County natives share history at historical association fundraiser
When Ann Stricklin arrived at the Headwaters Center on Saturday for the Grand County Historical Association’s annual fundraiser, she wasn’t expecting to be taken back to 1951.
But when she saw the photo of her 8-year-old self and her sister, Laura, pumping water from a well on her family’s ranch, the memory was vivid in her mind.
“People think they’ve been coming here a long time with skiing since the 70s, but this is the 50s,” Stricklin said as she held the framed photo.
Stricklin grew up as a Lininger and her grandfather, Virgil Lininger, settled in Arrow, a former town in the Fraser Valley. Virgil bought a few hundred acres from a homesteading family at what’s now County Road 8 and US Highway 40.
The history of Grand County’s homesteading families, as well as the 100th year anniversary of the Pioneer Society of Grand County, was celebrated Saturday morning at the Taste of History fundraiser in Winter Park.
Stricklin recalled that Lininger logged the valley from 1903-1906 and then operated a sawmill until 1920 before moving to Denver. However, he maintained the property and the house and cabins on it, and she fondly remembers vacationing at the cabins throughout her childhood.
“They built a house, but it burned in the 40s, so when we came, it was just a rusted cabin,” she said. “There was just the one-room log house to start with, with no running water, outside bathroom. Laura and I were pumping water and we thought it was great.”
Since then, the cabin has been upgraded to have running water and expanded to more than one bedroom. But history remains on her family’s plot of land, including the remaining logs of the original homesteader’s house and the well Stricklin remembers pumping from.
Seeing the photo of her and her sister, as well as one of her grandparents Virgil and Pearl Lininger, highlighted for Stricklin how important it is to share these stories. In fact, one of the cabins on her family’s property is home to artifacts, pictures and remnants of Virgil’s life in Arrow.
“The community spirit is just everything, and we have to remember it because a lot of new people are coming to the county so we’ve got to keep the history alive,” she said.
Don Dailey, a local historian and fifth-generation Grand Countian, agrees. Dailey’s great-great-grandfather, PH Smith, not only homesteaded the Button Ranch on Cottonwood Pass but also helped create the Pioneer Society of Grand County in 1919, which became the parent organization for the Grand County Historical Association.
“Grand County’s history is so diverse and interesting that we’ve got to keep it alive,” Dailey said. “I hope (the guests) will continue to keep learning as we keep learning.”
The fundraiser was important, not only to share stories and learn more about the community, but also to help preserve it. According to Shanna Ganne, executive director of the historical association, the fundraiser accounts for about 20% of the group’s annual operating budget.
The money raised at the silent and live auctions Saturday will go to programs in the schools, the Pioneer Day School Camp and its community programs in Fraser and Hot Sulphur Springs. It also helps maintain the four museums the association runs in Grand County.
“Your support allows us to do the work that we do, and it is important to communities to preserve our heritage and culture because it educates on who we are and what we can be and where we came from,” Ganne said.
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