Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pioneer Monument Make Over



The Garden of the Gods Rotary Club of Colorado Springs joined the Evergreen Cemetery Benevolent Society in sprucing up the Pioneer Monument located in the historic pioneer section of Evergreen Cemetery. This is the original area of the cemetery with many of the stones dating to the 1860's. Over 1400 souls lie at rest in this area, however only a handful of those graves are marked. In 1993, The El Paso County Pioneer Association erected a monument to honor those pioneers. This is indeed one of the prettiest areas of the cemetery, as it remains in its natural state, with blooming wild flowers and other native plants. Looking out across the pioneer section resembles the same view the first residents of the community laid eyes upon when first arriving in Colorado Springs.
ECBS utilzed unused burial vaults in the most unusual way.
These vaults were interred along side of the pioneer monument to create planter boxes. Native plants, such as our state flower, the Columbine, will soon be blooming. Ed of the Rotary Club is removing the stray weeds that have gown up. I hope our plants grow as well as the weeds! Mary carefully places each, soon to be, flowering plant.

In addition to the planter boxes, a back drop behind the monument was created using 2 Burning Bush plants as well as snowberry bushes and fountain grasses! Can you just imagine how wonderful this is going to look. I can't believe how quickly this project was completed! This is what can happen when I group of people come to together.. We were over a year trying to get this project completed, however, with more volunteers, this was completed in no time!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Walking Tour 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010


The streets of this place are the safest in this town. The residents are quiet, respectful, and eternal. The well trimmed lawns and the tall, aged trees give the area a cool and calming effect. The combined experiences of the oldest and youngest here would fill many book volumes and still some stories would be missed.
A well dressed and dignified man lives at a corner. His travels back and forth from Cripple Creek are well known and occasionally he stops to speak to visitors. He earned a great fortune from his work, only to have others try to beg it from him. And so this well spoken man recluses himself from public view.
Another resident walks down the street. She is a little eccentric in her life but a fixture of the area. Her burro, Jack, is her calm companion as she visits with others of her generation. The stories she has told! She even published a book. "The Fate of a Fairy". This chronicled her life as she immigrated from Europe to the United States.
A mother and young woman stand near another corner. The two are close as family comes. Their lives have been full of this world's miseries and joys yet they speak to passersby like old friends. The mother learned many skills from her mother and now seeks to pass that knowledge on to her daughter. The younger generation is so hard to convince at times. The industrial era has brought so many easier advantages.
On the seedier side of town sits a man at a table. This is not just any table. Many do not like his profession but Luke stays until his welcome is gone. He is a drifter and a gambler. He loves a game of cards and chance and he loves to deal in an extra hand when someone stops by. His swarthy good looks and charm make him popular with some of the ladies in town. Even now he sits and waits under a cool shady spot.
Farther down still is a writer. Her novels raised much attention in her time. She is fun loving and impishish but very much a lady. She is a celebrity in these parts. She is passionate about her causes and of her profession. Many visitors come to her home each year and even now her passionate speeches and writings are celebrated.
The neighbor down the road is ill. She has been bedridden for months. The doctors told her a cure might be found in the high altitude of Colorado Springs. The sun is almost year round here and allows for full exposure, even in the coldest of winter. Her illness has already claimed many lives but the doctors have hope and new cures are on the horizon. Florence takes most of her day sitting under a tree with the sun at her face. and the smell of fresh cut grass wafting in the air. The rolling grasses in the meadow close by offer a hunting ground for a Great Horned Owl.
Up the street works a craftsman. His trade is skilled and specialized. Peter is meticulous in his work and evidence of his talents are all over town. He sits quietly at his table and works on his latest project. He is always eager to show off his creations and secure business. His is a dying profession.
Around the corner are two characters that read straight out of a novel. He was a rough and tumble tradesman that earned his living by travelling over the road. He transported loads of lumber, dry goods, rail ties, and much more. The dangers of theft and violence were always there but he took the risk because it gave him freedom and he wasn't tied down. That was until Daisey came along. She was a single woman who had travelled out here to start a new life. Her hat business was thriving but she needed someone in her life. She set her sights on him. The rest is history.
A resident not far from Daisey is somewhat of a rebel. She frequently stands at a street corner with a protest banner. She believes deeply in her cause. She has been spat at; called names, and assaulted for standing up for herself and other women. Some refer to her as a "Ironed Jawed Angel". Time will tell if she is remembered. She rarely speaks but her husband engages for her when he is able to stand with her. He is also seen as a menace by many of high society that prefer to keep things as they are.
Where is this neighborhood? Evergreen Cemetery at 1005 S. Hancock Ave. just south and east of Fountain Blvd and Hancock Ave. in Colorado Springs. The 2010 Annual Walking Tour will be held on September 18th from 10am to 1:00pm. The last tickets will be sold at 1pm. Costumed characters representing many pioneers from the area will be on hand to talk about their times and lives. The chapel will also be open and tours included. The tour is self guided and will wind through the old areas of the property. Admission is $10 per person. Ages 12 and under are free. Proceeds will be used for conservation efforts in the cemetery. Bring your walking shoes!!! The residents look forward to your visit!

