Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stories from a long time local

I never caught the guy’s name, but a person came into the bar the other night and was telling me about Arvada.   He says his family moved here in 1947 and Arvada had a population of only 1700 people (nope, it’s not missing any zeros).  

Although he moved away from the area, he still comes back to Arvada about once a year.  He has seen every High School and Middle School open, change and close, including the one that apparently used to be where the strip mall is next to Gunther Toodies.  He told me that the library is the location of the first King Soopers and that Carr St. used to be the edge of town.  Also that farmhouses speckled the country-side between Denver, Arvada, Golden, and Westminster. 

I had the chance to ask questions that only a transplant like myself could ask, like “Why is it called Church Ranch Rd?” (I learned that Church is a last name and their ranch was located there)  And in exchange for learning some cool history, I even listened intently when he and his friend drummed up fond memories when he played football for the Buffaloes (apparently both offensive, defense, quarterback and running back)

This guy remembers when the Yak and Yeti Brewpub was still a home that was lived in and tells me of what the neighborhood was like.  Neat stuff.   Here’s to last 60 years in Arvada growing to over 100,000 in population and the next 60.   Prost!

1 comment:

  1. The house where Yak and Yeti now resides was originally homesteaded by Eli Allen, who had orchards and raised race horses, among other things. He built his homestead cabin there in 1863. The current configuration of the house dates to a major remodel in 1891. Eli was the second postmaster of Arvada, after Benjamin Wadsworth, who first platted the town and established the post office. At that time, there were about thirty families who lived in Arvada, comprising about 100 people. Now there are nearly 110,000. It's the sixth largest city in Colorado.

    Arvada experienced a major growth spurt following World War II, when it changed from a farming community to a combination of industrial areas and suburban housing tracts. That's about when your friend moved here.

    Lloyd King established the very first King Soopers in Arvada, as you described. The high school was built in 1922, at the intersection of what is now Ralston Road and the Wadsworth Bypass. That was torn down some time in the 1970s. The "new" high school was what is now Arvada K-8, which was Arvada Middle School, and Arvada Junior High before that.

    Eli Allen gave the house to his son and daughter-in-law as a wedding present, but the son died soon after, leaving the pregnant daughter with a big house and lots of bills to pay, so she sold it to the Van Voorhis family, who lived there for many years. (Van Voorhis street, north of the present location, was named after them.)

    It was a boarding house for some years, and got pretty run down. In the late 1990s, the owners gutted it and it was destined for the wrecking ball, when a couple of aspiring entrepreneurs (one of them still frequents the place) spotted it and thought it would be a good place for a brewpub they wanted to build. Over 60 owners bought into their plan, many of whom gave their own sweat and labor as part of their investment. They completely remodeled the place, including digging a new cellar on the west side, which now houses the brewing equipment. At one point, they worried it would fall into the hole before they could shore up the walls. The brewpub opened in 2000, and has been in operation in this location ever since, the last three years under the current ownership of Nepal native Dol Bhattarai.

    Just thought you'd like to know.