Sunday, April 13, 2008

Endeavors in Evergreen

I love weekends. Weekends=Exploring. Yesterday we briefly explored the town of Evergreen. Evergreen is about a 30-40 minute drive up 285 and then north on 73, and well worth the drive! A little history on Evergreen -
Homesteader Thomas Bergen arrived in 1859, establishing a ranch and stage stop north of present-day downtown Evergreen. Bergen's Ranch was recognized as a settled area at the establishment of Jefferson County, Jefferson Territory. Subsequent settlers homesteaded south of Bergen along Bear Creek Canyon and the downtown area grew around the confluence of Cub Creek and Bear Creek. Fellow homesteader Dwight P. Wilmot is credited with naming the area "Evergreen"; his home has been preserved and still functions as a private residence across the street from his namesake Wilmot Elementary School. The town grew on the lumber demand for buildings in Denver and by the 1880s, the town could boast a population of 200 people and six operating sawmills. Improvement of the road from Denver up Bear Creek Canyon in 1911 and electrical service reaching the town in 1917 spurred further growth and the town became a popular summer destination for Denver residents. Resorts like Troutdale-in-the-Pines, Greystone Guest Ranch and the Brook Forest Inn opened and entertained Denverites and celebrities including film stars of the day and Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt, who both vacationed at the Troutdale. In the 1950s, improved utilities in town and the rising popularity of automobiles began to entice more future residents to stay year-round and the town became known as a commuter community.
During the 70s, Evergreen was a hotspot for hippies, artists, and musicians such as Willie Nelson.
Evergreen is surrounded by thousands of acres of land in the Denver Mountain Parks and Jefferson County Open Space park systems. The Denver Mountain Parks in the area are Bergen Park, Corwina Park, Dedisse Park, Dillon Park, Fillius Park, O'Fallon Park and Pence Park in Indian Hills. The Jefferson County Open Space Parks are Alderfer/Three Sisters, Elk Meadow, Lair o' the Bear, and Mount Falcon Park in Indian Hills. Evergreen Lake, a popular recreation area, was created by damming Bear Creek in 1927. It sits above downtown Evergreen, which includes a mix of historic buildings and local businesses, including the well-known entertainment venue and restaurant The Little Bear. In the winter, skiing and snowboarding is available at nearby Echo Mountain Park and ice skating is offered at Evergreen Lake.
Notable residents: South Park co-creator Trey Parker graduated from Evergreen High School in 1988. Much of the early show is based on Parker's experiences living in nearby Conifer and going to school in Evergreen. In the South Park episode Night of the living homeless it is discovered that the homeless in South Park had migrated from Evergreen. Space shuttle astronaut Jeffrey Ashby graduated from Evergreen High School in 1972. Country star Willie Nelson owned a ranch in Evergreen for several years. MLB player Kevin Kouzmanoff grew up in Evergreen and graduated from Evergreen High School in 1999. The scenes featuring Darryl Hannah and Danny Huston in the 2004 film Silver City were filmed at a house in Evergreen. Diane Mott Davidson, Anthony award-winning and New York Times best-selling author Joanne Greenberg, author of I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, currently resides in Evergreen. Larry Walker, Colorado Rockies outfielder Jamin Winans, film director of 11:59, graduated from Evergreen High School.
Thanks, Wikipedia.
Evergreen is such a beautiful place (I'm beginning to think there's not one ugly place in Colorado. Oh yeah, except Limon). Evergreen Lake and the surrounding park has a healthy population of Elk, otters, and all the birds you could ever wish for! We also discovered a very cool watering hole called Cactus Jack's. Not only do they host an open mic night every Thursday, the establishment is owned/run by Widespread Panic fans! Check them out if you're ever in the area.
Jason's working this morning but if he gets home at a decent hour, we may trek down to the town of Florissant and check out one of the world's largest fossil beds.

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