A Visit With History


Our year is coming to an end for ECBS. With the weather becoming colder and unpredictable, its difficult to work on the stones. This is also a time for us to wind down and take a break after the many activities and events over the past year.
At times, it seems, to me, anyway that we are banging our heads against very large brick walls. Why don't people feel as passionate as we do about the cemetery, the history it holds, and the stories it is waiting to tell? So many people say they do care, but then they fade away, like so many memories, and you have to wonder why? Why do we keep doing it? Why do we keep sacrificing our personal time from family and home, when no one really cares?
This Sunday, after taking some time off to tidy up our homes, Ingrid and I decided to take a break and fix some stones. We were able to fix two stones this afternoon. The cemetery was beautiful. The weather was perfect and the colors of red, orange and yellow decorated the grounds. There was a lot of activity out there today. From people visiting and working on their family plots to those unique looking (scary!) individuals taking photographs around some of the mausoleums.
Not so far from us was an older woman in a wheel chair and her granddaughter. They were tending a family site. We had seen them out there many times on the weekend and decided to introduce ourselves and share with them about ECBS and the Adopt a Block and Cemetery Watch programs.
The daughter's name was Irene and the mother's name was Barbara. Barbara spoke with a thick polish accent, her eyes, even at 90 sparkled with a bit of mischief. They were visiting Barbara's husband who had passed away 40 years ago. We were talking about her husband's love of animals as a very hungry squirrel kept us entertained. Then Barbara began to tell us a little about her life.
In 1939, at the beginning of WWII in Germany, working with the resistance, she was arrested as a political prisoner, and sentenced to death at Auschwitz Concentration Camp. She escaped her death from this hell on earth. Many of the memories I am sure she tries to forget. However, one small reminder, of that time, will never go away. She carefully pushed up the sleeve of her white sweater. There, marked for the rest of her life, was her tatoo. Her number from the concentration camp ( click the link to read how and why this was done). Even though the temperature was warm, a chill went up my spine. One can only imagine the horrors this beautiful woman lived through, to tell us her story. This is history. History that must be remembered and shared with others.
This is why we sacrifice our personal and family time. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Evans, Florence May
Florence May Evans – Colorado Daily Chieftain – October 17, 1875 - The Canon City Calamity - The unfortunate occurrences mentioned in yesterday morning's dispatches are even more deplorable than at first supposed. Mrs. Evans, her child, and Mrs. Evans sister, Miss Buckingham, are all three dead. Mr. Evans left his house about 5:50 P.M., saying, "get supper ready and I will be down soon." In a half hour thereafter, a young girl was seen running from the house enveloped in flames. She fell into the gutter and was picked up by passing parties. Then the house was discovered in flames. The neighbors rushed in and found Mrs. Evans standing with all her clothes burned off except her corsets and a few shreds, with the infant lying between her feet screaming. The whole three were carried into an adjoining building. The mother lay upon the floor burned from head to foot - one solid mass of burned flesh; the sister on a bed, terribly burned and moaning in intense agony. The infant, three months old, was not supposed to be so badly burned. Its cries were heart rending. The mother about ten o'clock asked for her husband. He was called, and in a whisper she bade him good bye. Frequently during the evening she whispered her wishes that she might be given something to end her misery and put her out of existence. About ten o'clock she died, and before morning her child and sister died in intense agony. The scene at the depot, as given us by an eye witness, was one circulated to move the stoutest heart. The husband and father paced the depot platform frantically. His grief knew no bounds. Presently a conveyance drove up. A small coffin was removed and placed in the baggage car. This contained the little babe. Next came the wife and her sister. The dead having been deposited in the car, the husband was helped to a seat and the train started for Colorado Springs. As far as can be ascertained this melancholy affair was the result of the careless use of kerosene. It is said that Miss Buckingham attempted to light a fire with the treacherous fluid, when it caught and the can exploding covered the three unfortunates with the blazing oil. Mr. Evans had been in the express business at Colorado Springs for several months before removing to Canon City. His late wife is a sister of Mr. R. Buckingham, the proprietor of the Colorado Springs Free Press. She was a lady of fine personal appearance, and above all a kind wife and affectionate mother. The remains of the three will probably be interred at Colorado Springs. Note: This baby was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs under the last name of Evens. Her tombstone states that she was 4 months, and 15 days old, and was the daughter of C. F. and Jennie Evens, when she died on October 15, 1875.


