Estes Park Archives Event Saturday, November 23
This was not the first group to attempt the climb, but it was the best documented early attempt, and has thus entered the annals of Estes Park history as a significant milestone, worthy of note.
William N. Byers, editor of the “Rocky Mountain News” and the most prominent Coloradoan in the climbing party, wrote and published a three-part account of the expedition in the September 1864 “News.”
This lengthy report has become the “go-to” source for those researching the early history of Longs Peak and Estes Park. Indeed, Byers is credited with naming Estes Park, possibly because of the widespread belief that he coined this term to refer to the area surrounding the nearby Estes family ranch, and was the first to record it in published form.
Whether this is accurate or not depends on locating earlier written accounts from the Estes family or visitors to Joel Estes’ home. Another possibility, though, lies in tracking down primary-source material saved or published by other members of Byers’ 1864 climbing party, to see how well it corroborates Byers’ claims.
Join the Estes Park Archives next Saturday, November 23, at 1:00 p.m. in the George Hix Community Room for the first half of a two-part program on the attempted 1864 summit of Longs Peak. Local historian
John Meissner will display long-forgotten records related to this climb, including an intriguing account from another member of the group.
The George Hix Community Room is on the first floor of the U.S. Bank building on 363 East Elkhorn, opposite the downtown Starbucks. All Estes Park Archive functions are free and open to the public, and no reservations are required. For more information, access the Estes Park Archives website online, or telephone 970-232-4145.
Portion of the original published account in the Rocky Mountain News of the attempted 1864 summit of Longs Peak [yellow, right], and an unrelated account, reprinted from the 1864 Chicago Evening Tribune [left].