Evergreen Creative District

PO Box 1511

Evergreen, Colorado 80437

Phone: 303-670-7222

info@evergreencreativedistrict.com



HIWAN HOMESTEAD MUSEUM


In the late 1880’s Mary Neosho Williams, widow of Civil War General Thomas Williams, and her daughter Josepha camped near the small ranching and farming community of Evergreen.   They acquired approximately 40 acres in the area in 1893 and hired local Scottish carpenter John “Jock” Spence to convert a small log barn into a one-room cabin.  The property was dubbed “Camp Neosho” after Mary’s middle name.  In 1889, Josepha graduated from Gross Medical School in Denver to become one of Colorado’s first female physicians.  Friends and patients knew her as “Dr. Jo.” Seven years later, she married Father Charles Winfred Douglas, an Episcopal clergyman who earned world fame for his musical work. 


Father Douglas was also interested in studying and preserving the Native American culture of the Southwest.  The Douglas’ son, Eric, became an avid collector of Native American art.  Eric became the Curator of Native Arts at the Denver Art Museum, building its collection to more than 20,000 of the finest examples of Native American art.  The Douglas’ home was also filled with Native American art objects.


The Douglas’s employed Jock Spence to add to the original Camp Neosho building over the years. Jock added an octagonal tower to the front of the building about 1898.  He enlarged it to 17 rooms including a beautiful private chapel, and built several outbuildings on the property.  Members of the Douglas’ worldwide circle of friends, including Vincent Price, Grace Kelly and Robert Frost, visited the family at Camp Neosho.


After Dr. Jo died in 1938, the buildings and approximately 1,100 acres of land were sold to Tulsa oil magnate Darst Buchanan.  The Buchanans developed a 15,000-acre cattle ranching operation known as the Hiwan Ranch. The Buchanans’ Hiwan Hereford cattle were known throughout the country and won many stock show prizes.  The Buchanans added on to bring the total of Hiwan rooms to 25.


Both the Douglas and Buchanan families were vital in the development of the Evergreen community and the organization of religious, cultural, educational, and economic institutions.


In the early 1960’s the Buchanan's daughter, Joan Landy inherited the ranch buildings and surrounding area.  She and her children made the old home a lively center for friends and neighbor to gather and celebrate Halloween and other special occasions.  The Hiwan ranch property was gradually being sold off for housing development at the same time. By the early 1970s Joan was ready to part with the old ranch building complex and she sold it to a developer, George Hurst.


Alarmed at the possibility that these historically significant buildings might be torn down, local Evergreen people joined together, formed the Jefferson County Historical Society, and crusaded to save the complex.  Jefferson County Open Space had also just been authorized by the voters, and the County purchased the buildings as part of the Open Space properties in 1974.


The Museum was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 due to its unique log architecture.  Hiwan Homestead Museum opened to the public in 1975 and operates through a partnership with Jefferson County Historical Society.  It is located at 4208 S. Timbervale Drive in Evergreen.

The Museum staff and many volunteers offer a wide range of activities, including special events such as teas, concerts, lectures, Halloween celebrations, Evergreen Holiday Walk festivities, and the annual Evergreen Fine Arts Festival.  


Visitors can enjoy picnics and special outdoor movie showings in neighboring Heritage Grove.


The Museum also offers many children's educational programs, including: the 4th Grade Colorado History program, the 3rd Grade Arts of the Tribal Southwest program, Hiwan Kids summer crafts and activities, and the Discovery Days Pioneer Palooza summer day camp.


Museum visitors enjoy colorful exhibits, many featuring the Museum’s extensive collection of Native American baskets, weavings, and ceramics.


All this is in addition to the free guided tours available to the public and led by the Museum volunteers.


Museum hours are Noon to 5 P.M., Tuesday through Sunday.
The Museum is closed on Mondays.

For more information, contact Hiwan Homestead Museum at 720-497-7650.


        

 

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