The History Of The barn
The Barn at Evergreen Memorial Park is a remarkable assembly of five historic barns from the local Evergreen & Conifer area. Each barn, ranging from seventy to one hundred years old at the time of its build in 1999, contributed a piece of itself to create what we have as our barn today. The Barn now rests on the beautiful mountain property originally purchased as a private park in 1965 by Ron and Carol Lewis. Ron and Carol committed the 100-acre site as a tribute to the pioneers of Evergreen and the Old West, creating what is now known as Evergreen Memorial Park.
Most of the land is used as a private animal ranch. Buffalo, elk, yak, fallow deer, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, owls, foxes, horses, and one particularly faithful migrant heron occupy the property. As well as protecting wildlife, the Lewises strive to preserve the pioneer heritage of the Old West at Evergreen Memorial Park. They established several large garden areas on the high plains meadows where restored stone and timber cabins have been preserved. The six distinct and separate garden areas now serve as a cemetery and the final resting place for many Colorado natives. Buildings slated for destruction have been refurbished, and wagons, tractors and plows, discovered on neighboring ranches, act to remind visitors of the era when Jefferson County was once considered the potato capital of Colorado.
Now, Evergreen Memorial Park serves a diverse but complimentary function: the “Celebration of Life”…cemetery, funeral home, wedding chapel, living museum, and wildlife preserve. Perhaps more importantly, its very existence speaks to the significance of our heritage for future generations to consider, and to the value of preserving an important imprint of our history and the Old West.
The History of the White Buffalo
The white buffalo is the spirit of the emerging West. While there have been accounts of the white buffalo in the continental United States dating back to at least 1754, the fact is that the white buffalo is the product of genetic mutation that probably occurred from the longhorn cattle in Southwestern United States. It occurs as a rarity and was held in awe by the Native American as being great medicine because its spirit brought blessings to all who saw or possessed some of its being. The Native American legend was that all animals that benefited them had come to them from a large hole in the ground, but they had been let out of the ground by the leader, the great spirit of the White Buffalo, and that in the end times when this ground gave up its greenery and its trees the animals would return to the ground, led there by the spirit of the White Buffalo.
Here, the white buffalo roam freely on their pasture, grazing our Colorado grasses and swimming freely in our reservoir. The almost dozen of them have become a staple of our herd, and a beautiful site to behold.
The "Forever Newlyweds" behind The Barn
In 1954, Ron Lewis met recent Colorado A&M graduate Carol Norman at a youth gathering at the First Baptist Church of Fort Collins. With one year left before graduating himself, Ron finished school in Colorado while Carol took a teaching job in Nebraska.
Looking back at it now, Ron describes his first impression of Carol as being so unlike all the other girls he knew. He jokes that while the other girls only wanted fancy dinners at expensive restaurants he could not afford, Carol wanted something different. When she returned to Colorado on a holiday home from teaching, Ron finally had his opportunity to take Carol out on a first date - and it was not to a fancy restaurant. Instead, he borrowed a friend's boat and took her on the water. He recalls: "It was raining. Just a messy day. I was so afraid she was going to say 'it's going to ruin my hair!' but she wasn't bothered by it at all! She just fit right in with me. We drove around the rest of the day and had a marvelous time doing nothing." Within a year, they were married. On December 27th, 1955, within the pews of the same church they had first met, friends and family gathered to celebrate the newlyweds. Their first dozen years of marriage were a frenzy to say the least. Ron, establishing himself as a local developer, would move his family into half built homes and work to complete them.
Once finished, he would sell the home and start again. The two of them, later joined by their three children, lived in 12 homes in 12 years. Finally, in 1965, Ron began their greatest endeavor. The two of them purchased a large parcel on Turkey Creek, and began establishing what we now know as Evergreen Memorial Park. Carol was insistent that this would be their forever home.
Today, three generations of Lewises reside on the property planning events, caring for animals, helping families in need, and contributing to their community. Collectively with Ron & Carol, the family continues the legacy started by the unparalleled couple.