The above historic photo is from: www.townofgypsum.com/index.aspx?nid=82
Located just 30 minutes from the world-class skiing of Beaver Creek, and 45 minutes from Vail, the Town of Gypsum is at the west end of the
Eagle Valley. Gypsum is nestled along the Eagle River, is very picturesque, and is scattered with majestic rolling hills and abundant farm land.
If you turn 360 degrees you will see more than one mountain range in the distance.
Due to the westward location, the town of Gypsum enjoys a couple of more months of snow-free Fall and Spring than the neighboring towns to
the East. The town of Gypsum also has comparatively mild winters. The town still has its share of snow and cold; but reportedly the snow plows
do not run nearly as often as they do in Edwards, Avon or Vail.
Gypsum celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 1982. People settled in Gypsum in 1881, according to one history book, but the tent erected by
O.W. Daggett in 1882 somehow gained more historical attention.
The post office was established there in June of 1883, but the town did not incorporate until October 17, 1911.
Daggett, for whom Daggett Ditch was named, set up his tent on Gypsum Creek four miles south of where the town eventually grew up.
By 1884, 31 ranches existed in Gypsum Valley, an in 1888 Gypsum itself had a population of 50, according to “Early Days on the Eagle” by
McDonald Knight and Leonard Hammock, former Eagle County superintendent of schools.
Businesses around 1888 were numerous: blacksmith’s shop, general store, saloon, restaurant, hardware store and livery stable. By 1903 there
were two hotels the Gypsum Hotel and the Ulin Hotel.
According to “Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado” written in 1899, William Schliff, born in Germany in 1850, was the “the
first settler of Gypsum, where in 1881 he built one of the first houses.”
Incorporated in 1911, the Town of Gypsum enjoys enormous local popularity due largely to its mild climate, decidedly western flavor and
hometown feel. Residents claim you can fly fish out the front door and meet at least ten friends in every trip to the post office or grocery store.
Longtime locals and newcomers enjoy the convenience of nearby Eagle County Regional Airport and its quick connection to cities all over the
Ghosts in the graveyard in Gypsum
Gypsum Cemetery Tour reveals valley's pioneer history
Above photo from www.vaildaily.com
Daily staff report
GYPSUM, Colorado — There are more than a few colorful characters buried in Gypsum's Cedar Hill Cemetery. Valley residents will have an
opportunity to meet a few of them Saturday during the Gypsum Cemetery Tour.
The Eagle County Historical Society and the town of Gypsum will host the tour, part of Gypsum's centennial observance. Actors and actresses
from the Porchlight Players theater group will portray some of Gypsum's early pioneers.
Historical society President Kathy Heicher said a similar tour at the Red Cliff Cemetery two years ago drew several hundred people. The historical
society has spent a year researching Gypsum's history.
“The actors and cemetery setting make learning a bit of local history a lot of fun,” Heicher said.
Tour participants can expect to “meet” some of the fascinating people who helped settle the community.
Jake Borah, the renowned hunting guide who led President Teddy Roosevelt on a hunt in the Flat Tops wilderness in 1905, rests peacefully
along the original road through the cemetery. The hunt was successful (10 bears and two bobcats), and the storytelling Borah developed
camaraderie with the president that resulted in a long-lasting friendship.
South of Borah's grave is a simple monument marking the resting place of John Root, one of the earlier inhabitants of the cemetery. Root was a
true mountain man who was drawn west by the gold rush of the 1850s. He traveled to Colorado with a tribe of Utes, eventually settling in a dugout
near Red Creek on the Colorado River and living a life of simplicity.
The Doll family is prominent in the cemetery, as it was prominent in the early years of Gypsum's history. Brothers Frank and Sam Doll came to the
Gypsum Valley in 1887 and immediately recognized the potential of the sagebrush-covered valley. Within a few years, the Dolls had developed a
1,600-acre ranch and a racing stable where they raised thoroughbred horses.
Nestled under the pine trees and cottonwoods of the graveyard are graves of some of the businessmen and community leaders who helped turn
a sagebrush flat into a bustling ranch community. The tour will include stops at the graves of Theodore Stremme, the town's first mayor; J.P.
Oleson, an immigrant from Norway who became a prominent storekeeper and banker; and James Norgaard, a Danish immigrant and teacher
whose wife was the first woman to settle in Gypsum.
Tucked back among the earliest graves in the far corner of the cemetery is Charley Johnson's resting place. Johnson was a hot-tempered
cattleman who ranched at Dotsero. His name was linked with a couple of murders, arson and some missing cattle. He was generally feared and
ultimately met his end in a frontier-justice kind of way.
Two of the town's pioneers are buried across a gulch outside of the cemetery boundary. Rancher Ed Slaughter and crusading newspaper editor
O.W. Daggett were close friends and community rabble-rousers. They remain near each other in death, as they were in life.
The cemetery tours are expected to fill up quickly. Advance reservations are recommended. If spaces are available, tour participants can sign up
Saturday at the Lutheran Church on Second Street in Gypsum.
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