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Sheridan Celebrates - Family Ties

With a forward written by Roger Rowland and introduction written by Bonita Hutcheson.

Forward

"Sheridan Celebrates" has been held each year since the city centennial in 1990. There is a theme for each year and a booklet is published containing information about the City of Sheridan, the activities and sponsors for the day, and history. The theme in 1994 was "Family Ties." In 1994 biographies were included for six Sheridan families.

Introduction

Families provide the backbone in any community. Sheridan has always maintained a family oriented front and projected those values upon its government and education structures. Sheridan's early history was marked by settlement of the fertile areas along the Platte River and Bear Creek, Fort Logan, and the hill north of the farm that John McBroom, Sheridan's first resident settled on. In later years more people would follow, drawn by available land, bringing their families or their hopes of one to make homes, create industries, and add to the richness of this small community.

Some families, like the Minters, moved to Sheridan in the early 1960s, taking advantage of the newly developed housing south of Oxford.

The Minter Family

by Shirley Minter

Shirley Minter says that she and her husband, Joe, "decided to sell our South Denver home mainly because the city was starting to make plans to bus the school children. We wanted our children to attend schools close to our home. So off we went house hunting outside of Denver. The Sheridan School District and friendly atmosphere attracted us to the area. We bought a home in Centennial Acres, moved into our new home and community on June 1, 1965. We had arrived in time for the flood of June 16, 1965. We hadn't quite settled in and were evacuated like everyone else in the area. Fortunately for us, our home was not damaged."

She remembers that life was not quite idyllic. "The first year we were here, we had to get used to the smell from the landfill which was where Spencer's Park is now located and the noise from Englewood Speedway, fight the traffic from the horse track and, of course, we had to get used to the taste of Englewood water.

"As the years went by, we saw many changes take place. The community was growing. New homes were being built in vacant fields and farmlands, Cinderella City was built, Spencer Park was put in, a dam [Chatfield] was built to help prevent the Platte River from flooding again, and a mill levy was voted on to build a new Sheridan High School."

Minter, like others in Sheridan's history, realized the community's safety and security rest with its members, worked to make changes that would assure that her children and others to come would be safe. "Having five daughters in different grades at Sheridan Schools, I found myself involved with PTA/PTO for many years. We never had to worry about our daughters being bused. We did have to get used to split sessions though. We had daughters leave for high school at 5:30 a.m., daughters go to Junior High at 12:30 p.m. and getting home by 6:30 p.m.

"Although we learned to adjust to the hours, there were some concerns. The sidewalks that are on the west side of Federal from Oxford to Belleview were put in after I, along with a group of parents, proved to the state that the sidewalks were needed for safety reasons and that property owners were not responsible. After several months, the state finally agreed to put them in. Later, I became involved in working with Fort Logan Hospital Officials to move the fence along the west side of Irving Street back and getting a sidewalk put in from Oxford to Alice Terry for the school children. To this day, I feel proud to have been part of this safety right."

Her husband took an interest in his fellow community members. "From 1958 through 1976, Joe had a roofing company. He was a respected business man and successfully supported our family. During the summer months, he would employ boys from Sheridan High School and teach them the roofing trade. To this day many still keep in touch.

"Due to back problems, my husband was no longer able to work at his trade. So in 1976, we bought Monaghan's Tavern at 3889 S. King St. in Sheridan from Ivy Monaghan. In 1960 Fort Logan had been given to the state, although the property had been declared surplus earlier. Many things had changed in the community since them, but Monaghan's Tavern was still the same. To this day, it holds the oldest continuing liquor license in the state of Colorado and the original structure is still standing.

"The history of Monaghan's fascinated Joe and I. An army train station was once in the area; where Ora Oliver stands was the point of embarkation. You can still find railroad track pieces along the road side there. It's been said, Alfred Packer once lived in the neighborhood, I wonder if he ever sat in the bar. Joe and I concentrated on the restaurant part of the business and it went well. Our customers all shared stories and it was a good place to find out about what was going on in the city.

In 1978, Joe and I moved into Sheridan. The neighborhood was old and our street wasn't paved. We remodeled our new old home and became Sheridanites. About the only thing we ever heard bad [about] our city was that it was a speed trap and we had a kangaroo court.

"No one worried too much about city problems until the early 80s. Our city had to solve some severe problems. Being a concerned business owner and homeowner, I became actively involved in the recall election and co-chaired the homeowners group "Citizens for a Better Sheridan". Many meetings were held in the dining room of Monaghan's and in my home. We wanted our community to take pride in our city and be better informed on what was going on. It worked then, for many residents joined our group. My husband Joe, was on the Board of Appeals (for the City) for awhile.

Our five daughters were all married by 1983. Three of them married boys from Sheridan. Our oldest daughter Kathie Blanchard is living in Englewood with her family. Our #2 daughter Julie O'Kane has been living with her family in Sheridan for the past ten years. Since 1981, our #3 daughter Susan Czarnek has lived in Sheridan. Her husband Mike was a Councilman for our city and served on the Planning and Zoning Committee and is currently on the Board of Appeals. Our #4 daughter Mary Jo Berninzone lives in Parker. Our #5 daughter Marilyn Duckett is living in Littleton. Our daughters gave us 16 grandchildren. A granddaughter and grandson have graduated from Sheridan High School. Two of my granddaughters are in Sheridan schools now.

"Joe and I retired from Monaghans in 1983. Joe had always dreamed of living on a ranch. So we rented out our Sheridan home and moved to our ranch outside of Parker in 1985. When we left Sheridan, Pace was just being built and plans were being made for the new city hall to be built. Sheridan's future looked bright and prosperous.

"My husband really enjoyed living on the ranch; we both worked very hard on the upkeep. I had a heart attack in August of 1987. In 1991 my husband suffered a heart attack and had to have back surgery the same year. It was impossible for us to maintain the ranch. We were very glad we kept the house on King St., and moved back on March 4, 1992. After struggling with the city to make our home wheelchair accessible for my husband and much remodeling done to our home, Joe and I felt we had come home. Sheridan was home to us.

He was diagnosed with cancer on January 3, 1993. After 44 years of marriage and living in the community for nearly 25 years, my husband passed away on January 20, 1993. He was five days short of reaching his 60th birthday. He died peacefully in our Sheridan home."

True to the friendship and loyalty that marks a close knit community, "Many of the hundreds of friends and acquaintances we met during our lives in the community attended his memorial service. Joe Minter touched the lives of many people in our community and many people from the community influenced our lives."


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