Images of America: Parker

Material Information

Images of America: Parker
Series Title:
Images of America: Parker
Appleby, Susan
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
Publication Date:

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Source Institution:
Auraria Library
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Images of America: Parker | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/7/2015 2:42:08 PM] Home Images of America: ParkerImages of America: ParkerSubmitted by barlowk on 8-30-2015 09:22 PMAuthor: Sandra Jane Whelchel Publishing: Parker By Sandra Jane Whelchel. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2015. 127 pages. Black-and-white photographs. 6 x 9 . $21.99 paperback. Reviewer: Susan Appleby Reviewer Affiliation: Small town American values and sacrifices are highlighted in Sandra Whelchels Images of America: Parker. As is typical in the popular photo essay-style book series by Arcadia publishing, Whelchel uses a pictorial format to present a history of Parker, Colorado, illustrating its progression from a sleepy little Douglas County town to one of Denvers fastest growing bedroom communities. The book is organized both chronologically and topically, covering subjects that range widely yet are cohesive in their common theme: Parker, Colorado, has always been a town that values family, education, and neighborly relations. Whelchel begins with a chronological history of Parker, including an introduction to the Native American tribes that once roamed there, specifically Ute tribes led by chiefs Washington and Colorow. In her chapter Trails, Stages, and the Railroad, Whelchel describes the role of transportation in a late nineteenth-century migration and building boom for the area. Starting in the 1860s, the Cherokee Trail, a southern branch of the Smoky Hill Trail, facilitated the passage of large numbers of gold seekers, business merchants, agriculturalists, and families, many of whom stayed and contributed to the formation of the town. In this chapter, Whelchel includes iconic photographs of both the 20-Mile House, so named for its distance from Denver, as well as the Denver & New Orleans railroad depot, buildings that contributed greatly to the growth and sustainability of early Parker. The largest chapter in the book, Early Businesses, portrays a young community not only growing in size, but in confidence as well. Here the reader is introduced to Parkers recognition as a tuberculosis health center with the opening of the Ponce de Leon Chalybeate Springs in 1885. The addition of modern conveniences, such as a barbershop, bank, grocery store, ice cream shop, blacksmith, and not one but two hotels, instilled pride in Parker residents, and provided community gathering points where socialization and neighborly relations could be nourished. When the community suffered an identity crisis and financial slump in the 1960s-1970s, its newer residents came forward with fresh ideas for revitalization, including town EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanCasimiro Barela, state senator for over 37 years, fought to ensure Colorados first constitution was published in English, Spanish and German.


Images of America: Parker | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/7/2015 2:42:08 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us incorporation and infrastructure improvements. In the span of two decades, Whelchel explains in her chapter s Setbacks, Resurrection, and Incorporation, Parkers population soared from 200 to 20,000. Whelchel, herself a longtime resident of Parker, does an admirable job of referencing many wellknown local family names, thus making her reader feel like they are part of a tight, close-knit community of neighbors and friends. In fact, most of her photographs are sourced with these familiar names, creating the sense that we are casually turning the pages of a treasured family photo album rather than a published book. Her narrative is equally friendly and casual, and in it we peruse heartwarming stories, such as the necessity among 1970s residents to drive carefully down Mainstreet because the town mechanics dog preferred sleeping in its potholes. Parker citizens loved to gather, and events like Fourth of July parades, baseball games, and horse races were popular, well-attended events. Whelchel also includes inspiring stories of perseverance and determination amidst hard times in her accounts of school and community building construction. When referring to the all-volunteer construction of Parkers Community Building, Whelchel notes, Money was difficult to spare, but everyone had time and a dream. (74) If there is a weak spot in Whelchels book, it would have to be in the comparatively limited coverage given to Parkers agricultural development, surprising for a community known for its farmers and ranchers. Nonetheless, the book is highly successful in guiding its reader through the history of a transitioning community, the ingenuity of its pioneers, and the perseverance of its supporters. It will be a great addition to any local history library. Reviewer Info: Susan Appleby graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with an MA in history in 1995. She is the author of Fading Past: The Story of Douglas County, Colorado, published in 2001. Currently she is a docent and historian for the Highlands Ranch Mansion.