Parker Colorado history is rich and colorful as well as diverse. It began as the small settlement of Pine Grove. Parker was on the Smoky Hill Trail (nicknamed the “Starvation Trail”) and Cherokee Trail. More pioneers coming from the East died of starvation rather than from Indian attacks.
The original Pine Grove post office was moved to the junction of the Smoky Hill Trail and the Territorial road into Denver. This post office, after many additions, would become Twenty Mile House (20 miles from Denver). Twenty Mile House was a welcome site for weary travelers as well as a refuge for local residents from Indian attacks. There was a ballroom that was used for local gatherings. This was the beginning of a stable settlement and Parker Colorado history.
The first stage service was the Butterfield Overland Despatch and Express and Freight Line. The first stage arrived in Denver on September 23, 1865. The Butterfield company was purchased by Holladay and eventually became part of Wells Fargo. I love Parker Colorado History. It is a slice of the Wild West.
Twenty Mile House was an integral part of Parker Colorado history. It was sold to James Parker in 1874. Parker catered to freighters traveling along the Smoky Hill Trail. James Parker donated land for the first school in Pine Grove, as well as offering room and board to the teacher during the first year.
When the Denver and New Orleans Railroad came to town, Twenty Mile House morphed into a railroad station. It had a depot, section house, water tower and warehouses. This helped the area grow. The Twenty Mile House was changed to the name of Parker’s.
The railroad now began to carry mail into the Pine Grove post office at Twenty Mile House. However, there was another Pine Grove on the South Platte River. The postal authorities changed the name from Pine Grove to Parker.
Parker had a number of orchards. E. R. Parson’s orchard had 1000 cherry trees, 200 plum trees, 200 apple trees and 1000 currant bushes. There were also a number of ranches and dairy farms in the area. Many local residents raised cattle and horses.
Parker Colorado history includes one local resident, Charles Goodnight purchased a second hand wagon, built a cabinet in the back end that wads divided into sections to store food. The cabinet door was hinged and could be let down and supported by a single leg. He called this cabinet a “chuck box”. This became to chuck wagon used by cowboys and now for fun on dude ranches.
Points of historical interest in Parker Colorado history are:
Fonder School – Miriam Fonder had a school in her house in 1861. Next a log school was built. Lava stone, hauled by David McMurdo, built the current school building. The grange and various church meetings were held in the school.
The Conrad Moschel Memorial can be found in Castlewood Canyon. Conrad Moschel was with a group sent from the California Ranch during the height of the Indian problems in the Lake Gulch area. They were charged with picking up a valuable herd of short-horn cattle.
The group was attacked by 30 Indians. Moschel’s horse got stuck in the mud and Moschel was killed. He was scalped and buried where he died. There is a memorial carved in the rock cliff above the grave. This is just one of the many stories about Parker Colorado history.
On Parker Road you can still see the spring house that belonged to a TB Sanitorium built by F. H. Allison for TB patients. It was called the Ponce de Leon Springs.
There is a marker in the Hilltop area marking the Smoky Hill Trail. Hilltop was originally called Belleview. In 1888 it was a railroad stop on the Denver and New Orleans. It took two engines to make the 1000 foot grade from Denver to Hilltop.
The Methodist chapel, now known as the Ruth Memorial Chapel, was built in 1913. It was served by traveling preachers up until the 1960s.
The Ave Maria Catholic Church was built across the street from the Ruth Memorial Chapel in 1916. It has since been moved from the original site.
For more information about Parker Colorado history contact the Parker Historical Society.
For more information about Parker Colorado Real Estate or homes for sale along the Front Range, call Marilyn Van Steenberg, Dream Home Consultant, Certified Residential Specialist and Eco-Broker.
Specializing in Buyer Representation & Relocation Real Estate Transactions.