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July 2019
Yes, it is true.  We can't do this alone and we need your help.
Few among us like to ask for help.  When we finally realize we can't do it alone we typically reach out to friends and family for a little assistance. It could be something simple like: "Can you help me move?"; Can you give me a ride to the airport?"; "Water my plants?"; or it could be the hardest request of all; "Can you lend me some money?".  

No one likes to admit they need financial help, but here we are and it is what it is.

The Park County Historical Society operates on the proverbial "shoestring". Our funding comes primarily from two sources, memberships and donations. In addition to those primary sources we sponsor a few fundraisers throughout the year that contribute slightly to our income.

Before we suggest ways for you to help, perhaps it would be helpful to explain some of our expenses.
McGraw Memorial Park, Entriken Cabin

Elizabeth Entriken lived in the cabin from 1864 until shortly before her death in 1922. The Entriken Cabin is the only remaining structure from the original town of Bailey. It was originally located at the mouth of Entriken Gulch near the Forest Ranger Station on Main Street. It was moved to its present location in 1973.

The McGraw Memorial Park is a small, but important, Park located in Bailey, Colorado. It was donated to the the Historical Society in 1969 by Helen McGraw Tatum, who was born in Bailey and lived in Bailey for many years. The Park has undergone many developments over the years and now serves as a public place for both residents and travelers to enjoy. When you visit the Park you are just as likely to meet a fourth generation native or a family from Indiana who stoped for a rest and a picnic by the river or a short hike on the Morrow Mountain trails. The Park, however, does not come without a price.

The historic structures and facilities in the Park represent the largest expense to our Society in both time and funding.

Our Board of Directors and countless volunteers do all they can to  maintain the Park by caring for the landscaping, making small repairs, cleaning the buildings, maintaining the restrooms, and hosting events at the Park. Their volunteer efforts are greatly appreciated. However, some tasks fall outside their abilities or means.

To accomplish larger task, we have secured the services of a "handyman" to take care of those important repairs that require both skill and time. We pay for his time and all the materials needed for the task. Several important tasks have already been completed, but there are several larger task on his "to do" list.  In addition, we have contracted for painting services to help preserve historic structures such as the Entriken Cabin and Shawnee School House. We are making progress, but there is still much to do.

This season we must make repairs to the Glen-Isle Way Station. It is leaning badly and is at risk of collapsing. We have begun making plans for the repairs, but among our concerns is the cost.  

We believe we have enough in reserve to make the repairs but it limits us in accomplishing other important repairs such as a new roof on the Entriken cabin and the restoration of the historic Mattox Ice Scraper. Not to be overlooked, there will likely never be enough funding to move and restore the Barnett Cabin, c.1870s, home of Bailey's first school teacher, Joseph Barnett.
In addition, we have expenses you would not think of including: utilities (including water and electricity), restroom supplies, insurance, Volunteer Appreciation Day, landscaping, and many other incidentals that consume our limited resources.

So, how can you help?
You may join or renew your membership on-line using your PayPal account or credit card.
Student K-12
Senior Individual
After trying an "Annual Membership" renewal, we are going back to a "Anniversary Renewal" system.  Your annual membership will be due for renewal on the anniversary of your join date.  You will receive a reminder by e-Mail or "Snail Mail" when your membership is due for renewal.  Confused?  Don't be, all is good.
Join or renew you membership on-line
Or, you may select your membership plan and make payment by check.
Join or renew your membership by check.
Or, if you are already a member and still want to help, you can always make a donation.
Donate to support the PCHS
Do you have items of historical significance to Park County?  If so, consider donating your items to the Historical Society for safe keeping.  We use your donations to help preserve our heritage and a way of life of times past and to display in our historic structures.
This recently donated school bell was estimated to have been used in the Shawnee School in the very late 1800s or early 1900s. It was retrieved from a storage box destined for the trash in 1962.  It has been displayed in the donor's home for more than 50 years. The donor, who we shall keep anonymous, was a teacher, administrator, principal in the RE-1 School District for several decades.

The bell will be on permanent display in the Shawnee School House in the McGraw Memorial Park.

