Historic Events Mostly Came as Challenges
By the time the 20th century arrived, the small town of Morrison was no stranger to hard times, but citizens always rallied to overcome them. Then, as if Depression-era hard times weren’t challenge enough, the 1930s brought repeated disaster. Disastrous floods in 1933 and 1938 closely followed a fire in 1931. Loss of original buildings and repeated rebuilding changed the physical appearance of the town, but the inhabitants themselves stayed on and stuck it out, only to be hit in 1941 by the call of war, which siphoned off the town’s young men. It must have seemed like “one damn thing after another”…
On Monday, September 28, 1931, a fire started in the Baker and Smith Garage on main street. It would claim four buildings, including the post office and grocery, a café, and a restaurant, before it was extinguished. The fire was the beginning of a disastrous decade for the town of Morrison, but it was not the first time the town’s survival had been threatened.
- Other disasters
Maybe it’s that adversity makes a lasting impression in people’s memories, but other tragic events also made their way into the newspapers and scrapbooks of Morrison’s history.
- Good times too!
Morrison Memories: I was born (1940) in Evergreen where my family had emigrated in the 1860s and homesteaded. Morrison was part of the Evergreen life and history. My father (b. 1907) talked about skating on Bear Creek all the way to Morrison. A stagecoach served to carry passengers between the two towns. I was told that my grandfather’s ranch was the source of Kosher cattle which he would drive down the Canyon to the railroad where they would be turned over to the Jewish community for Denver. I remember well the stops at the Tabor Bar and the town around it, since it was the “halfway” point in the (then) long drive to Denver. One of the events that took our family to Morrison (other than travel to Denver) were the buffalo barbecues, sponsored (if I remember correctly) by the volunteer fire department, which was the beneficiary of one of the “surplus” buffalo from the group raised on the property now bisected by I-70. The long side of the road across from Tabor Bar was a dirt parking area, just west of the quonset hut, and a huge, huge hole was dug in that parking lot where the fire was built and the buffalo barbecued. I don’t know for how long, but the result was a huge feast where the whole town turned out. Morrison has changed so much, but I never go through there without looking at the ghost of the parking lot and remembering the barbecues!
Thanks, Yvonne! I wasn’t aware of the barbecues, although years ago surplus buffalo were sold off to various local groups, so this story fits. In more recent years, the buffalo have been auctioned off in the spring, usually to ranchers or meat processors. As of this year, Denver has been donating bison to tribal nations to help build conservation herds.