Fifty people, give and take, showed up on Sunday for the unveiling of the historic new River Valley Ranch trail. In collaboration with the Carbondale Historical Society, several information panels have been installed along the paved path surrounding the RVR residential development.
The idea is that people can walk around and learn a bit of history about the area at the same time. The historic 2.7 mile path is marked with an image of a cart wheel near each sign so pedestrians can stay on track.
“The story of [River Valley Ranch] is inextricably linked to the history of Carbondale and the Roaring Fork Valley, âsaid Sue Gray, vice president of the Carbondale Historical Society.
Gray led the first official walking tour. âI learned so much while researching this project and am delighted to share this knowledge with anyone interested in visiting the historic RVR Trail. This project is a real community treasure, âshe said.
According to a press release, when planning the RVR residences, developer Gerald Hines expressed a desire to honor the heritage of the Pleasant View Ranch. “As a result, some of the original houses, sheds and the old Thompson barn have been preserved and moved to their current locations,” the statement said.
Each panel covers a different component of the story that has happened around RVR. One sign refers to the Utes who lived in the area before the settlers drove them out.
According to Gray, the word “Ute” was first used by the Spanish conquistadors and then adopted by other European settlers. They however called themselves Noocheu (NOO-shu), which translates simply as “The People”. According to Roland McCook, descendant of Chief Ouray, the full meaning is: âPeople of Substanceâ.
The Noocheu, also spelled âNuche,â were gradually confined to reservations, and in 1876, when settlers began to settle in the Crystal Valley, the area was still part of a large reserve. This too was taken from the natives after an uprising in Meeker, known as “The Meeker Massacre”. This time, the Noocheu were banished to reservations hundreds of kilometers away.
In the 1880s, settlers settled down and started doing what settlers do best: settle down. Taking full advantage of homestead law, families paid the $ 18 application fee to establish homestead properties of up to 160 acres. Later, they could acquire title to the property for $ 1.25 an acre.
The Holland and Thompson families owned the 1,200-acre Pleasant View Ranch, which predated RVR, for 100 years before the family began selling pieces of the ranch starting in the 1970s. Oscar Holland was one of the the region’s leading commercial potato producers. He married Hattie Thompson and the two moved into the Thompson House, also along the trail, which was considered the “crown jewel” of the property, according to Gray.
Lewis Ronald Thompson, who goes by Lou Ron, is a descendant of the Thompson-Holland family and joined the opening walking tour. Lou Ron was born in a log cabin in Pleasant View Ranch and remembers herding cattle there in the 1960s.
As a child, Lou Ron said, âIt was awesome. We had a lot of freedom to roam the hills and get into trouble that we probably shouldn’t have had; not too many problems, “he added,” Because everyone knew everyone, you couldn’t get away with much. “
When asked if seeing the changes in development had been bittersweet, Lou Ron replied, âI guess that would be a good term for that. But, on the other hand, I think it’s great that the development went the way it did. He included: “My mother [Jewel Thompson] always used to say, “We can’t be selfish about it and keep it to ourselves.” “
The official start of the RVR History Trail is in Orchard Park, which is owned by the town of Carbondale and maintained by the River Valley Ranch Master Association, the statement said. Orchard Park is located at the intersection of Crystal Canyon Drive and Crystal Bridge Drive.
“The trail, which takes about two hours to fully explore, is best experienced by walking or cycling,” the statement said.