Photos of the early 1900’s wave of immigrants coming from Europe. More than 30 million people arrived from all over Europe running away from war, oppression, poverty and desire to have a better life in a country that offered hope.
Bonnie Smeltzer was born Bonnie Lenke. Her grandparents came to the United States from Germany in 1903 with their two young sons August and Oswald. They started work in the Black Diamond Mine, a coal mine just above Four Mile Road in Glenwood Springs. The family eventually moved to the mine at Sunlight, Colorado, just below what is now the Sunlight Ski Area, so the boy’s could go to school. Bonnie’s dad, August, and his brother, Oswald, grew up in Sunlight.
Coal mining was a major player in the Lenke family history. Bonnie was born in a coal mining camp. It gave the family work but it took its toll.
In March of 1960, Elizabeth Boomhower came to the United States from the Netherlands on the arm of her “American soldier husband.” Twenty years before, she was nineteen as she watched the German army invade her country.
Boomhower: I went through all of World War II in the Netherlands. And in the beginning it didn’t look so bad but it got worse as the war went on, as we went under the German heel. I was nineteen when we started out. And in May 1940, the Dutch soldiers came one more time together and I helped peel potatoes for that day, for them to do their last big meal before we had to give it all up.
Over time, there was less and less to eat and there came a day, February 1942, when there was nothing to eat anymore and we lived for the rest of the war on water. It can be done. I show it. I am here. Read more.
On Memorial Day 1898, Ellen Quigley’s mother landed at Ellis Island. She was 18 years old. Her family had sent her to the U.S. to escape the deep poverty of Ireland and help those who had to stay behind. Ellen’s mother was never able to send much money home, but she sent what she could. Here Ellen remembers her mother’s dedication to her relatives in Ireland.
Quigley: Taking care of the folks in Ireland was her priority, because she did it all of her life. She would keep everything we would grow out of. The things she saved weren’t in the best shape because we didn’t have much, but we had more than they did. To read more.
A story that belongs to humanity.
The Choctaw sent $170 to help feed the starving Irish during the Irish potato famine. An incredible story of tremendous compassion.
Carlton Hubbard’s ancestors came to the United States from Gloucester, England in 1632 and settled in Vermont. Two hundred and fifty years later in 1885 the silver boom in Aspen lured Carlton’s grandfather and his brothers to western Colorado.
Gallacher: So the Hubbards have been in the valley from the very early days.
Hubbard: They came in 1885, the year of the incorporation of Glenwood. My grandfather wrote a story for the Glenwood Post in 1923 telling about his first trip to Glenwood Springs. He described how he left his wife who was pregnant and headed west. He told her, “Well, we’re going to Colorado.” And she said, “Well I’m not going to have my first child born out there in the wild West where there’s Indians and all.”
So she stayed with her parents in Vermont and he took a train to Chicago where he met one of his brothers and they came on to Minturn. They had to walk the rest of the way into Glenwood. They put what baggage they had on a freight wagon, but the freighters wouldn’t take passengers. So Grandpa and his brother had to walk all the way.
All of their belongings were on this freight wagon that they thought they would meet up with before they got to Glenwood, but they didn’t. So the walk became quite an ordeal that took about three days.
Fortunately they knocked on a couple of doors along the way and people were very nice and provided them with some food. The nights were long and cold. When they finally got into Glenwood it was around ten o’clock at night and they went looking for the tent their sister was living in, somewhere down on seventh and eighth street near town. There was no lighting in town to speak of so they knocked on a lot of tents and doors before they finally found her.
Gallacher: Why was it so urgent for your grandfather to leave home and come west?
Hubbard: He was suffering from a respiratory disease they called Cattahr. His brothers had told him about the hot springs here and they thought it might help him. His doctors in Vermont hadn’t given him a lot of hope for a long life. That was what really motivated him to come out early. He lived another fifty years after he got here.
Gallacher: Did your grandmother take to the place when she finally got here?
Hubbard: I think so, probably out of necessity. She was the wife and she was going to do whatever he wanted to do. My dad was born in 1887 and the last child was born in 1906. So they had ten children in twenty years.
Gallacher: Your grandmother was worried about the Indians. Did your grandparents have encounters with the Utes who were still here?
Hubbard: Yes, but their experiences with them were very friendly. They had no skirmishes and weren’t threatened in any way. To read more.