Doll, Nottingham legacy persists in Avon |

Doll, Nottingham legacy persists in Avon

Special to the DailyA young Frank Doll

To understand Frank and his history is to understand that Frank married Imogene Nottingham, the daughter of William Nottingham, who owned much of the valley floor between Dowd Junction and western Avon.

When William first came to Colorado and the Eagle Valley, he wandered through two rocky cliffs that separated Gore Creek from the Eagle River and down into a sagebrush-covered valley. There he found a piece of land that seemed to call to his soul. He found some squatters living in a dug-out on the property and ended up giving them $100 for the land and another $100 for the shed, which was a high price in those days. Next William filed on 160 acres of land and found three other partners to file on adjoining 160 parcels, thus bringing the ranch to a total of 640 acres. One of the partners was named Swift, another Hurd, and another was a cowboy. Well, the cowboy didn’t do well with ranching and he committed suicide and left no will, so his parcel was divided between the three men. As the saga continues, Mr. Hurd got in an argument with Nottingham and killed him. Just to add insult to injury, Hurd married Nottingham’s wife.

William’s children included three boys and two girls, Imogene being one of the girls and Charolette Oleson being the other. Willis Nottingham was a grandson of William, his father being Emmett. Willis’s brother, Bill, owned much the Avon valley floor and raised sheep.

The old Nottingham house still sits beside the Eagle River in Avon, lived in by Mauri Nottingham and his wife, Nancy. Next door to them is Frank’s house, where he lived with Imogene for over 25 years.

So the Doll family, who started down in Gypsum in the last 1880s merged with the Nottingham family, who started in Avon about the same time. Two great pioneering families, who carved a niche in the Eagle Valley continued to live and play in the country they loved. After a battle with cancer, Imogene passed away several years ago. Sharon and Kathy Doll live and work in the Eagle Valley. Patricia, married, with two grown sons, lives in Wyoming.

Frank continues his storytelling up at the Hyatt Hotel. He is a professional greeter and always has a smile on his face. Ask him a question and be prepared to sit down and be enthralled with a story. He can tell you anything about Gypsum, Sweetwater, Edwards, Avon, Beaver Creek, and Vail. He has firsthand knowledge about several wars. He remembers Dachau. He has chatted with royalty and CEO’s of America’s greatest companies. He can speak with authority about how to turn and ski or swing a golf club. He can talk about horses, cattle, and sheep. He knows all about the land where the early prospectors mined up in Holy Cross City, because Bill Nottingham grazed his sheep there and Frank, always willing to help other people, used to help Bill herd his sheep. Frank has toured the local graveyards and can reminisce about every aspect of the forming of the greatest resort area in the country.

That’s Frank Doll.

“To me, the greatest joy in the world is helping people.”

” Frank Doll, March 2007

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