Larkspur historical Society
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Spring Valley Timeline Overview

Millions of years ago this area was a lake and even today fossils and shells can still be found. Elevation here is 7,000 feet making the native grasses some of the richest anywhere on the Front Range. In addition to rolling grass lands, dense forests of Ponderosa Pine, Douglas fir, Red Cedar, and Aspen grow well here. Wildlife is plentiful with antelope, deer, rabbits, wild turkeys, coyotes, mountain lions, and mountain goats. Many large birds nest here such as hawks, turkey vultures, and eagles. Smaller birds like robins, doves, finches, bobolinks, blackbirds, wild canary's and hummingbirds are abundant. When Spring Valley was settled in 1860 buffalo were plentiful.

Mountain men inhabited the area from the Bijou Basin (just north of Peyton) into Spring Valley. Game was abundant and Cherry Creek provided trapping opportunities. It is said herds of 200 or more Elk could be seen at a time.

The early settlement of Spring Valley comprising German, English, Welsh and Irish settlers was of importance to Colorado from 1865 into the early 1900s. Most of the activity slowed down by 1885 when the post office closed. The population was stated at 100 in 1887. Beginning in 1860 this early settlement included the Spring Valley School, a pioneer cemetery, grange store, blacksmith shop with livery stable, a stage stop with hotel at the Gile Ranch and John Iron's Fort. The exact location of which has never been determined. In the Indian War of 1868 settlers were taking refuge near Spring Valley at John Iron's on Cherry Creek. In 1874, Mary Schillinger, a student at Spring Valley School, remembers 200 Ute Indians camped a mile southeast of the school house during the month of July. Two other Indian forts were in Southern Douglas County at this time one being the Peoples Fort, sometimes referred to as Oakes Folly, located at Huntsville just northeast of Larkspur and Fort Washington on the Ben Quick Ranch located west of Highway 105.

The first post office was established at the home of George W. Redman who received appointment in April of 1865. The next postmaster, Joseph Gile, retained the office from December 1865 until March of 1869 and indicated in a July 1868 post office application that Bradley Barlow and Thomas Barnum would deliver mail twice a week most probably at his stage stop. Jacob Geiger became postmaster April 26, 1882 and received mail at the Grange store which he managed. The Spring Valley post office closed in 1885 and the mail was delivered from Palmer Lake and Monument and later relocated to Greenland.

George W. Redman, Joseph Gile, Jotham and Joseph Lincoln, (two men named) Sheldon and Spencer (first names unknown) and a small boy, were the first settlers in the area in 1860. Jotham Lincoln and another man were killed by Indians September 4, 1868. Jotham was taken to his brother, Joseph's, home in Denver for funeral services and it is unknown where his is buried.

Spring Valley was most notably significant for its location as a stage stop on the west Cherry Stage Road from Frankstown south to Colorado City, (now Manitou Springs) being the only settlement between the two cities. The stop was located on the Gile Ranch, which included a hotel in 1864. A toll road was established February 9, 1866 by Frankstown and Gile Station Wagon Road Company. The ruts from the wagons can still be seen in the pasture just west of Spring Valley School.

  1867 Sept. 16, Rocky Mountain News. It is believed that this was posted at the stage stop of Joseph Gile when he was acting as post master. Thanks to the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection.

Potatoes, turnips, wheat and oats were some of the crops grown. Around 1895, when potato crops were good, potato bakes were held in Monument, Elbert and Elizabeth. It is said important figures would be invited to come such as the Governor.

A general store was build west of the school house and was managed for the Divide Grange 53 by Jacob Geiger who later purchased it from the grangers April 1, 1884.  The store mysteriously burned down April 13, 1885 after Lorenzo Leppert, a store merchant, came down with smallpox and had slept in the back room of the store. Other dreaded diseases for early pioneers and their children were diphtheria and scarlet fever as can be evidenced by the gravestone at the Spring Valley Cemetery.

