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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.



The Waite-Wisniewska Family

By Anna Wisniewska-Waite & William Waite

Isabella and Joseph Wisniewska were one such family who came to Sheridan as it grew. They brought their daughter, Anna I. Waite in March of 1913. "They ran a grocery store on the corner of South King and Mansfield called the J. W. Grocery."

Anna recalls the first winter they were there "we had a huge snowstorm. I'll never forget, we actually dug tunnels to get around and about. We've never seen the like since." December 1st through the third "only 8.7 inches of snow fell, then came Thursday, December 4th, and 26 inches of snow fell. Friday piled eleven more inches on top of the rest."

She remembers boundaries clearly. "A railroad ran past the grocery store to the depot one block away. The Town of Sheridan was to the right [north] of the tracks. The Army post to the left where there were two huge gates and a platform for the train. "

Growing up in Sheridan meant being close to a major military installation. It not provided many jobs, not only in the fort but outside its walls as well. During the years of the war, the pitch was stepped up as the fort became a staging area for troop deployment. Anna remembers life in Sheridan during the WWI. "I'll never forget the troop trains during the war. We kids always waved good bye to the soldiers."

She also remembers that "we had a Post Office; it was always called Fort Logan. The commanding officer said 'That is what it's going to be!'"

"The first Post Office was in a huge hotel owned by a Mrs. Jones. It was to the back and side of the hotel. The hotel was called the Fort Logan Hotel, and was 3 or 4 stories tall. It burned down. A Mr. Stillman was postmaster; later on Mr. Charles Lawton was postmaster and Agnes Paden was his helper. The Post Office was moved to the center of the 3800 block on South Lowell."

Other families that are still known today made livings outside the Fort. "Roy Monaghan and his wife Iva [Ivy] owned the drug store, on Mansfield, near the site of Monaghan's Bar, which was then a pool hall. They handled drug items, sundries, and ran a small soda fountain. When the train was taken off [discontinued], Roy and Iva drove taxis. Roy drove at night and Iva in the day. Another taxi service was located on the north corner of 3800 South Lowell and Lehigh. Mr. & Mrs. Johnson ran it."

"One day my mother and I went to Englewood. It was my birthday and coming back we could not locate a taxi, so my mother said, 'We might as well walk.' I was really put out!"

"My first school was a two-story red brick; it was replaced by what is known now as Fort Logan Elementary. I graduated from there and also Englewood High."

"There was a narrow gauge railroad that ran abut where Mullen High is now. It went to Morrison at one time. Long years ago there was a depot there. Also at Sheridan Junction was a narrow gauge that went up to Leadville."

"My brother and I drove a Ford (one with the button down curtains) then we bought a Dodge, up town, huh?"

After she graduated from Englewood High School, she and a friend attended the teachers' college in Greeley. Sometime after that she married William Henry Waite, who was "born near Bigbee, Alabama on February 15, 1902, the son of Solomon Waite and Hattie Coral Boswell." He came to Sheridan as many did -- through the military by way of Fort Logan.

"He enlisted in the Army in 1920 and was first stationed near Atlanta, Georgia. When he re-enlisted he was assigned to Oklahoma City and then was given a choice of Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio or Fort Logan near Denver. He arrived at the fort February 1924, within a few days of his birthday. He was at Fort Logan three years, being discharged early in 1927. Major Dwight Eisenhower was at Fort Logan from December 1924 to August 1925. Waite had occasion to contact him a few times to get his signature on papers." Another officer that would become a well known general was at Fort Logan during the years Waite was stationed there; Lieutenant Rose, for whom Rose Medical Center was named.

"In the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan gained political power in Colorado. One day, while Sgt. Waite was on duty near the Ordnance building, Dr. Locke, head of the Colorado KKK, came to the building in a limousine. He had an order, apparently signed by the governor, who was a KKK member, directing that Dr. Locke should be given a pistol. The sergeant in charge of the ordnance facility refused to honor an order from the governor, and Locke had to leave without the weapon he wanted."

"Waite retired from the Army early in 1927." William and Anna were married, and lived in southeast Denver for a number of years. Waite went to work for Morey Mercantile at 16th and Wazee in Denver in 1927, and continued there for fifteen years, through the Depression. He took classes in machine shop work at West High School and in Englewood. When the Remington Arms Co. opened in 1942 at the Federal Center, Waite was referred there for tool and die work, where he was employed for almost two years. When shifts were reduced, Waite went to work for General Iron in Englewood, working on naval contracts through the rest of the war.

"Mrs. Waite's mother owned the house on King Street where the Waites now live. William and Anna took over operation of the grocery store in January 1937, which they ran in addition to his full-time job for a year. After a year they closed the store, and they moved to their present home in early summer 1938. The front part [of their present home] was originally a store, which faced south; reportedly the Santa Fe Railroad planned to use it as a station, but the Santa Fe lost out to the Denver and Rio Grande in the competition for a contract to haul supplies to Fort Logan. There was an artesian well in the corner of the yard, and people from the area came to get water from it. Over the years the home has been completely remodeled and expanded."


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