Category: Uncategorized

Hut, Hut, Hike! Youth Sports in Douglas County

It’s football season in Douglas County! Archives & Local History’s newest reading room display exhibits some of our materials on youth sports from the early 1960s through 1990. You can also learn about local youth sports here.

Do you have a local sports collection you’d like to donate? ALH is looking for papers, photographs, records, minutes, diaries, ephemera (like posters and brochures), audiovisual materials (videos, recordings), and more. We’d love to chat with you. Contact Local History.

The Arapahoe Youth League

The Arapahoe Youth League has been around since at least the early 1970s. ALH’s Arapahoe Youth League (AYL) materials (2001.060) contain records, playbook diagrams, ephemera (posters, stickers, brochures), correspondence, and photographs. Coach Mark Lee oversaw Douglas County’s AYL football and baseball teams, both called the Dolphins. Today, the AYL football team is called the Raptors.

Flaunt It While You’ve Got It!

The 1980 sports uniform catalog Southern Athletic/Bike advertised these interesting outfits for football practice. Many people in the 1970s cast off traditionally modest clothing in favor of flaunting it! Due to the soaring popularity of fitness through the ’80s, short-shorts and crop tops found themselves a staple of mainstream fashion—for both men and women. The crop top is said to have been inspired by football jerseys ripped on the field. What do you think? Should we bring the look back?

 

Safeteeth Firthst

Even though dental injuries accounted for about half of sports injuries in the 1940s, it wasn’t until 1962 that mouth guards were made mandatory for high school football players. “Boil and bite” mouth guards can be easily fitted to an individual player’s teeth. This one belonged to the Arapahoe Youth League, though it appears not to have been used.

Image shows a white boil and bite mouth guard.
Boil and bite mouth guard, 2001.060, Arapahoe Youth League materials.

 

Understanding Concussions

Jake Snakenberg, 1990-2004

Karen McAvoy, Director of the Center for Concussion at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, was a school psychologist at Grandview High School in Aurora when freshman Jake Snakenberg died of injuries sustained by multiple concussions. The incident affected McAvoy deeply and inspired her work on combatting concussions in youth sports. In honor of Jake, please take the time to review the hospital’s tips for recognizing and managing pediatric concussions.

 

Citations

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