In May, communities across the state of Colorado host events honoring their history during the annual Archaeology and Historic Preservation month. Over the years, Lyons has offered special events, workshops, speakers and exhibits in May. The Lyons Historical Society, with Dorothy Paxton, as president, was formed in 1973 in order to help save the town's railroad depot building from being torn down or removed. In 1976, with LaVern Johnson as president, the group went on to save the schoolhouse, built in 1881. It would eventually be turned into the Redstone Museum. Both buildings have been further restored in the past decade.
Past May history preservation programs have included a workshop on genealogy research, analysis of the flood damage of 2013, Lyons newspapers since 1890, charting Lyons' progress by the year, exploration of Lyons business store fronts since 1880, walking historic tour of downtown, and more. Watch its web site and local newspapers for the current year's events.
Town residents have received honors at the annual May Boulder County Archaeology and Historic Preservation program for their quality campaigns to save buildings, put local history on display for public education, and publication of Lyons history books. Historians LaVern Johnson and Kathleen Spring have received the Square Nail lifetime achievement awards.
The Museum opens on weekends during May, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm on Saturdays, and opening at 12:30 pm on Sundays.
From Memorial Day through October 1st, it is open daily.
History Preservation Month is part of what makes Lyons a Heritage Tourism Destination. The Lyons Redstone Museum preserves the town's heritage through exhibits, photographs, and genealogy records; and the Historical Society's supports the preservation of the Town's historic buildings.
www.LyonsRedstoneMuseum.com (303) 823-5271 (winter season 823-5925)
Photo: Downtown Lyons, 1900. Click to enlarge.
History of the Town of Lyons, Colorado
Founded on April 19, 1880; Incorporated April 6, 1891
The Town of Lyons has an elevation of 5,375 feet, and sits at the confluence of the North and South St. Vrain Creeks. It was the winter camp for Chief Niwot and the Arapahoe Indian tribe, as they could go on the high ridges to spot danger.
Edward Sebray Lyon was born September 2, 1843 at Eastford, Connecticut. He was a veteran of the Civil War, having enlisted as a private at age 18, in September 1861. He was discharged in 1865 due to a gunshot wound.
Edward came to Colorado in 1880, on the advice of his doctor. He and six other men rented a house in Boulder. Each day, they rode on horseback in the surrounding area, looking for employment. In April 1880, Mr. Lyon came to Red Hill, south of the present Lyons, which overlooked the St. Vrain Valley. He stated, “Looking down in that beautiful valley, I saw for the first time the very spot that looked good to me.” On April 19, 1880, he purchased 160 acres from Hiram and Isabel Sawyer. He soon noticed the hills of red sandstone, which prompted him to establish the town. He went back to Putnam, CT, to get his family and obtain financing for this new enterprise.
E.S. Lyons developed his own quarries and promoted the sale in Denver, where he also established a large stone yard. In 1881, Lyon laid out a town site and started the town of Lyons; in the same year, he and others built the school that stands today as the Redstone Museum. The Hotel, formerly known as the “Lyon House,” on 3rd & Evans, was also built in 1881. In 1884, Lyon built the first store building. The following year, he built the house at 509 Evans, which stood until it was damaged in the 2013 flood.
The town site was laid out in 1882 by Mr. Lyon, and after nearly nine years of modifying the plans, the Town became incorporated on April 6, 1891. There were 167 that voted for incorporation – 128-Yes and 39-No. At that time, the officers were: J. M. Hews, Mayor, M. J. Scanlon, Treasurer, and W. M. Thorne, Marshall. Mr. Lyon served as Treasurer of the new town for two terms, 1892 and 1893.
Additionally, local historians have collected the following of E.S. Lyon:
Lyon was the postmaster from 1881 to 1885, and again from 1889 to 1893; he helped organize the Old Stone Church in 1889 and was a charter member; he was a member of the Board of Trustees; he brought Rev. John Parker to Lyons as a source of spiritual guidance; had a three-year lawsuit with Mr. Putnam over town’s boundaries, known as the Putman Plat – the blocks to the Northwest end of town the lots are 75-feet wide, instead of 50-feet – named Nortonville. Lyon had a lawsuit with Mr. Kimball over his stone yard in Denver; subsequently, he lost his fortune with closing of banks in Denver in 1895, leaving him bankrupt and helpless, at the age of 53; finally, he moved to San Diego, CA in 1895, never to return.
On April 6, 2016, we paid tribute to our Town of Lyons, Colorado – the home of 1,950 citizens who survived the disastrous floods of 1894, and again in September, 2013. We declare this our beloved town whose members have grit, perseverance, and resilience, to remain Lyons Strong for oncoming years; we commemorate the 125 years of the Town of Lyons, and look boldly ahead moving forward in our beloved Town.
April 6, 2016 Lyons Board of Trustees: Mayor John O’Brien, Barney Dreistadt, Dan Greenberg, LaVern Johnson, Jim Kerr, Connie Sullivan, and Dawn Weller