The Lyons Redstone Museum (the town's 1881 schoolhouse) will open on Saturdays and Sundays in May for Lyons May History Month, with special displays and programs. The museum will be open daily from June 1, to October 2, 2016.
All visitors are invited to stop by to enjoy the History of the Lyons area in displays, photographs, and genealogy. Book Sale and Gift Shop open.
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 pay 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