Last week I wrote about Evergreen, Colorado, a mountain town just west of Denver that I visited with my friend Laura. That same day, actually before visiting Evergreen, we stopped at the Hiwan Homestead Museum in Evergreen. You’ll learn more about that next week. This week I’m bringing you the Hiwan Heritage Park, which surrounds the museum. You can see the museum in the background of this photo:
The Evergreen Garden Club maintains a colorful flower garden there:
Just behind the main park sign and to the left of the garden stands this wonderful cowboy sculpture named “The Foreman” by local artist Laura Mehmert.
Turning to the right of the museum and flower garden, you can see the park spread out over a couple of acres.
The whole place was a privately-owned ranch back in the day. The Williams/Douglas families owned the ranch from 1893 – 1939, and it was known as Camp Neosho. They set up 12 or so “wall tents”, which have double walls of canvas separated by 2×4 beams, on wooden floor foundations. They were furnished with beds, stoves, lamps and other creature comforts. This was a common accommodation in those times and in this area. Family and friends would stay in the tents. Poet Robert Frost even passed some time there. A replica wall tent is on display in the park:
There are also two wagons:
On the left in the above photo is a chuck wagon used to carry provisions and cookware on the pioneer trail. The second is a prairie schooner, the one that most settlers used to travel westward. Despite what Hollywood would have you believe, oxen were the main engines because they are much hardier than horses.
An authentic (from what I can tell) teepee stands in the park as well. Research online tells me the park is a popular spot for school field trips, community concerts and even yoga classes.
That day a group of plein air painters were taking advantage of the weather and scenery:
Backtracking, I’m posting here the exterior shots of the museum = main house (next week you’ll see the beautiful inside). Around the side of the main house:
This looks like a baptismal font to me – and it could be, in light of the fact that one of the owners was a man of the cloth. Hard to say what it really is, though. If anyone knows, please leave the info in the comments below this post.
Here’s the covered back entrance to the main house:
The families that owned the place built many outbuildings, including a stone house, reachable by this footbridge:
A general store and maids’ quarters:
A log house for one of the sons:
There were more buildings, but they were all closed that day. In fact, we had to wait on the main house museum to open since we were so early. But it was a pleasant day in a pleasant, spacious mountain park, so I didn’t mind.
The Hiwan complex is on Colorado’s Scenic Byway called the Lariat Loop (State Rd. 74) and admission is free to the park.
Next week you’ll see the interior of the main house, as I said, and learn a lot more history than I have here. But please enjoy these green surroundings as a small respite from your day. It certainly was restful, with a breeze and birds chirping. Ah…
Photo for No Apparent Reason: