The Sopris Sun

Pages of the Past: Looking back on folks who were looking back

From the archives of the Roaring Fork Valley Journal

July 7, 1977

Prominent Crystal Valley painter Jack Roberts released a 220-page book of illustrations and prose entitled “The Amazing Adventures of Lord Gore.” Despite Gore’s prominence — his name is applied to a pass, a peak, a range, a canyon, a lake and more — information was few and far between and no photos or portraits were to be found, making the work a challenge even for an artist of Roberts’ caliber. As such, he admitted to taking “some liberty as an artist.” “An objective historian could well ask how… I could prove that Lord George got drunk after he set fire to all his wagons,” he told The Journal. “Well, it would be difficult for me to imagine that he would stay sober on such an occasion.

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July 9, 1987

Mike and Kit Strang were preparing to host a three day horse trial on their CR 102 ranch. More than 100 equestrians were slated to compete in dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping to illustrate their horses training, talent and versatility. Termed combined training, it was then the fastest growing equestrian sport in America, and the Strang Ranch Horse Trial was one of the largest recognized events in the Rocky Mountains.

July 10, 1997

Town Manager Davis Farrar was looking for funding to conduct a study on Red Hill and its trail system, though some residents were concerned it would continue a cycle of increased use. It was already becoming a popular area for hikers and bikers, and Farrar hoped improved mapping, evaluation, analysis and oversight would produce some recommendations on how to proceed. The Town voted 3-2 to commit $2000 toward the project.

In other news… Sopris Village residents pack Basalt Town Hall to weigh in on potential uses for the old Sopris Tree Farm (which became Crown Mountain Park).

July 12, 2007

Following the death of Lee Robert Willits, John Stroud took the opportunity to write about the family that gave the midvalley development its name. Lee’s grandfather, L.R. Willits, had been a state senator before buying a ranch in the area. His uncle, H.G. Gillespie, founded El Jebel — which apparently is a Masonic Temple word for “shining mountain,”. Lee and his father, meanwhile, were active Odd Fellows. The Willits subdivision doesn’t actually sit on any of their land, but rather came by the title indirectly through the road, which was Route 1 until the 1970s.