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Stories From Cherry Creek

Posted on Dec 16, 2014

As winter approaches we have been busy researching sites for Roger Tory Peterson Institute’s cell phone tours.  This season we have added Cherry Creek Sno-Goers’s  trails to the tour, amongst the other clubs.  As a consequence I, who live in the Cherry Creek area, have been getting to know a few of my neighbors better and discovering interesting stories about our neighborhood.  One day Clyde Rodgers, owner of the local Cherry Creek business Rodgers and Sons Farm Equipment Supply,  took Elyse, I and Cherry Creek historian Sharon Sweeting on a bumpy four wheeling drive into Nichols Gulf just outside the village of Cherry Creek.  Clyde wanted us to see “The Springs” along Nichols Gulf, a roadway turned trail.  These nine or so springs were the village’s source of water for one hundred years until recently the Health Department “in their infinite wisdom” (Clyde’s words) closed them and the reservoir that collected their water due to possible contamination.  (Today the village of Cherry Creek receives its water from wells.)

Spring Houses

Each of the original nine spring houses can still be seen today along the snowmobile trail.


Actual spring water dripping into the spring house.

Spring house and piping

Here is the spring house and piping in which the water flowed from each individual house into a large house before going to the reservoir.

Meanwhile, as we peeked inside the small structures that house the spring pools and traced pipelines, Sharon produced an article about Nichols Gulf written in 1900 accompanied by a photograph of the dwelling of the man who lived there and gave the Gulf its name, Joe Nichols.  “He lived under a pile of lumber!” I exclaimed.  My curiosity piqued, I soon found myself at Sharon’s kitchen table in her historic B&B, The Cherry Creek Inn, studying accounts of  this man who lived by himself under a pile of lumber in a place removed from the main population center. Thus discovering, had I lived here at the turn of the century and wandered down this gulf I would have encountered living there a pugnacious, highly independent character analogous to those that declare themselves survivalists today.

Joe Nichols

Joe Nichols

There are so many stories in everyone’s neighborhood and usually neighbors who can tell them.  I intend to learn more.  Perhaps our cell phone tours will help you pursue a similar quest.

Tina Nelson-Scherman
Visitor Services/Educator