Remembering Rolf Paul, Mayor and More

In preparation for packing some of our old —and some not so old—historic files off to the Jeffco Archives, we ran across an issue of the Morrison Messenger that was prepared in remembrance of Rolf Paul, who served on Morrison’s Town Board of Trustees from 1974 to 2000, and as mayor from 1980 to 1984. Rolf served the town with dedication, but not without controversy. By nature outspoken and colorful, he made enemies quickly, but turned many of them into friends if they stayed around long enough to appreciate his love for this small town.

Rolf Paul designed the distinctive logo for the town of Morrison, as well as many others in Morrison.

Rolf Paul designed the distinctive logo for the town of Morrison, as well as many others in Morrison.

As Mayor, Rolf quietly protected the small town from financial ruin and did his best to create exciting cultural events to keep the town a dynamic place to live and visit. A graphic artist and independent small-business owner, he juggled the Town’s needs with those of the foil-embossing and die-cutting shop he operated out of his home. For his business and his town, he operated on the principle of “bigger isn’t always better,” his daughter Krista reported. Rolf succumbed to cancer in January 2002, but is still well remembered in Morrison.

Read more about Rolf Paul’s legacy for the Town of Morrison.

Horton House Fire Update

Friends and neighbors gathered at the Horton House yesterday afternoon to board up the historic home after the destructive fire. Lumber was donated by Home Depot.

Workers at the Horton House after fire, October 1, 2015.

Workers at the Horton House after fire, October 1, 2015.

Boarding up the sunroom at the back of the Horton House.

Boarding up the sunroom at the back of the Horton House.

The Town of Morrison sent out this report:

The Horton House Bed & Breakfast in Morrison, Colorado, was built in the 1870s. The house was owned and lived in by Lila Horton. Many guests have stayed there while visiting Morrison and have had the chance to experience the historic building in all its beauty.

This morning the historic and popular bed and breakfast caught fire–while everyone did get out okay, the house was considered a total loss.

Lila does not have insurance and has created an account to help with the losses–everything from historic items dating back over 100 years to numerous personal keepsakes.

Please help Lila to rebuild! Go to: GoFundMe if you can help.


In the late 1800s, this was the dwelling of James and Amy Abbo; James ran Abbo’s Livery nearby on the property. The house was later occupied by Dr. Frank Luce and his family; he was Morrison’s “horse-and-buggy” doctor in the first half of the 20th century. From 1945 to 1973 the house was a Mexican Restaurant, El Gallo Tuerto, one of the first in the Denver area. Additions have been made over the years.

The photos below were captured by Kenny Noble Cortes, of KLOV Radio, during the fire.

Fighting the Horton House fire, October 1, 2015. Photo courtesy Kenny Noble Cortes.

Fighting the Horton House fire, October 1, 2015. Photo courtesy Kenny Noble Cortes.

Fighting the Horton House fire, October 1, 2015. Photo courtesy Kenny Noble Cortes.

Fighting the Horton House fire, October 1, 2015. Photo courtesy Kenny Noble Cortes.

Horton House Fire brings Painful Loss to Morrison

Historic Horton House

Historic Horton House in Morrison

Early this morning, the Horton House Bed and Breakfast was destroyed by fire! Heartbreaking photos indicate the extensive damage to Lila Horton’s childhood home, which she has run as a bed and breakfast for many years. (See “historic hospitality,” courtesy of City and Mountain Views.)

Lila has been at the center of Morrison’s history for many years, carrying on the preservation efforts started by her mother, Reenie Horton. She has owned and restored several historic buildings in town, some of which survive on the property.

If you have enjoyed staying at the Horton House, or just appreciated its quaint charm in a quiet corner of Canon St., please consider helping Lila and her family weather this tragic loss. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Lila replace basic necessities and find a place to stay.

Cabin Fever Dance January 26!

Join us Saturday night for the Cabin Fever Dance. (Details at link.)

No tickets, no cover, no minimum– but space on the dance floor (Morrison Town Hall, 110 Stone St.) is limited. Music by the illustrious Morrison Town Band. Sample a previous Cabin Fever Dance at our blog.

Help spread the word, or gather up your friends and hit the Town Hall for dancing, hob-nobbing, and general family fun. First set starts at 6:30, frolic continues to 11 p.m. or so.

Special Added Attraction!

A special showing of the new documentary The Rooney Ranch Legacy will take place next door at the Clubhaus (106 Stone St) beginning at 7:30 p.m. Appearing with it is a delightful short film on The Red Airplane Guy.

Family Visit: Schrocks and Smiths

Yesterday I had a nice get-acquainted visit from three descendants of two pioneer Morrison families. Since the Heritage Museum closed, people don’t find us as easily, but we always appreciate hearing from people who grew up in Morrison or folks who are researching family histories or have something to share. Now that we’re primarily online, please post your comments on any page here, or send an email to info AT historicmorrison.org.

