Historic Douglas County, Inc.
Our program thrust of this educational, mission-driven motivation is the research, development and presentation of Douglas County’s historical and pioneering past, presented in an insightful presentation format that is structured to provide its audience perspectives that are both educational and entertaining. Our programs have a storytelling manner that is different than how such information, if even readily available, is commonly presented in academic text or formal historical documentation.
Currently, Historic Douglas County, Inc. has three such programs available to the public upon request. Briefs of each of the three available programs are outlined below. These programs are presented by a speaker and augmented by an animated slide presentation that provides the audience with a broader understanding of how the information applied or applies to Douglas County. Each of the three programs is approximately an hour in length.
Historic Douglas County, Inc. provides these programs to historical societies and organizations and educational entities and schools free of charge. Other group organizations are requested to provide a small honorarium.
“Breeds…” is a fascinating, educational presentation that addresses the demanding question posed by Clara Peller in Wendy’s 1984 television commercial, “Where’s the beef?” This bit of program time travel delves into Douglas County’s early beef cattle industry, exploring the early entry of beef cattle into the County …from where the early various breeds of beef stock originated …and the pioneering ranchers who first introduced the major blooded breeds to the County. “BBR,” as the production is abbreviated, also provides a brief history of cattle brands …where and when brands were first used and the use of cattle brands in both ranging and early Colorado law enforcement. And, “BBR” attempts to provide a socio-economic perspective of the beef cattle industry by identifying impactful events that influenced the beef industry and by recognizing the various historical eras from 1860 to present-day that shaped the statistical peaks and valleys of the ever-changing beef market. (Developed by Historic Douglas County, Inc. 2014)
This presentation, also nick-named “Earth, Wind and Fire,” is a unique historical overview of Douglas County’s past 180 years. Unlike most historical renditions that cover pioneering families, people and structures, A Brief Reflection on a Rich History begins with the early 1800s in the time of Indians and Mountain-men and then winds quickly through the discovery of gold, the incoming of the ’59-ers and on into the settlement of Douglas County. A Brief Reflection focuses on the population growth and the social – industrial changes that have occurred throughout the past century. A Brief Reflection on a Rich History also gives a fascinating overview of the natural and manmade disasters that have tested residents’ mettle and helped shape our communities and Douglas County’s culture. (Developed by Historic Douglas County, Inc. 2011)
An early and influential pioneer of Douglas County, Oakes was a surveyor, entrepreneur, developer, lumber man, vigilante, legislature, Indian agent, family man and father of Huntsville and one of the thirteen original fathers of Denver …specifically, Auraria. Oakes comes alive with his relating the early influence of his father and the early loss of his mother, driving him on a path of family closeness and, yet, relying on his own intelligence and ability to change the world for the better.
Oakes, “Chess” as known by family and friends, is presented replete with an animated slide show that thumbs through the life of Oakes and his various vocations. Olive, Oakes influential and loving wife, was the strength of his convictions. Olive’s cousin, William F. Cody, was the instrument that put the “Fire in the belly” of Oakes in developing his drive to settle in the West. Oakes was close friends with Kit Carson and Territorial Governor, Alexander Hunt. Oakes had many friends and foes; Mountain-man Jim Baker, was his best friend and confidant. (Developed by Historic Douglas County, Inc. 2012)
The Goodnight Legacies opens the world of a man who was a legend in his own time, Charles Goodnight. Primarily a self-educated man, Charles Goodnight possessed a strong entrepreneurial mind and superb innovating attributes to become successful and a key contributing factor in the growth of the cattle industry in the mid-nineteenth century west. Goodnight’s strong moral character, far-ranging insight, inventiveness and his ability to attract and establish beneficial relationships established the foundation of what today is the oldest ranch in the Texas Panhandle, having operations in Colorado, the JA Ranch. If you ever read Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, you likely have dipped into the essence of Charles Goodnight and his friend and partner, Oliver Loving.
Introduced in the late fall, 2016, THE NIGHT THE DAM FAILED takes you back in time to the fall of 1933 when water burst through Castlewood Canyon Dam in southeastern Douglas County on Cherry Creek.
Volunteer Ranger Dennis Burdick does an excellent job with this program, covering the building and the structure of the dam, its operation and the impact to the County and beyond with the dam’s ultimate failure, releasing multiple billions of gallons of water downstream toward Denver. Castlewood Canyon Dam’s failure that fateful August was the fuse that drove the building for Cherry Creek Dam in Aurora years later …to fortify and protect the Queen City of the Plains.