Author: joan

A Thanksgiving Day Menu From Douglas County

The cookbook collection in the Archives & Local History (ALH) vault is a great place to search for a Thanksgiving menu steeped in Douglas County history.

Compilations of recipes in the ALH collection come from many sources: families, individuals, churches, parent-teacher organizations, restaurants, and schools. One book, “Behind the Badge,” was published by the Douglas County Sheriff’s office and features the recipes of law enforcement officers, firefighters, and their friends.

To start your Thanksgiving dinner, consider the recipe for “Stuffed Mushroom Delights,” contributed by Loretta Bierschenk, secretary of patrol for the sheriff’s department at the time.1 And even though it’s not traditional, a recipe for olive tarts found in “Recipes by Parker Newcomers Club” sounds tempting.2

For the dinner’s centerpiece, cook up a fabulous turkey using the instructions from the National Turkey Federation found in the pages of the cookbook “Favorite Recipes from the Golden Dobbin.”3 The McConnells opened the Golden Dobbin restaurant in 1964 at 519 Wilcox Street in Castle Rock. They published multiple editions of the cookbook containing their most popular recipes starting in 1965. Instead of dressing, consider Dobbin’s Tomato Pudding, a recipe added to the cookbook’s fourth edition by popular demand.4

Thousands of options exist for side dishes inside the pages of the cookbooks in our collection. Consider baking corn bread from “Naturally.” The recipes there were compiled by Karen Becker and Ferne Adams of Jarre Canyon in the 1960s for the family “tired of opening boxes and cans of over-processed, chemical, artificial and additive laden foods.”5Tried N True” features recipes from Douglas County 4-H members. Corey Crispe’s take on cranberry salad features cherry Jell-O, celery, pecans, and cranberries.6 Instead of green bean casserole, consider the recipe for green beans Napoli from “The Clarke Family Cookbook,” published for a family reunion in 1991.7

A Thanksgiving meal is not complete without dessert. The Golden Dobbin Special Dessert includes a “butter fluff” layer topped with chocolate, bananas, and cherries.8 A recipe for raw apple cake contributed by Phyllis Davis to the Hilltop Community Church Cookbook sounds like a perfect fall treat.9

Let us know if you try any of these recipes with success, or even if you fall short. We hope you have fun trying. To discover more about this topic or items in the archives, please check out the Archives & Local History digital collections or contact archives staff.


1 “Behind the Badge,” Stuffed Mushroom Delights by Loretta Bierschenk

2 “Recipes by Parker Newcomers Club,” Olive Tarts by Judy Pearson

3 From “The Preparation and Cookery of Turkey,” National Turkey Federation, Mount Morris, Ill.

4 “Favorite Recipes from the Golden Dobbin,” Fourth Edition, 1975, Tomato Pudding

5 “Naturally,” Corn Bread, Karen Becker and Ferne Adams

6 “Tried N True: Douglas County 4-H Cookbook,” Cranberry Salad, Corey Crispe

7 “The Clarke Family Cookbook,” Green Beans Napoli, Jamie and Joe Kordziel

8 “Favorite Recipes from the Golden Dobbin,” Fourth Edition, 1975, Golden Dobbin Special Dessert

9 “Hilltop Community Church Cookbook,” Raw Apple Cake, Phyllis Davis

Highlands Ranch History Spotlight: How to Implement a Master Plan

Forty-three years after it was first conceived, Mission Viejo’s dream has come to fruition. With more than 20,000 developed acres, Highlands Ranch is one of the largest planned communities in the United States. Starting with the first completed home in 1981, Highlands Ranch now comprises 35,510 houses with a population of around 100,000.

These figures align almost precisely with Mission Viejo’s 1978 vision of 30,000 homes, a population of 90,000, and two town centers with supermarkets, drug stores, professional offices, and commercial recreation built over a 25- to 30-year period.

After the Mission Viejo Company entered into an agreement to purchase the Highlands Ranch property, the company initiated a three-phase planning program. The program intended “to prepare a plan for a compact, balanced, new town that would be aesthetically pleasing, environmentally and socially responsible and economically viable,” according to Mission Viejo materials found at the archives.