Completed Projects
Foot Bridge Handrail
Few will fully understand how pleased we are when a project is finally placed in the "completed" column.  Here is a few that we are really excited about.
The handrail on the foot bridge has been on our "to do" list for some time. Last year we made temporary repairs to improve the safety to our visitors. We have finally replaced the wooden post and rail design with "cattle wire" sections. Our goal was to replace the old railing with something easy to fabricate, attractive, and most importantly, easy to maintain. We think this new design will serve us well for years to come.  

Not to beat a dead horse, but......This is but one example of how we put your membership dues and donations to work.
Ask any of our volunteer landscapers and they will tell you that this project will never be completed. Each year, as the perennials mature, the Park grows in beauty. Of course, that beauty requires vigilance and maintenance. Each year new plantings are added and older ones are divided to fill new areas with their beauty. Special thanks to all our volunteers for their "labor of love."

The best feature of this project...... With continued support of our volunteers, it will endure for generations to come. Hmmm?....How does "Bailey Botanical Gardens" sound? :-)
Caboose 10600
The restoration of Caboose 10600 has been "on the books" for at least a decade. We have made great progress - with the help of volunteers - to get it scraped and painted. Now, we have made progress restoring one of the ends of the caboose. Some work remains to be done, however,  before we are able to begin repairs on the other end. Thanks to our Board members and volunteers  for their hard work.
Pet Waste Eliminator
Now I know this "accomplishment" doesn't seem worthy of notice, but trust us it is.

McGraw Memorial Park has become the favored place to walk your pet. And, we agree and welcome community use of the Park. However, pets do what they do and even the best trained pet has yet to master picking up after themselves. That pleasant task is left to their well trained owners to take care of.

To make their owner's responsibility a little easier, we have installed two Pet Waste Eliminator boxes at each end of the Park. Hopefully, this little hint will remind our visitors of their responsibility to pick up after their pet.

         Upcoming Events
You really don't want to miss this presentation!
Bailey Day Recap
by Jim Glenn

Boy Scouts and Bailey VFW officially start the day. Photos by Rebecca Gray.

Becky Gray hosts the Shawnee School

Rebecca Gray hosts the Shawnee School.  

Ridge Runners have been showing off their square dance moves since 1977.

Fire fighters waiting to catch 2000 ducks or any stray humans.

Hillbilly Aliens were back again this year as visitors watch from the caboose.

The Regulators bring skits to McGraw Park even when it’s raining.

Volunteers planted 50 annuals and perennials at McGraw Park on Saturday, June 15th in preparation for Bailey Day Pictured left to right: Di Drobbick, Janet Burk, David Waller, Sue Glenn, Marilee Buckley, Becky Gray, Allen McGlone, Ryan Bruce - not in photo, he was organizing sprinkler project for the Park. (Photo by Jim Glenn)
A very Special Thank You!
Every year, just before Bailey Day, volunteers spend countless hours preparing McGraw Memorial Park for the festivities.  While it is impossible to acknowledge all who helped, we feel compelled to acknowledge a "walk-on" volunteer.

David stopped by the Park to see what all the activity was about. After some discussion, he pointed out that the windows needed cleaning. "Yes",  we replied, "We'll get to them." To our surprise, David said, "I'll do them for you." David cleaned all the windows in both the Entriken Cabin and the Shawnee School House. 

David's company, Profile Solutions, provides a variety of mountain home services as his card says: "More than just window cleaning". Give him a call to let him know that you appreciate his community service.

A look back

The Flume - Parked in the Past

Gottlieb Fluhmann disappeared from Lake George-area in 1892
Remains, including valuable possessions, discovered in remote cave in 1944

Laura Van Dusen, Flume Correspondent

July 27, 2012

In life, Gottlieb Fluhmann passed through Park County history a forgotten man.

But, that changed with the discovery of Fluhmann’s remains and worldly possessions in a secret hideaway in the hills northwest of Lake George 52 years after he went missing. 

Fluhmann disappeared from his Lake George-area ranch sometime in the fall of 1892. His remains and that of an animal, possibly a pet dog, along with some valuable worldly possessions, were found by chance when two Army Air Corps GIs from Peterson Field (now Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs) went hiking in the area northwest of Lake George in late October or early November 1944.

