Barbara Parker – mushroomer, "postmistriss’
Barbara Parker played a low-key but important role in early Vail. She, along with Betty Seibert, was one of the founders of the Vail Country Day School, now Vail Mountain School. She instituted the first art classes at the school, and from that developed the first summer art program.
This ultimately became a successful, ongoing series. She also had several small business activities. When Vail needed an informal in-village post office, she became the first “postmistress.” The post office operated out of the Hauserman Building. In the early days, if you were to name the top five women, Barbara Parker would certainly be one of them.
Parker also collected mushrooms. The hobby started when she and her husband, Bob, lived in Europe. They had friends who introduced them to wild mushrooms. Barbara became very interested, and when they moved to Denver she would go into the mountains and gather mushrooms. When she got to Vail, she discovered it was the mushroom capital. She annually collected mushrooms to dry, pickle, and preserve and kept her family and friends in wild mushrooms for many years.
Editor’s Note: In a continued effort to help the community understand its roots, the Vail Daily for a second time is serializing Dick Hauserman’s “The Inventors of Vail.” This is the 120th installment, an excerpt from chapter 13, “The Women of Vail.” The book is available at Verbatim Booksellers, The Bookworm of Edwards, Pepi’s Sports, Gorsuch Ltd. and The Rucksack, as well as other retailers throughout the valley. Hauserman can be contacted by phone at 926-2895 or by mail at P.O. Box 1410, Edwards CO, 81632.