and her work with the Trading Post, the Red Feather Greens, in local real estate, and her experience with the Red Feather Historical Society and her memories of the area. Interview by Linda Bell.

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Grauberger, Emma – And husband Arthur came to Red Feather Lakes in 1969. She is owner/manager of the RV park which you see as you turn off 74E into the RFL Village. File has several historic photos of cabins. Interview and transcription by Linda Bell.

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Higley Family – Pat Clemens talks with Earl and Diane about their parents Ray and Beverley Higley who came to Red Feather Lakes and bought their first cabin in 1946. Interview by Pat Clemens, transcription by Linda Bell.

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Hurd, Georgie – Reflects on Red Feather’s early history, visiting her grandparent’s summer cabin, then eventually moving to the area and becoming Postmaster in Red Feather, and husband Bill worked for the Forest Service.  Interview and transcription by Linda Bell.

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McConnell, R.C. – Was the first Red Feather Lakes Area Forest Ranger and built the ranger station at Manhattan in 1909.  The article was written by Lee F. McConnell, his grandson, and includes two historic photos of ranger station and trail construction, along with a location map.

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Miller, Lafi and Juliana – Written by Linda Bell, reprinted from the North Forty News, February 1999, about the lives of Lafi and Juliana “Jo” (Sloan) Miller.  Jo is a descendent of three Livermore pioneer families: Sloans, Swans and Roberts.  The title of the article is “A love story, a feud, and ties to 100 years of Livermore history.” Article by Linda Bell. © North Forty News, February 1999,  Used by permission. Postscript: Lafi Miller passed away on February 8, 2014. Read Lafi’s obituary. (Posted 2/25/2014)

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O’Rorke, James “Jimmie” R. – The life of Red Feather’s famed Irish descendent, Jimmie’s timeline is described in detail and is characteristic of his full life, from his experience as a photographer to his time as a WWII POW to being a land owner in Red Feather Lakes and his adventures overseas in Panama. Jimmie’s story will entertain and inspire. Interview and transcription by Linda Bell.

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Poulsen, Joie (Daughter of Bernice George) - This oral history is about Bernice George and her children Joie and Dick. Bernice worked with the Forest Service at Deadman Tower for fire lookout during the summer and her children joined her in the remote area. The Tower was built by the CCC.  The oral history of Joie Poulsen was recorded by her son Paul Poulsen in 2015.

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Red Feather Greens (Drake, Hugh and Bonnie)   – This is a story about a small business whose owners did not make a lot of money, but whose efforts and dedication, as well as the involvement by others, enriched the lives of many people in a mountain community and other nearby communities.  Jean is the daughter of Bonnie and Hugh Drake who came to RFL in 1924.  In the 1940s Bonnie began making wreaths as a fund raiser for Trinity Episcopal Church in Greeley.  It grew in size employing the whole town at one point.  The wreaths were sold at wholesale to church groups for fundraising purposes.  The article describes the origins and growth of the business, including names of major wreath makers some making up to 1,000 wreaths. Written by Jean Drake Emond.

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Reid, Margaret – Her family bought a cabin in Red Feather Lakes in 1926 and she still lives here. In this interview, Margaret tells what is was like to grow up in the community and see it change. Interview and transcription by Linda Bell.

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Robinson, Rick and Zella - Uncle and niece, descendents of the Dayton Robinson family who came to Northern Colorado in 1882 – almost 130 years ago. They settled in the Elkhorn Creek Area. Family interests were ranching and saw-milling, and some prospecting. It is their family cabin in Fed Feather Lakes which is now a museum with historical artifacts. Interview and transcription by Linda Bell.

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Stenzel, John & Judith Liebman Stenzel – The family was originally from Kansas City; John, Judith and Bill were born in Denver. The siblings’ mother, Mary Galloup Stenzel began their history in Red Feather when her family built a cabin just above Hill Top. The Stenzel family went on to purchase the fox farm land and eventually expanded to Fox Acres.  Interview and transcription by Linda Bell. [See also related history: The Story of Fox Acres, a 1978 article from the Boulder Daily Camera, by Robert C. Looney]

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Tamlin, Evelyn Foster – Born in Red Feather Lakes in 1926, and was perhaps the first legally named Princess Red Feather; in this interview she talks about life in the early days before modern conveniences. Interview and transcription by Linda Bell.

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Taylor Lodge/Bob Allen Interview - There is some evidence that “Taylor Lodge” and its smaller companion cabin are some of the oldest buildings in Red Feather Lakes, having been built for or used by the workers who dug Mitchell Ditch in the late 1880s, possibly as old as 1883. Interview and transcription by Linda Bell.

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Yockey, Levi and the Family Grave Side-Service – On a perfect July day in the foothills, the greatly expanded family of Levi Yockey gathered for lunch in Red Feather Lakes and then placed a marker on his grave.  But unlike most grave-side services there were no tears.  In fact, not one of his relatives had ever met him.  Levi Yockey died in 1895. Article and transcription by Linda Bell.

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