We first heard from Jonas Henry Schrock (III) a few months ago, and that historic name got my attention! Yesterday, Jonas and I met for the first time, and he brought along cousins Karl and Mark Smith. The Schrocks and the (Henry*) Smiths are two of Morrison’s handful of early families whose stories are woven into the town’s history and who have many descendants in the area. Mark and Karl’s father, Bill Smith, had visited several years ago to share stories.

Jonas I came to Morrison in 1874 and homesteaded on Mt. Fischer. In 1888, he married Elnora Cleveland, and they began raising a family, ultimately seven children in all. Jonas II, born in 1899, was known as “Joe,” and, of course, was the father of Jonas III. Mary Schrock later married Henry Smith, of the Baker & Smith Garage, a long-time Morrison enterprise on main street where today the Morrison Carworks continues to provide similar services. They are the grandparents of Karl and Mark Smith.

The original Schrocks bought a home in town in 1906 and, as the gentlemen reminded me, sold the mountain property to John Brisben Walker, who later renamed the mountain “Mt. Falcon” and built a tourism empire in nearby Red Rocks.

Jonas Schrock ran, at various times, a meat market, liquor store, and saloon in Morrison. The latter is best remembered, and was the scene of an infamous double murder, the result of a quarrel between patrons in 1889. Jonas was considerably older than Elnora, and when he fell ill and later died, she was forced to sell some of the property to support her family. At this, she was obviously very successful, as her family grew and prospered as part of Morrison’s story. Like so many Morrison pioneer women, Elnora was hardy and capable and did what needed to be done!

More on the Schrock saga, along with the Smith story, will appear here later.

* Morrison’s other Smith heritage is in the Jeremiah-Robert Smith line.

Historic Happenings in Morrison

Tucked behind the hogback at the edge of the Great Plains, along the banks of Bear Creek 20 miles west of Denver in Jefferson County, Morrison is known as “the nearest faraway place.” The spectacular sandstone outcrops of adjacent Red Rocks Park, with its amphitheater built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, draw visitors from around the world to the tiny community with a population of 430. Morrison is known for the 1877 dinosaur discoveries of the first Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus, and Allosaurus, as well as the annual Mile-High Nationals drag race at nearby Bandimere Speedway. Survival has been the watchword throughout Morrison’s 140-year history, including disastrous floods and fires, the arrival and demise of the railroad, the economic ups and downs of tourism and mining, as well as the present-day pressures of urban growth. This website commemorates the willpower and pioneer gumption to survive that have been handed down through the families and businesses of this untarnished gem.

Morrison’s stories are accompanied by selected vintage images, collected by the Morrison Historical Society. Many were gathered in the 1970s by pioneer historian Lorene (Reenie) Horton. New images shared by local families supplement her work, along with selected photographs from other archives.

Cider Fest 2010

September 25 from 10 a.m. to Dusk
Grounds of Bear Creek Nursing Home,
Highway 8 and Summer Street
Morrison, CO, 80465

Free- make your own cider on “Apple Annie’s” historic cider presses —bring your own apples and empty beverage containers; bake sale by Red Rocks Elementary; horsehoe contest (register by 10:30am) by VFW Post 3471; car show by gocatspeedshop.com; ; live music at 2, 4 and 6 by Morrison Town Band and The Barley Bros./Holiday Bar.

Vendors include food by the Blue Cow, Smokin Yard’s BBQ, Pizza Casa, the Town of Morrison, Morrison Liquors, and the Morrison Action Committee; and a beer tent by VFW Post 3471.

And more: jumping castle by Mutual Of Omaha Bank; pedal tractors by Red Rocks Baptist Church; hay rides by Bear Creek Stables/Holiday Bar; climbing wall by the National Guard; massage by Lynn Downer’ Wood Art; women’s clothing by “Giddy Up” and others; wool purses by Susan; aprons and jewelry by Sally & Laurie; Beauty Control Cosmetics; Teddi’s Creations & Collectibes; Loose Ends Fiber Farm; and more!

Thanks to our Corporate Sponsors: Mutual of Omaha Bank, Canyon Tack & Feed, Bandimere Speedway, Aggregate Industries, Café Prague, Flights Wine & Coffee Bar, Morrison Natural History Museum Foundation, Morrison Carworks, Morrison Holiday Bar, West Chamber/Rooney Valley, Billfest Leonard, the Town of Morrison, and Others.

Also we wish to acknowledge the following the following for their generous in-kind contributions: Bear Creek Stables, VFW Post 3471, Bear Creek Nursing Home, Red Rocks Baptist Church, Chambers Consulting, Maja Stefansdottir Agency, Billy’s Home Cooking, Bear Creek Development,
Morrison Liquors, Budweiser Beer, Scramble Campbell, Kathy Wages, gocatspeedshop.com, Red Rocks Elementary School, The National Guard, the Morrison Action Committee, the Morrison Town Band, and all of the Ciderfest volunteers.