Evans, Jennie Buckingham
Jennie Buckingham Evans – Pueblo Colorado Daily Chieftain – October 17, 1875 – The Canon City Calamity – The unfortunate occurrences mentioned in yesterday morning's dispatches are even more deplorable than at first supposed. Mrs. Evans, her child, and Mrs. Evans sister, Miss Buckingham, are all three dead. Mr. Evans left his house about 5:50 P.M., saying, "Get supper ready and I will be down soon." In a half hour thereafter, a young girl was seen running from the house enveloped in flames. She fell into the gutter and was picked up by passing parties. Then the house was discovered in flames. The neighbors rushed in and found Mrs. Evans standing with all her clothes burned off except her corsets and a few shreds, with the infant lying between her feet screaming. The whole three were carried into an adjoining building. The mother lay upon the floor burned from head to foot - one solid mass of burned flesh; the sister on a bed, terribly burned and moaning in intense agony. The infant, three months old, was not supposed to be so badly burned. Its cries were heart rending. The mother about ten o'clock asked for her husband. He was called, and in a whisper she bade him good bye. Frequently during the evening she whispered her wishes that she might be given something to end her misery and put her out of existence. About ten o'clock she died, and before morning her child and sister died in intense agony. The scene at the depot, as given us by an eye witness, was one circulated to move the stoutest heart. The husband and father paced the depot platform frantically. His grief knew no bounds. Presently a conveyance drove up. A small coffin was removed and placed in the baggage car. This contained the little babe. Next came the wife and her sister. The dead having been deposited in the car, the husband was helped to a seat and the train started for Colorado Springs. As far as can be ascertained this melancholy affair was the result of the careless use of kerosene. It is said that Miss Buckingham attempted to light a fire with the treacherous fluid, when it caught and the can exploding covered the three unfortunates with the blazing oil. Mr. Evans had been in the express business at Colorado Springs for several months before removing to Canon City. His late wife is a sister of Mr. R. Buckingham, the proprietor of the Colorado Springs Free Press. She was a lady of fine personal appearance, and above all a kind wife and affectionate mother. The remains of the three will probably be interred at Colorado Springs. Note: This woman was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs under the last name of Evens. Her tombstone states that she was 21 years, 9 months, and 16 days old, and was the wife of C. F. Evens, when she died on October 15, 1875.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Real Captain Jack

Ellen Elliott Jack
(November 4, 1842 – June 16,1921)

"I do not fear man or devil; it is not in my blood, and if they can shoot any straighter or quicker than I, let them try it, for a .44 equalizes frail women and brute men, and all women ought to be able to protect themselves against such ruffians."
"Captain Jack"

Ellen Jack had to be the best self promoter of her time. Living today, she would have had a FaceBook Page, A My Space account and could Twitter all day long. Who really was this lady behind the persona of a rough and tumble women of the west?

