On 09 May 2000, Reverend Mason Brown drove up. He introduced himself and said that he attended the "Colorado Baptist Church Camp" at Estemere when he was 12 or 13 years old, about 1942. He said that he stayed in a second floor bedroom on the east side of the main house. They played "barnyard golf" on the lawn. It was a combination of croquet and golf. They used croquet mallets and balls that were a little larger than croquet balls. He recalls someone said the balls were made from bowling pins! They used coffee cans sunk into the ground and numbered like a golf course. He could not remember much about the house or the grounds. Reverend Brown said that the Colorado Baptist group is now known as the Black Forest Baptist Camp and Conference Center, and that Baptist Road is named after them.
On 25 May 2000, Glenn and Joleen Dalton drove up. Glenn was told, while researching his ancestry, that his grandfather, Daniel Dalton, had worked on Estemere and Estemere's fountains, around 1900. This information came from work-application papers recently discovered in Iowa. Daniel was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Glenn and Joleen think Daniel may be buried in the Monument area.
On 26 July 2000 a group from the Community Senior Center, 3295 W. 72nd Ave., Westminster, CO 80030, 303-426-4310, under the direction of Gini Granholm, Outdoor Recreation Coordinator, visited Estemere. There were nine guests: Margaret Huss, Bernice Lesser, Mary Lenihan, Joe Lenihan, Terry Lootens, WilAnn Lamsens, Wilma Finch, Yvonne Martin, and Gini. Margaret's father, H.H. Nininger, was the head of the Rocky Mountain Summer School at Estemere from 1922 to 1930. Margaret was born in 1925 and has many recollections of Estemere, including falling down the step on the west side of the house and getting a four inch splinter in her leg. She says she carries a piece of it in her still today! Margaret believes the beautiful dining table that graces the Estemere dining room was in use during the Rocky Mountain Summer School days. (A photo on the Denver Library web page shows the back of a dining room chair--it is not like the current chairs.) All enjoyed coffee and Danish after an extensive tour of the house and grounds. Gini remarked upon leaving that this was their best outing this year.
On 31 August 2000 Clara Euhus (nee Richter) and her sons Milton and Keith Euhus visited Estemere. Clara was a student at Rocky Mountain Summer School in 1928 and 1929 (or 1927 and 1928). Clara graduated from Hoxie, KS, high school in 1927. Clara was a school teacher in Hoxie and had to take college classes to continue teaching. Clara worked serving and washing dishes at RMSS to pay her room and board of $8 per week! Clara roomed with Christina Schlicher and Olive Thompson. They stayed in the "Carnation Room" which is the bedroom in the NW corner of the second floor. Clara recalls the big occasion when enrollment reached 100 students. Several of the students lived at Estemere, but many lived in the town and in the Glen. About five male students lived in the Cottage (Twin Pines Lodge back then). She remembers that most of the furniture was birdseye maple. It was a big deal to her that there was running hot and cold water in the kitchen for doing dishes in large dish pans and that the water was poured down the drain! Hoxie, KS, must have been pretty primitive in 1928! On Sundays Clara and Olive would pack sack lunches for the students who would hike, sit around, or drive to Denver for the day. Clara was born in 1908 and now lives at:
On 13 September 2000 Margaret Huss, her sister Doris Banks, and Doris' husband John visited (Doris is on the right in the photo). Margaret and Doris are the daughters of H.H. Nininger (see 26 July 2000 entry, above). They have a brother who is two years older than Doris. Doris was born in 1929 so she was 11 years old during the last year the Rocky Mountain Summer School was held at Estemere. Professor Nininger moved to Denver in 1930 to be the Curator of Meteorites for the Denver Museum of Natural History. He later retired to Sedona, AZ and died in 1986. He is the author of Nininger's Catalog of Meteorites. Doris and John live in Sedona, AZ, in the house built by Professor Nininger in 1957-1959. John was City Attorney for Denver until his retirement in 1975. Doris mentioned that Professor Nininger cut stones and meteorites at R.S. Niswanger's general store which was a block down the street from the Estemere. Doris mentioned that what is now the Chapel was the "carbide" plant that provided acetylene gas for lighting Estemere prior to electricity coming to the house. Doris also recalled that she and Margaret found an old, rusty "sword" in the tower. The tower had always been a 'scary' place for them to visit, but finding the sword made it even scarier! Margaret brought with her original 1929 and 1930 RMSS year books in mint condition. She and Doris were kind enough to allow me to photocopy them! What a treasure! We will add them to the history of Estemere collection that we are assembling to help preserve Estemere's past. From these year books I discovered: Dr. Thompson was a native of Akron, Ohio; graduated from Belvue Medical School in New York City; that Dr. Thompson had "acquired an immense fortune. . .and began a life of adventure . . . lived for eighteen months in Paris and six years in London"; decorated one small room of the Estemere with Indian curios he brought from Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico; that the RMSS, Inc., purchased Estemere from Mrs. Cora Costello and other heirs to the Ebon Smith estate in 1926; that there were only gas lights in 1930; the RMSS had 150 students in 1930; careful reading of the school history seems to indicate that the Estemere was not used by the RMSS until it was acquired in 1926; it's not clear where in Palmer Lake classes were held prior to 1926.
