Speaking to the Future:
Dorothy Roerig’s memories of Nighthawk include the trip from Denver through Waterton Canyon and Buffalo to Leadville. They took the narrow gauge railway along the north fork, and then the stage coach from South Platte to Nighthawk. Mr. Busby ran the stage at first, but died in a blizzard. The stage was then taken over by Mr. Bellew; the tape includes an interesting story about Mr. Bellew burning down the hotel in South Platte and running to Canyon City where he died.
Mrs. Roerig’s grandparents on her mother’s side were Ann and James Powell. Her paternal grandfather (Macdonald) was a stone mason from Scotland who helped build Iliff School, the Brown Palace, Trinity Church and the Chessman Dam. Mrs. Roerig’s father’s family stayed at a cabin in Nighthawk for five years while her grandfather was working on Chessman Dam, and summered there every year after that. The family went to Westcreek or Buffalo Creek for supplies.
Her mother came to the USA when she was eight years old, her father when he was eighteen. They were married when her mother was seventeen. Mr. Macdonald (Mrs. Roerig’s father) was in the wholesale woolen business for fifty years. Mrs. Roerig stayed in Nighthawk with her parents every summer. The interview documents life in Nighthawk. Mrs. Roerig’s mother baked eighteen loaves of bread a week, washed clothes in the river, cooked in a copper boiler over an open fire and kept food in a food safe built in the side of a hill. Mrs. Roerig got water from a spring about a block from the cabin, she read Elsie Densmore books for girls while she waited for the bucket to fill.
Other topics on the tape include a discussion of Two Forks Dam; the Denver Water Board; the Nighthawk Sawmill; railroad ties and fence posts; old logging roads; gold mining; Twin Cedars, and Deckers Resort.