By 1987, the company felt close enough to its goal to declare “Highlands Ranch The Pride of Colorado … No community satisfies both your needs and wants like Highlands Ranch.”

The master plan made realtor Teri Leonard’s job easy as she peddled Highlands Ranch real estate in the 1980s. “Because of the planning and effort that went into building Highlands Ranch, it was hardly any work selling it. Taking families through the recreation center to see what the community had to offer was often all the selling that was needed,” Leonard said.

That satisfaction, the company believed, came from the amenities Highlands Ranch offered, including pools, golf courses, neighborhood schools, community recreation centers, acres of greenbelts, and community events.

The events were central to building the sense of community Mission Viejo desired. Promotional materials advertised the Easter bunny leading children to an Easter egg hunt at Northridge Park, a kids’ bicycle parade on the Fourth of July, kite-flying contests, chili cook-offs, Santa’s workshop, apple pie baking contests, and softball games.

In 1982, the community celebrated its first Highlands Ranch Days, receiving permission from the county commissioners to serve beer at the hoedown from 8 p.m. to midnight. Julie Colby was one of the winners in the first bake-off, creating a Raspberry Layer Pie using Jell-O and cream cheese. At the 1983 Highlands Ranch Days a cheesecake sold for $47 at the live auction.

Ultimately, Mission Viejo’s plan was about more than infrastructure. The company wanted to create in Highlands Ranch a “sense of community,” “intimacy and a sense of true belonging,” “a place where people once again know their neighbors,” and “a feeling that makes the quality of life here very special.”

For those 100,000 citizens in Highlands Ranch today, do you think Mission Viejo’s aspirations were achieved?

To discover more about this topic or items in the archives, please check out the Archives & Local History digital collections or contact archives staff.

Highlands Ranch History Spotlight: One Sheep to Rule Them All

A sheep makes an unlikely candidate for ruler of the ranch—unless, of course, that sheep possesses “mental force” and “occult power” granting it dominion over all other beasts. In 1901, just such a magical animal enjoyed retirement on John W. Springer’s Cross Country Horse and Cattle Ranch, at the present-day site of the Highlands Ranch Mansion.

The sheep came from no particularly special breeding, it was just another lamb born on the Continental Land and Cattle Company property in Montana. Springer’s father-in-law, Col. William Hughes, served as president of the business.

Despite her conventional origins, the sheep demonstrated extraordinary powers: identifying sick or hurt animals, discovering unlocked gates, and herding cattle to shelter in the face of upcoming storms.

The Denver Post reported the sheep’s greatest accomplishment in December 1901.1 The hero sheep subdued a bull, nicknamed “Devil” because of his attempts to gore farmhands, by rubbing her nose against his “panting nostrils” and leading him peacefully around the pasture and through the chute.

The sheep’s prowess earned her an early retirement at the Springer ranch in the gentler Colorado climate. The animal’s presence caused a stir in the Denver media, which theorized her supernatural abilities originated from the reincarnated spirit of some great, departed person.

The sheep’s uncanniness continued upon its arrival in Colorado. On the Springer ranch, she developed a special bond with a swine, raising the possibility that the two farm animals’ affinity for each other began in another life.

Before the sheep’s arrival, local dogs bullied, bit, and scared the pig. The sheep’s company established a paranormal circle of protection, preventing further attacks on her friend. As a result, the pig and sheep devoted themselves to each other, eating, sleeping, and roaming the ranch hoof in hoof.

The “sheep with the lost soul now acts the protector of the pig with the meek soul, and together they will go through life seemingly counterbalancing each other,” read an article in the Denver Post on December 29, 1901.

The mysterious sheep is lost after these 1901 records. Perhaps she witnessed the passing of Springer’s wife, Eliza Hughes, in 1904. Maybe, in 1911, she observed as Mr. Springer’s scandalous second marriage ended in a web of adultery, murder, and divorce. Possibly she passed, along with the ranch, into the hands of Col. Hughes and then his granddaughter Annie Clifton Springer.

No matter her final fate, in her lifetime she soothed a devil and befriended a pig—not bad for a sheep.

1 Spiritualism; Topical Files; DCL Archives & Local History, Castle Rock, Colorado