6/19/2005

THE REMAINS OF THE DAY AT RAMPART

By Corey Corbett

On my way back from a scheduled trail work party with the Rampart Range Motorcycle Management Committee, I had one more thing that I wanted to do. It was Sunday June 19, 2005, and it was “Fore-Father’s Day” at the Indian Creek Schoolhouse right off HWY 67, just before the entrance to the Rampart Range Motorized Recreation area in the Pike National Forest, and they were having a party!!

On an invitation to attend, I would show up and represent the motorized community that share in the recreational use of the neighborhood. The celebration showed great community support from Equestrian and Motorized recreational trail users, the West Douglas Fire Department, the US Forest Service, as well as many local residents and area Historical groups. There was potluck to eat, live music and a great crowd! All were gathered to celebrate the culmination of a major undertaking; an endeavor that had taken years of effort from several different people.

The project started some time ago when construction crews, working in Castle Pines uncovered the skeletal remains of a body that appeared to have been buried for a long time. State Archeologists, the Douglas County Coroner’s Office and an assortment of other official agencies were called in to determine the forensic needs or historical value of the old bones. After a year of research and scientific findings it was determined that the remains were that of a woman that had been buried around the mid to late 1800’s. She had lived a very hard life for only about 25-30 years. Evident was the severely bad condition of her teeth from malnutrition and poor bone development from osteo-arthritis. Aiding in determining how old the body was, were the discoveries that she had been buried in a pine box with square nails and had glass buttons on her garments.

Since it is the responsibility of the Douglas County Coroner’s Office to re-intern the remains after the official investigation was over, the next big challenge was to find a final resting place. Upon hearing this news, the Indian Park Schoolhouse Association asked that the Pioneer woman be buried in the small historic, homesteader’s cemetery next to the old schoolhouse. The coroner’s office agreed that the location was quit fitting and that there could be no better spot. So amongst the celebration, and with all the formality of an official Color Guard, a bugler playing taps, Native American Drums and with reverent solemn words from a “Pioneer Preacher”, the mystery woman was finally put to rest… again.

So the next time you are on your way to a day of trail riding in the Pike National Forest, just as you are about to turn off the highway onto Rampart Range Road, as you pass the grassy meadows on your left and the old schoolhouse on your right, remember to pause for a moment and recall some of the more colorful history of the area.

Indian Park School 1403 Colo. Hwy. 67 National Register 2/8/1978, 5DA.211 This simple, wood frame rural schoolhouse operated from 1884 to 1959. Source: History Colorado

 

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