Timnath’s Main Street was closed to vehicle traffic and all decked out to celebrate Founders’ Day Sept. 12, an annual event dating all the way back to 1882. As the once-tiny town continues growing like Jack’s beanstalk, recognizing its seeds, roots and memorable past is all-the-more important.
In the midst of approximately 20 vendor booths, numerous long tables were set up for hungry event-goers to enjoy mouth-watering fare from four food wagons. Menu choices diversely ranged from spicy Mexican selections to open-air-broiled, marinated peaches.
A placard on each picnicking table shared an interesting historic fact. Examples: Surrounding farmlands were (and still are) primarily used for cattle, alfalfa, sugar beets and potatoes. The oldest house in town was built in 1865 for William Groff. Timnath’s original gas station, now home to Alpine Cabinet’s office, dates to when gas cost 13 cents per gallon. The rambling Timnath Hotel was built in 1905. The fire station building originally housed a grocery store (appropriate, as firemen are noted for their excellent cooking skills). Most surprising, the little town once had enough commerce and travelers to warrant its very own train depot. Service was discontinued in the 1940s and no one recalls the station’s fate.
Harkening back to olden days’ form of transportation, Colorado Carriage and Wagon provided event-goers free rides, compliments of friendly, adept driver Troy Hall and lovely, well-mannered, 12-year-old Percheron mare Jill. Gliding up and down several Old Town streets in the big, white carriage was a timeless, peaceful experience.
Some children thoughtfully but excitedly selected just the right entry for the zucchini race, while other kids down the line patiently sat still for face painting. A scavenger hunt for ages 7-13 provided successive clues about historic Timnath buildings. Once clever entrants identified all five locations, they returned to claim prizes.
Vendor booths included the soon-to-open Costco warehouse; adroitly hand-crafted birdhouses; gorgeous, hand-crafted wooden bowls, bone or wooden handled pens, and wood-burned scenes on plaques and spoons; a bounce castle.
A talented band played on as families and friends laughed and casually strolled about, perhaps just as did founding folks in 1882. A covered wagon was parked on the lawn of Timnath Presbyterian Church. Homesteaders might have parked their rigs real close by back when the congregation was called Presbyterian Church of Fairview or, a bit later, Presbyterian Church of Timnath.
All in all, the modest celebration completely lacked the glitz and glamour of a Disneyland or Six Flags. And how wonderful that was! Wonderful to learn about and share a simpler time — but not necessarily a better time because life was very hard and one’s first mistake was often one’s last.
Yes, Timnath’s original inhabitants, both Arapahoe and European settlers, dearly paid their dues so ever-increasing numbers of current and future residents can better enjoy the bounty of their own lives. It was a nice day to recognize and thank those pioneering few.