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Buffalo herds and Indian chiefs

Special to the Daily Built in 1927, the Chief Hosa Lodge (off-ramp 253) is a great stone structure set on the site of sacred American Indian grounds.
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Editor’s note: Dick Hauserman is well known as one of the founders of Vail. But he also has made the trip from Denver to Vail in excess of 1,000 times, which was the inspiration for his book “On the Road to Vail and Beyond” published earlier this year. Following is an excerpt from the book aimed at making frequent I-70 travelers say “Oh, I didn’t know that!”Buffalo Herd and Scenic OverlookAfter you ascend the long uphill climb past the Sculptured House, you will arrive at off-ramp #254. If you take a brief stop at this exit, you will be able to photograph one of the most scenic views of the Front Range. Another special attraction, especially for those of you who are interested in Buffalo Bill and the Old West, is the buffalo herd that is usually visible immediately to the right of this off-ramp.Chief Hosa

This is a story about which I can say, “I didn’t know that!”Most of us pass the sign at off-ramp #253 that says “Chief Hosa.” For years, I have wondered what it meant. Who was Chief Hosa? Where did the road take you?I asked historians in the area without success. Finally, the Colorado Department of Highways, Bridges Department, gave me the name of a person to whom I could talk. Her name was Carol Desehull, at the Chief Hosa Lodge in the Chief Hosa Campground.Many years ago, the Ute Indians had a chief named Little Raven. He was concerned about so many Indian tribes being at war with each other. He promoted and was successful in setting aside several acres to be declared sacred grounds where the warring tribes could meet and discuss their differences in peace. It worked. Meetings were held at the campgrounds without incident.Little Raven also protected other Indian and white settlers at the campground. For his tremendous effort and successful results, his name was changed to Chief Hosa, which in the Ute language means “peaceful and beautiful.”

George Cranmer, head of Denver’s Parks System, was a close friend of Carl Howelson, the great Norwegian ski jumper. They cooperated in 1919 in the building of the Genesee Ski Mountain, Colorado’s first international ski jump site on a hill adjacent to Chief Hosa. Denver Police records indicate that the biggest skiing competition in 1919 drew between 40,000 and 50,000 spectators to major jumping events, the best-attended ski competition ever held in Colorado at the time.A lodge called the Patrick House was built at the site in 1918 to commemorate the start of the Denver Parks System. The original DenvertoSan Francisco stagecoach line stopped at the lodge. It still stands and is used as a private residence.The present Chief Hosa Lodge was designed by a Parisian architect, Jules Jacques Benoit Benedict, and was built in 1927. It is a great stone structure worth seeing. Today it is part of the Denver Parks System and is used mainly for weddings and outings.The Walstrum Quarry



A few miles further west, Interstate 70 descends a long hill. On the right, just before reaching the bottom near the turnoff to Central City, is a large mining project. The Walstrum Quarry is owned by an aggregate mining company that sends sand to Denver and mines granite used for asphalt and cement material. The owners are environmentally conscious, work well with the community and have a substantial presence in Idaho Springs and Clear Creek County. On the property are a few large vessels used to store water for the Denver and Clear Creek county markets. Some of the rock from the quarry is used to build homes and is often used by land developers in the Vail area.The Walstrum Quarry was started more than 20 years ago, and, according to Dan Frie, son of the founder, Albert Frie, it will be there for another 200 years.Vail, Colorado


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