One of the men, Master Sergeant Francis Brahler, climbed to the top of a large granite formation to get his bearings. Window glass reflecting from the sun caught Brahler’s eye. He discovered that the window glass could slide to one side.

And when he slid the glass, Brahler discovered Fluhmann’s Cave.


Fluhmann’s last venture was ranching, but he was a land surveyor and a miner earlier in life. He was of German descent and immigrated to the United States from Switzerland sometime after his 1866 passport was issued at age 21. He was born in 1845, was 5 feet 4 inches tall, and arrived in Park County as early as 1881. He was 47 when he disappeared in 1892.

According to the Nov. 2, 1944, Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, Fluhmann “was of a ‘flighty’ temperament and troubled by the thought that someone was stealing his cattle periodically.”

The Fairplay Flume of that date said Fluhmann “was quick to pick up imaginary insult or attempts to cheat him,” and that he had frequent altercations with “some of the old timers.”

However, in considering the personality traits attributed to Fluhmann, one must remember that they were written 52 years after Fluhmann’s death by those whose memories may have clouded or by those who didn’t know Fluhmann at all.

The Gazette said Fluhmann had angry words with several cattlemen, including Benjamin Ratcliff, who ranched near Jefferson in the Tarryall Valley. Ratcliff murdered three school board members in 1895 and was hung at the state penitentiary in Cañon City for his crime.

The cave

The cave is more a crevice in the rock than an actual cave. The entrance is not visible from ground level; a second entryway, on the roof of the cave, is visible only from the top of the rocky outcropping, according to newspaper stories published in 1944 in The Flume, the Gazette and the Greeley Daily Tribune.

Michael Anthony, who works at the M Lazy C Ranch near Lake George and has been to the cave, said that, “(today) there is no evidence of a door, but the opening is configured to look like a door could easily be built to fit.”

He said the cave is small, about 15 feet deep, five feet high and five feet wide. “It has a flat floor and the sides are straight up and down. It’s just made up of native rock; there is an opening in the ceiling next to the wall where it looked like he could put his stove pipe,” said Anthony.


Fluhmann had fashioned the one-room cave into a home.

The Nov. 2, 1944, Gazette said that a huge dishpan hung from beams in the rocky ceiling. In the pan were two loaded, gold-inlaid, double-barreled flintlock rifles, a .45-caliber pistol, and “expensive smoking pipes.” Also in the dishpan was a surveyor’s transit, which included a telescope that was “perfectly preserved and operable,” according to the Gazette.

There were letters Fluhmann had received a few years earlier from his nephew, John Fluhmann of Crested Butte, Colorado, and his niece, Alice Fluhmann of Missouri. There were legal papers and his Swiss passport.

The cave had a wooden floor, and shelving was attached to the wall to hold Fluhmann’s possessions. Among those were shoes, a Dutch oven, several wine bottles, a brown jug, a two-gallon crock and “expensive wood working tools,” said the Gazette. A kerosene lamp, with fuel that still burned after 52 years, was also found.

Another gun

Fluhmann had one other gun in the cave. It was an 1886 Marlin repeater .38-.55- caliber rifle. That rifle, in good shape, would sell for approximately $1,500 to $2,600 today.

But, Fluhmann’s rifle was not in good shape.

Its stock was bullet-damaged, and the barrel was rusted. It was found in the middle of the cave next to Fluhmann’s skull. Reported in the Gazette story was that then Park County Sheriff Sylvester Law said if a right-handed person was holding the gun and preparing to shoot when the bullet from another gun hit the rifle stock, that person would be killed.

Fluhmann was right-handed.

Speculation at the time was that Fluhmann could have been shot from the hole in the top of his cave. But newspaper reports from 1944 did not mention bullet holes on Fluhmann’s skull or on the rest of his skeleton.  Reports did, however, mention that no stray bullet was found.

And, Dan Denney (or Denny) from Fairplay, who was a 12-year-old child when Fluhmann disappeared and who knew Fluhmann in the 1890s, was among those who investigated the cave in 1944. He said that he “talked to men who had seen Fluhmann carrying the rifle with the damaged stock sometime before he disappeared.”

