The roots of the Surface Creek Valley Historical Society stretch back 42 years to the Colorado centennial and U.S. bicentennial celebrations of 1976. Building on the momentum of that statewide and national celebration, concerned citizens began an effort to establish an historical society and museum to preserve local history which was falling into disrepair and being auctioned off or sold at garage sales.
In 1980, one of the most visible aspects of Surface Creek history was a fast-disappearing remnant of the Old Bar-I Ranch near the intersection of Highway 65 and West 2nd Street in Cedaredge. During its heyday in the late-1800s through the mid-1900s, the ranch once included a large barn and several houses. But by 1980, only three wooded silos remained standing. Nearly all of the people who worked to acquire that historic acreage and save the silos, thereby establishing what is today's Pioneer Town, have since passed away.
Over the years, many local citizens have taken up the cause of preserving area history. And many have stepped forward to contribute artifacts and money and volunteer time to the Historical Society and to the Pioneer Town museums and historic village. After its modest beginning, two more parcels of land were acquired and more buildings were acquired until the current Pioneer Town consists of 24 buildings on five-and-one-half acres. The result is a multifaceted local and regional attraction that draws visitors and history enthusiasts from throughout the state and nation. There's only one problem.
The Historical Society has lots of artifacts and lots of historic buildings but it's running out of people.
On April 10, the society held the first in a series of events designed to attract newer -- and younger -- members and leaders. Addressing a group of history enthusiasts assembled in Pioneer Town's iconic Stolte Shed, and referring to the recently elected board of directors, the society's current president, Greg Hart, put it succinctly. "Look at us," he said. "We're old. Renewal is part of the natural order, and we are seeking new seeds and new blood to carry our organization into the future."
In addition to hosting a busy calendar of upcoming events, the society will be actively recruiting new members by holding a number of informational meetings. The next new leader/member meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 1, at 7 p.m. in the Stolte Shed at Pioneer Town, 388 South Grand Mesa Drive in Cedaredge. Anyone interested in becoming involved in the society and its work to preserve area history is encouraged to attend. Membership benefits include free admission to Pioneer Town events and receipt of the organization's quarterly newsletter.
To learn more about the Surface Creek Valley Historical Society and Pioneer Town visit its website: https://www.pioneertown.org