Summer 2022 Newsletter




P.O. Box 181, Howard, Colorado 81233
Facebook: Western Fremont Historical Society
0070 Co Rd 56, Howard, Colorado 81233


 Here is what we have in store for our history loving friends this season: 

Access Sundays – This year we are focusing on our monthly “Access Sundays” at the History Center in Howard.  We invite everyone to stop by and enjoy informative displays and special presentations on the last Sunday of each month during the summer and early fall.  In May, we shared an array of vintage toys, while June’s special feature was souvenirs and artifacts collected by Kris Shurr during her military service abroad.  Upcoming features will include:

  • July 31, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. – books by local cowboy/historian/author Paul Huntley who rode the range in western Fremont County in the first half of the 20th century
  • August 28, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. – antique tools and farm implements (Bring your treasures/stories!)

Historic pictures/documents/artifacts wanted!  If your family, friends or neighbors happen to be sorting old documents, pictures of the local area, etc., please don’t send those items to the dump or let them leave the area without contacting WFHS.  We don’t have a lot of space, but we are keenly interested in preserving local history and would love for those items to stay in western Fremont County.  Contact one of the Board members below regarding any pictures, letters, documents, etc. that should be preserved.  We would love to hear from you!

Events and Tours

  • July 4, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – WFHS commemorated our nation’s birthday with our friends and neighbors at Howard Hall. Open House at our History center featured a special program regarding flag etiquette as well as displays of military memorabilia from local collections.
  • September 24Watch for details about a tour of the historic Amy Homestead on County Road 4 in Howard, featuring the original house, outbuildings, orchard, and a variety of vintage farm equipment,

Mullins property update –The family of Glenn Mullins recently donated the building that formerly housed the general store on Plum Street in Cotopaxi to WFHS.  This building once was the community hub in Cotopaxi, housing the Post Office as well as the general store; we hope to preserve the building and eventually include historic displays and local artifacts for the public to enjoy.  We anticipate a lot of planning, fundraising and elbow grease will be required.  Stay tuned for ways you can become involved in our latest preservation venture!

WFHS Board of Directors

Craig Leitner, President (719) 207-0015                                            Kris Shurr, VP/Membership (719) 942-3653

Barbara Snyder, Secretary (719) 539-3956                                       Cinde McPhail, Treasurer (719) 942-4521

Betsy Denney, Historian/Programs (719) 942-3679                        Shari Mohr, Community Outreach (719-942-3355)

Casey Hildebrand, Bldg. Maintenance (720) 412-4001                   Debbie Hildebrand, Event Coord. (303) 506-4399






Board of Directors
Betsy Denney
Craig Leitner
Mark Minor
Shari Mohr
Kris Shurr
Barbara Snyder


P.O. Box 181, Howard, Colorado 81233
Facebook: Western Fremont Historical Society
0070 Co Rd 56, Howard, Colorado 81233



Dear Friends,                

After months of canceled events and limited social contacts, you may be ready for some positive news.  We are too, and we’re so excited to share it with you:  Exterior preservation of our 1898 historic church building in Howard, which currently serves as our “History Center”, is finally complete!!  So many events and projects have been canceled this summer, we feel really fortunate that our general contractor, Jon Sargent of Deep Roots Timberworks, was able to work with numerous local subcontractors and maintain the schedule to complete the project by the end of October.  Some of you have been able to drive by the site over the past few months and observe the project as it progressed.  For others, seeing pictures of each stage in the project on our website was a fun and interesting distraction during this “Safer at Home” stage of the pandemic.  Either way, we hope you are as pleased and impressed with the results as the Board members are.

You may be aware that the bulk of funding for this project ($71,928) was obtained through a grant from the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF).  The SHF receives funds for grants through a portion of tax revenues from limited-stakes gaming in the towns of Cripple Creek, Central City and Black Hawk, and their grants are extremely competitive.  WFHS was required to raise matching funds in the amount of $24,000 as our share of the project costs, which we were able to do, thanks to your individual donations and community support, including a substantial donation from the Pleasant Valley Club, as well as grants from the Anschutz Foundation, Sangre de Cristo Electrical Assn (SDCEA) Board of Directors, SDCEA Operation Roundup and CoBank Sharing Success.

Several people deserve special recognition for their roles in bringing this project to fruition.   Former president of WFHS, Janet Lastovica, was instrumental in gathering information on the history of the church and its role as the first church in the entire Pleasant Valley area to get the ball rolling for the initial Historic Structure Assessment.  Ellen Hopkins then stepped forward and volunteered to serve as preservation project coordinator, which turned out to be a HUGE task of fund-raising for the required match, completing the grant application, submitting progress reports, managing deadlines, fielding questions from Board members, and attending on-site meetings with the contractor and subcontractors along with current president, Craig Leitner.  Craig also provided on-going oversight and feedback, sometimes on a daily basis, at the work site.  Our heartfelt thanks go out to them, as well as past members of the Board, for their dedication to this project, and their perseverance during the long years and various stages of this process.  There were times we weren’t sure the project was actually going to come to fruition, but here we are, finally with a beautifully restored exterior of the historic church building which now serves as the WFHS History Center.

We also want to recognize the team whose skill and expertise made the project possible:

  • Barbara Darden, Preservation Architect – Scheuber & Darden, Architects
  • Dave Wittman, Preservation Structural Engineer – Martin Martin Consulting Engineers
  • Michelle Slaughter, Archeologist – Metcalf Archaeology
  • Jon Sargent of Deep Roots Timberworks – general contractor
  • Thaddeus Hust, masonry contractor – Agave Masonry
  • Mike Perschbacher and Jesse Haro, window restoration – Older than Dirt Construction
  • Kurt Etscheidt, painting contractor – Kurt’s Painting
  • Bob Ferraro, excavation and site work – KT Sales and Excavation

We have surely missed sharing historical programs with all of you in 2020 – what a strange year this has been!  Hopefully, there will soon be light at the end of the tunnel and we will be able to meet again in 2021 for some fun programs and events.  Be sure to look at the pictures of the preservation project on our website and enjoy pictures of past programs and events while you are there.  If you have comments or questions in the meantime, please feel free to contact any of the Board members listed below.  We’d love to hear from you! We appreciate your ongoing support and interest in the history of Western Fremont County, and wish you the best – stay safe and healthy!!

WFHS Board of Directors
Betsy Denney (719) 942-3679 Craig Leitner (719) 207-0015
Casey Hildebrand (720) 412-4001 Debbie Hildebrand (303) 506-4399
Mark Minor (719) 207-0921 Shari Mohr (719) 942-3355
Kris Shurr (719) 942-3653 Barbara Snyder (719) 539-3956