Estes Park Archives Program September 11

Lyons, Colorado in the mid-20th century, and the origin of Lyons (inset) in the late 19th century. Courtesy Sanborn Research Centre

The Estes Park Archives continues its September series of programs on Colorado towns impacting Estes Park's early history with the long-forgotten mining settlement of Silver Dale, probably more familiar to most residents as Lyons.

Although Lyons history is purported to begin with the purchase and development of 160 acres encompassing present-day Lyons by Connecticut transplant E.S. Lyon, homesteaders were proving up on property in north-central Boulder County well before this, and plenty of prospectors were spread out all over Colorado looking for high-grade ore from 1859 forward.

Isabella Bird mentioned at least three different settlers between Estes Park and Longmont in the St. Vrain Valley in her 1873 letters, including one identified by name. And while most later movement of families once the two communities were established was in the direction from Lyons to Estes Park (think the Sam Service family, or the Billings, Grubbs, and Rockwells), the first transplants moved in the opposite direction - Early Estes Park cattleman and hotelier Griffith Evans, along with his wife and children, appeared in the 1880 census in Boulder County, and Griff was clearly involved with early quarry and business development in Lyons by 1882.

Estes Park Archives programs are held each Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. at 240 Moraine Avenue, and when the weather is warm enough, we sit outside and discuss whatever topic and interesting side-discussions materialize. During the most recent pandemic spike, vaccinations and masks have been encouraged, but all are welcome, including first-time visitors to Estes Park. Call 586-4889 for directions or more details.

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