Seniors on the Loose Hiking Club from the Westminster (Colorado) Senior Center visited Estemere on 28 July 2001. Pictured here is Kim Ward, Gertrude, Cecilia, Margaret Huss (daughter of H.H. Nininger--See 13 September 2000 entry above), Dorothy, and Judy (left to right). They enjoyed an extensive tour of Estemere, then enjoyed coffee, tea, and Peach Tea Cake on the porch while Roger and Margaret read from the 1929 and 1930 Rocky Mountain Summer School yearbooks!
On 04 August 2001 Sara Robison, who owned the "Carpenter's House" (the carpenter who built most of Estemere--across the street from Estemere) brought over some original letters and abstract information on Estemere.
Helen Anderson and her son came by in late July 2001, to see Estemere. Helen is 92 years old. She is writing a book on historic homes in the Colorado Springs area. Estemere is the last one for her to visit. She hopes to publish the book later this year.
Ray and Linda Ferbrache', owners of COLORADO HOUSE OF DOORS and the creators of the beautiful new Victorian storm and screen doors used on the main house, delivered three more doors on Friday, 24 August 2001. We enjoyed showing them around Estemere and we had a nice lunch with them in Palmer Lake at Mike and Ingrid's new sandwich shop--Bella Panini.
On 01 February 2002 Winnie Metzler (see notes under "Chronology") and her friend Mary Jo Bond visited Estemere. Winnie gave us a number of photographs of her family when they owned Estemere from 1935-1944. Click on "Vessey-1941" at the top of this page to see the photos.
Chuck Pyle, Estemere Neighbor, Singer, Song Writer, Recording Artist, Always on the Road, and All-Around Good Guy, brought over his new Martin guitar to entertain us and a few guests prior to dinner 01 May 2002. Chuck's greatest fame came in a USA Today interview of Bill Gates on 05 September 2000, when Bill named Chuck his "Favorite Music Entertainer." Thanks, Chuck!
On Saturday, 18 May 2002, Lacey Leber and her fiancÚ, Robert Dorland, used the Estermere grounds for their wedding photographs, prior to their wedding later that day. For more photographs, go here: http://www.angelfire.com/az2/dorbanr/ .
and Lacey Dorband
Bruce and Kris Oliver, of Birmingham, Alabama, visited for a few days in June, 2002. We met Bruce and Kris while on a cruise around South America in the winter of 2001. They were teaching and directing bridge (the card game) on the ship. Kim and I learned bridge from Kris. This photo was taken at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.
Sally Achenbach stopped by for a tour of Estemere on 02 August 2002. She lived in Palmer Lake many years ago having graduated from Lewis Palmer High School in the late 1960s and had always admired the house. Sally and Sally Robison (Romack) (see above) were best friends.
"We are Pack 67 Den 3 Tiger Cubs from 1st grade Prairie Winds Elementary. The boys are Jake Hill, Eric Bergdoll, Richard Ito, Trystan Broeker, Andrew Premovich, Brandon Graczyk, Chase Wisnowski, and Pierce Torrance. One of the requirements for Tiger Cubs is to complete 5 "Go See It"s in different categories, and the visit to Estemere fulfilled the historical site category. Thanks once again; I know it will be one of the most memorable "Go See It"s--not only for the kids, but for the parents as well!" Andy Bergdoll is the Den Leader. Andy Hill organized the visit to Estemere.
On 22 January 2004 David M. Forsyth came by. David had been emailing me for a couple of years. He was working on his Master's Thesis on Eben Smith, the second owner of Estemere, and had found my web site. David has now finished his thesis and he delivered a bound copy for us to add to the "Estemere History Room." As a result of our emails and my web site, David was able to get in touch with Anne McCarroll (see Estemere 1901). He and Anne have corresponded extensively, and Anne has provided David with numerous photos and information for his thesis. Thank you David and Anne for contributing to our knowledge of Estemere's history. I will eventually read David's thesis and update the Estemere information for the Eben and Cora Smith years.
On 15 July 2004 Francis Koelzer, Helen, and Marianna of 338 F. Road, Centralia, KS 66415, tel. 785-857-3904, came by Estemere to visit. They were friends of the Leonards and visited Estemere many times. Francis commented that whenever they came the Leonards always put them to work!
June, 2007 Dana Franzen and Shelley Pruett and 10 friends attended a Brunch at
the Estemere that they bid on at the Tri-Lakes Women's Club Wine and Roses event
last November. They enjoyed a marvelous brunch prepared and served by
these seven members of the TLWC: