Saturday, July 18, 2015

Spring Valley, CO

 

Sitting on the banks of the West Cherry Creek River Branch, just north of the Palmer Divide is the little village of Spring Valley.  The school is still standing with a couple of out buildings and on north a ways is the cemetery and church. 

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The Cherokee Trail passed through the area in the 1850’s and the Military had mapped out the area for travelers.  Trade from Mexico went through this area and the Mountain Man had been trapping in the area for decades.  With the numerous springs and the stream to follow it was a well traveled route. 

When the Cherokee Indians passed through they were on their way to the gold fields of California.  They were quite the gold miners in their home country of Georgia and they wanted to see what the west coast had to offer.  As they traveled they would pan in the streams looking for the shinny flakes.  Along the cherry Creek river the Indians found lots of teasers.  When got to where the river met they Platte River they found good flakes of gold.  Here they set up a camp at the confluence of the Cherry Creek and the Platte River, calling it Auraria, after their home in Georgia. 

The Indians searched the other streams nearby and where Ralston Creek meets Clear Creek they found their first good gold deposit in the river.  Returning to their camp, it was decided that small group would return to Oklahoma where they had been moved to and tell other members.  The rest would go onto California and the following year they would meet the other members from the tribe at Auraria Camp with their equipment. 

Soon the news of the gold finds in the rivers of Colorado was spreading and people were heading into the new frontier to seek out their fortune. 

The military built a fort in the Spring Valley to protect the travelers from attacks, Fort Iron.  A short distance to the north is where the Smoky Hill Trail joined Cherry Creek to go north.  Soon Cherry Creek was bustling trail of fortune seekers.  There were wagon trains of freight moving northward to supply the miners. 

More and more people began to move in and settle in the area.  The late 1800’s the community of Spring valley was established.  Stores were built, a schoolhouse, homes, a Post Office and other shops.  It was a rich ground for farming and raising cattle.  Potatoes, beans and hay were the major crops grown in the fertile area. 

As civilization expanded, highways were built and none went near the little farming/ranching community.  Soon the shops and stores were moving and the Post Office closed.  The window of history was closing on the once busy little town. 

Here is a link to the Douglas County Historical Society web page about little town.  It appears the Society had a lease on the property but lost it for some reason. 

http://www.douglas.co.us/about-us/historic-preservation/county-landmarks/spring-valley-school-district-no-3/

 

This area along the County line is some of the most spectacular ranching land in Colorado.  Sadly developers are acquiring some land and planting 2X6’s with roofs in the area, putting blotches on the rolling vistas. 

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The school had been cared for but now appears to being neglected and at the whims of nature.  It is believed to of been built in the mid 1870’s.  For an old wooden building to have survived that long is a testimony to the care it had received.  The out building show signs of neglect yet they still stand after all those years.  On a hillside overlooking the valley resides the little country school. 

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