Left home

Fluhmann didn’t always live in the cave. He could view his homestead, with its two cabins, assortment of sheds and corrals and herd of cattle from the cave entrance. His home was in a narrow valley with a good supply of water and plenty of grazing land.

Speculation is that he used the surveyor’s transit to get a better view of the homestead and of anyone who might be looking for him. It was the disappearance of the surveying instrument from the homestead that led Fluhmann’s neighbors to consider that he may have left the area.

A few short paragraphs in the Jan. 12, 1893, Flume said that Tim Borden – Fluhmann’s neighbor and a resident of Bordenville northwest of the cave on present-day Tarryall Road – thought that with the surveying instrument missing, “there is a bare possibility that he has gone off to some of the new camps with it.”

But, the article continued, “The neighbors incline to the belief that he is dead, and that his death was accidental or suicide. He was a peculiar character and has been known to talk of making away with himself.”

Another story, in the April 20, 1893, Flume, said that Fluhmann had “remarked to different parties that he would kill himself” and that “when he did disappear they would never be able to find him.”

But search parties did try to find him. Representatives from the Sheriff’s Office and others scoured the area of Fluhmann’s ranch in the months between February and April 1893, not knowing if they would find the missing man or his remains. Fluhmann’s nephew, John Fluhmann, traveled to Park County from his home in Crested Butte, Colorado, to join in the search.

No trace of Fluhmann was found during the 1893 searches.

The photo above was taken at Gottlieb Fluhmann’s cabin near Lake George soon after his remains were found in a hidden cave. Left to right are Fairplay Flume writer Everett Bair holding Fluhmann’s skull, Dan Denny with Fluhmann’s flintlock rifles, and Sheriff Law holding the bullet-damaged rifle. Courtesy, Randy and Brenda Myers of Mule Creek Outfitters, Lake George, Colorado.


And, what became of Fluhmann’s possessions that were found in the cave?

After all the passing years, it is unknown what happened to most of Fluhmann’s possessions. The Nov. 2, 1944, Flume said, “The debris has been well sorted and gleaned (gathered) by the Sheriff and his helpers.”

But, it is known what happened to one of Fluhmann’s guns.

One of the 1850-era gold-inlaid flintlock rifles was bought in 1973 by the wife of Bill Blunt, a forester with the Pike National Forest stationed in Fairplay. After extensive research on its historic and monetary value, she bought the rifle from an unidentified private individual in Fairplay as a birthday gift for her husband, according to the Feb. 25, 1973, Gazette.

The gun is rare; a current value could not be determined before press time.


In 1976, an Inventory Data Form, filed in the Park County Local History Archives, was completed for the Gottlieb Fluhmann Cave. The form gives a short description of Fluhmann and lists articles that were found in the cave in 1944. The report, signed by the late Park County historian Harold Warren, said, “He could have died of natural causes or from a bullet which plowed through the stock of his 1886 Model .38 caliber Marlin rifle.

“To this day, no one really knows what happened to him.”

Website News
Surprisingly, one of the nicest features of the website is the "Contact Us" page. We routinely get inquiries from visitors who are looking for information about their families. More often than not, we forward their inquiry to the Park County Local History Archives where a team of researchers are more than eager to help.

As you may know, the Park County Local History Archives operated as a non-profit for many years. Recently, however, it was transferred to Park County as part of the Heritage and Tourism Department, Andy Spencer, Director.

Other new features include:

Home Page
  • A link to "Great Non-Profits" has been added to the home page.  We have already received donations through this group and appreciate their support.  If you visit this group, you can provide a rating or make a donation.
Resources Page
  • Several new articles related to the history of Park County have been added to the Articles section.
  • The Tarryall Historic District Nomination has been added to the Documents section. This is a large document but has a wealth of information related to historic properties along the Tarryall Road.
About > Newsletters Page
  • A link to all Newsletters and Announcements since 2018 has been added to the Newsletters page.  In addition to this archives, there is a convenient means to subscribe to future newsletters and announcements.
Donate to support the PCHS
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Park County Historical Society
Box 43
Bailey, CO  80421

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Park County Historical Society · Box 43 · Bailey, CO 80421 · USA

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