Taste of History fundraiser set for Sept. 6 in Fraser
Grand County Historical Association
A Taste of History
Grand County Historical Association’s annual benefit for Cozens Ranch Museum in Fraser is Saturday, Sept. 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Taste of History Champagne Brunch and Social features live music by Glen Tomkins, abundant and delectable foods prepared by top area restaurants, and an Omelet Station manned by 4-Star Chef Karl. In support of the museum, local businesses have donated goods and services for silent and live auctions enlivened by auctioneer Jeff Sweeney.
The Taste of History began three years ago. This year Joyce, Wendy and Janet Engel are hosts at their B Lazy 2 Ranch and Event Center on County Road 5, just west of the Fraser Ballfields.
Live plein air painters at the Taste of History include Pem Dunn, Marie Johannes and Carolyn Sunderland. Artists Karen Vance and Karol Mack have donated original oil paintings to benefit Cozens Ranch Museum.
Tickets are $50 per person, $40 for GCHA members. For tickets, drop by or call Cozens Ranch Museum at 970-726-5488.
The B Lazy 2 Ranch, site for the 2014 Taste of History, has been entwined in local historic events since the turn of the 20th century.
In 1900, the William and Mary Cozens family was well ensconced near Fraser in the Cozens Ranch and Stage Stop along the wagon road from Georgetown, over Berthoud Pass and to Hot Sulphur Springs.
During this period, Mike Evans staked out his homestead on the outskirts of Fraser. The Evans Homestead (and core of the B Lazy 2) was further down the wagon road (now County Road 5) toward the 4 Bar 4 Ranch and Stage Stop. Evans built a large barn in 1904 which later became known as the Eastom Town Hall. The loft of his barn became the Eastom Recreation Hall.
Meanwhile, across the country in Ohio, George Eastom and his wife Bertha operated a small sawmill. With the forests of Ohio dwindling, Mr. Eastom found his “gold” in Fraser Valley’s timber. In 1902, the Eastoms bought tracts of land around Fraser and formed the Middle Park Lumber Company. They planned to take advantage of David Moffat’s Denver to Pacific railroad line over Corona Pass.
1905 was a big year for the Fraser Valley. Moffat’s railroad line finally reached Fraser — which Mr. Eastom had platted and renamed the Town of Eastom. Despite his efforts, the name never stuck, and the town soon defaulted to the name of Fraser.
The nearby Evans Homestead with its huge barn intact was sold to newcomers Jo and Soapey Wochner in the 1930s. They named it the TeePee Horseshoe Ranch. The TeePee belonged to the Dude Ranch Association of Colorado. Visitors paid $15 per week for a cabin, or a whopping $25 for a duplex! They turned the loft of the old Evans barn into the Eastom Recreation Hall, holding square dancing and music parties. (The original piano remains to this day).
The Engel Family
In 1945, young George Engel came to Winter Park and became its first paid ski patrolman. Later he told stories how early on he attended square dances in the loft of the Eastom Recreation Hall. George married Joyce and they had two girls, Janet and Wendy. They lived in an apartment at the ski area, above their Winter Park Ski Shop. Elizabeth Carnal was the shop’s bookkeeper.
In the early 1950s, Bill and Elizabeth Carnal purchased the Evans Homestead/ TeePee Horseshoe Ranch. They named the ranch — which included the Eastom Town Hall — the B Lazy 2. They acquired the upper meadow from the Denver Water Board, one of the few pieces of land the DWB ever sold.
During these years, John Work managed the nearby Byers Peak Ranch, along St. Louis Creek on the outskirts of Fraser. Mr. Work, a fixture still today as Fraser’s iconic rodeo and horse man, taught Janet and Wendy Engel, along with his son David, to ride horses. It was the beginning of the girls’ love affair with horses. They spent hours riding at the Byers Peak and B Lazy 2 ranches.
George and Joyce Engel bought “Baldy” for Wendy and then got “Apache” for Janet, who was initially terrified of horses. Through John Work’s guidance as 4H leader, Wendy and Janet joined the Little Britches National Youth Rodeo group, traveling all summer with their horses.
When the time came for the Carnal’s to sell their beloved B Lazy 2, they looked no further than the Engels. In 1980, George and Joyce Engel purchased 47 acres and added 5 adjacent acres. The Engels were exhilarated: not only did they exchange their Winter Park apartment for the beauty and expanse of the B Lazy 2, they were also able to raise and ride horses.
With the move to the old Eastom lands, the Engel family helped to establish and run Fraser’s own High Country Stampede Rodeo, located between the Byers Peak and B Lazy 2 ranches. Mom Joyce ran concessions and served on the board, Wendy was special event coordinator, and Janet rode rodeo, turning pro in 1992. She still competes today.
In 1994, Janet bought a horse named Jo, who carried her to multiple qualifications for the Women’s National Finals Rodeo and a Reserve Championship in Barrels at the American Quarter Horse World Show. After 30 years, Janet retired recently from the board of the High Country Stamped Rodeo. She still serves on the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo Board of Directors.
The Engel Family is honored to share the lands and history of their Evans homestead, Eastom Town and Recreation Hall, TeePee Dude Ranch, and the B Lazy 2 Ranch with the community. When the opportunity came this spring to open a wedding and event venue they jumped at the chance. Wendy and Janet have created a unique ranch experience, complete with a modern event tent.
Janet, Wendy and Joyce invite everyone to join them and the Historical Association at the Taste of History Champagne Brunch and Social, and to experience the beauty of the B Lazy 2 Ranch and its rich history.
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Grand Lake is still standing one year after the East Troublesome Fire, and the town celebrated the people who helped make that happen on Saturday.