Ellen Jack was born in New Lentern, Nottingham, England in 1842. As a young child, the queen of a band of Gypsy’s, who had camped on the family estate, prophesied  Ellen was a  “Rosicrucian" a finder of hidden treasures. A beautiful young lady, with flowing blond hair, Ellen had no shortage of beaus, vying to win her hand in marriage. Her heart was given to her first love, Carl, a Russian. In a fit of jealous rage, stabbed her several times in the chest, after spying her with another man, unknown to him, was her cousin. Her sister insisted she take a trip to the US as a change of scenery would do her good. Aboard  ship, she met the handsome and dashing  Charles E. Jack. They were soon wed. A beautiful family and a happy marriage assured Ellen a fairy tale ending, however, that was not to be. Her children died within a short amount of time of each other. Her husband,  in time, succumbed to the injuries he  received in the Civil War.
By happenstance an encounter with her children’s former nanny, Jennie, changed Ellen’s life. Jenny, now a prosperous working woman  encouraged Ellen to head west,  to Gunnison Colorado. In Gunnison she opened an eating house, “Jack’s Cabin", which proved to be quite profitable. The Indians, at the time, did not take to being pushed off their ancestral land. Collarow(sic) a well known renegade  and several others,  decided to storm the town of Gunnison. As the Indians were taking the town, Ellen stood her ground,  firing her 45s, even though she was bleeding profusely from a hatchet wound to the forehead.  It was Collarow himself, who rode into town, under a white flag to save the Pale Face, suffering from the poisoned hatchet. These fantastic stories must be true, after all, Ellen wrote them all down in her autobiography, The Fate of A Fairy or Twenty Seven Years in the Far West.
Unfortunately, none of Ellen’s adventures in Colorado are captured in the book.

 Ellen soon found herself in Colorado Springs. She located a much more prosperous commodity than gold.  She mined for tourists.

In the early 1900’s, High Drive was constructed as a scenic drive,  intersecting at Gold Camp Road and North Cheyenne Canyon, above Helen Hunt Falls. Hack drivers met the incoming trains, at the Denver and Rio Grande Depot, each competing for the business of these Eastern tourists  who wanted a Wild West experience. Ellen exploited the tourist’s gullibility. Outfitted in a simple cotton blouse, wool skirt with lace up boots, she accessorized with a mining pick, and a six shooter, tucked into her belt. Ellen posed for photo postcards she sold at Captain Jack’s Place.  She rented cabins, cooked up a delicious friend chicken dinner to those who braved the narrow winding road up High Drive. Quite the eccentric on her own, she lived with her pet burro, cats and parrots, often posing for photographs. Posing as a prospector could easily had been for publicity, however, one could only wonder. In a 1905 February 5th, Gazette Telegraph article, she claimed to have discovered a cave to rival that of Cave of the Winds. Whether that was true or not we may never know.
In 1920 a flood washed out the road to High Drive. Luckily, Ellen was in town at the time. Although not in the best of health, Ellen yearned to return to her beloved High Drive. Due to finances, the city decided not to go to expense of rebuilding the road.Ellen’s health deteriorated and she found herself confined to a hospital bed. She died on June 16, 1921. Leakage of the heart was listed as cause of death, however, those who knew her best, believed she died of a broken heart, unable to return to her beloved home.
Ellen Jack was buried by the Ladies of The Grand Army of the Republic. Her grave, in Evergreen Cemetery, faces High Drive.