Evergreen Colorado is Filled with History

Some of the first settlers in Evergreen were the Humphreys. The property was first developed by John J. Clarke in 1878 when he homesteaded 350 acres.  He raised cattle, logged and built a small homestead cabin that still exists as the oldest part of the house. The center of the house and the stone walled root cellar were built by “Cousin Jack,” the best carpenter in Central City, in 1883. As most Evergreen residents, Clark used the land to log wood to meet the growing demand for lumber in Denver.

In 1920 Lucius (Lee) and Hazel Humphrey bought the ranch and moved here in 1921 with their daughter, Hazel Lou. The Humphrey’s named the property Kinnikinnik Ranch.

Lee Humphrey was born at his grandfather’s farm house in Jericho Center, Vermont in 1883. His ancestors came to New England from England in 1680. His newspaper career began early as he was editor-in-chief of his school newspaper at Edmonds High Schools. He moved to Colorado in 1911 with his first wife Blanche. She died of tuberculosis in 1914.

Lee was head of the copy desk at the Rocky Mountain News for 25 years and the Denver Post for 10 years. He was a newspaperman’s newspaperman and according to the Rocky Mountain News, “never too hurried to be right and never too busy to be courteous and kind.” He even helped Mary Chase, author of Harvey, when she was a young reporter.

He too was known as the mountain area’s first year round Denver commuter. An honor indeed as Evergreen did not become know as a commuter community until the 1950s. He drove a Model T, that he named Mary Ann, for two and a half hours daily to reach the copy desk in Denver. At the time of his death in 1946, the Rocky Mountain News estimated that he had driven over a half a million miles - just to get back to the home and family he loved.

Hiwan History Museum

Hiwan’s architecture and collections speak of a bygone and elegant age. The museum is furnished with original and historic furnishings, and its artifacts include a sampling of the Native American art collection of Eric Douglas, longtime curator of Native Arts at the Denver Art Museum. Unique programs, displays and exhibits, which are sponsored by the Jefferson County Historical Society,  bring history to life at Hiwan. Active craft and interpretive school programs are complemented by field trips, subsidized by the Jeffco Open Space Foundation.

Hiwan Homestead was a cherished mountain retreat to the families who lived within its rough-hewn walls. In the 1890's, Mary Neosho Williams, a Civil War widow, and her daughter, Josepha, were among the aristocratic society of Denver who camped at Evergreen.

They acquired the simple log structure and hired John "Jock" Spence, a Scottish carpenter, to convert it to a summer cottage. The property was named Camp Neosho after Mrs. Williams' middle name. Overnight guests would stay in tents, comfortably equipped with wood floors, stoves and double canvas walls.

In 1889, Josepha graduated from Gross Medical School in Denver and became one of Colorado's first women doctors. Seven years later, Josepha married Canon Charles Winfred Douglas, an Episcopal clergyman who achieved world acclaim for his musical work.

Josepha Douglas died in 1938 and the house was sold to Tulsa oilman, Darst Buchanan. His wife renamed the land Hiwan Ranch. Buchanan's Hiwan Hereford cattle were known throughout the country and won many stock show prizes.