Jacob and his brother, John, passed through Spring Valley during the Civil war and later established homesteads around 1869. The Geiger family still ranches the original homestead of John's being the 5th generation on the ranch.

The Spring Valley School shows up in 1865 in records of the Colorado State Archives as the third school district in Douglas County. It is unknown exactly when the existing structure was built since the building was purportedly leased and no deed can be found.  It is known from newspaper articles that Divide Grange 53 met at the school as early as 1878. The school was disbanded in 1946 and children sent to other schools. Early schools were used for many other things such as churches with traveling circuit preachers, grange meetings, court hearings and funeral parlors.

The Spring Valley Cheese Company, established in 1894 by Jesse Knowles and Newton Alderman, was located northeast of the schoolhouse site. Because of the rich grass in the area dairy cattle ranches were prevalent. Sometimes referred to as Tipperary many dances were held in the big barn after the cheese operation was discontinued. It is said that bootlegging was plentiful and the booze would be hidden in west Cherry Creek and then picked up if not stolen first to take to the dance. Many cheese factories were established in addition to Spring Valley one being the Williams Cheese Factory in Williamsville or Cherry now known as the Emil Anderson Ranch and at the Frink Creamery in Larkspur, famous for Black Canyon Cheese.

As pioneers crossed the Platte Valley Divide, Spring Valley Cemetery began as a burial site. Indians of the area avoided hillsides so early travelers believed their loved ones would be safe. The back portion of the cemetery was donated by William Holden to the people of Spring Valley February 22, 1877. Later, in 1913, Newton Alderman sold an additional two acres in front to provide access to Spring Valley Road. Buried there are many pioneers of Douglas County; the oldest identified graves are those of Horace Reynolds children buried in 1870.

Spring Valley Timeline by Years

  • 1860: Joseph Franklin Gile comes to Denver and settles on the Palmer Divide
  • July 10, 1860: Spring Valley is settled by George Redman, Lincoln, Joseph Gile, Sheldon,  Spencer and “a small boy”.
  • circa 1864: Jacob & John Geiger come through the area. Jacob Geiger was wounded and given a Civil War grant of land in Spring Valley.
  • 1864: Spring Valley Swing Station Stage stop in operation on the Gile ranch and included a hotel.
  • April 1865: A Post Office was established in the home of George W. Redman. In December 1865 Joseph Gile succeeds Redman and holds the position until March 1869.
  • 1866: Frankstown and Giles Station Wagon Road Company incorporated (Gardner, Brackett, Gile).
  • Feb 9, 1866: A toll road established from Frankstown to Spring Valley by Frankstown and Gile Station Wagon Road Company.
  • 1867:  Spring Valley “shown on Cherry Creek & Denver-Fountain City Trail” map. (notes of James Grafton Rogers).
  • 1867: Area looted & burned by Indians.
  • 1868: Settlers take refuge at John Irons Fort on Cherry Creek during Indian uprising.
  • September 5, 1868: Jotham Lincoln killed by Indians.
  • July 1869: Little Giant Saw Mill, Bassett and Son operating near Spring Valley.
  • February 17, 1874: Divide Grange 53 organizes and incorporates January 1878.
  • July 1874: 200 Indians camped one mile southeast of Spring Valley School.
  • 1877: Scarlet Fever epidemic in the valley kills six of Joseph Giles children.
  • April 1, 1884:  Grange store ceases business & sells out to Jacob Geiger.
  • Jan 27, 1885: Lorenzo Leppert dies of smallpox, school children exposed.
  • Feb 26, 1885: Janie Ritchey, finance of Lorenzo Leppert,  dies of smallpox.
  • April 13, 1885: Spring Valley Store burns, never to reopen.
  • July 3, 1885: Spring Valley Post Office closes.
  • August 29, 1894: Jesse Knowles operating Spring Valley Cheese Company.
  • July 1895: Local ranchers have obtained assays of gold from claims, they are working in the area.
  • 1946: Spring Valley School closes.