New book weaves together Douglas County history
In December, The Connection sat down with Larry Schlupp and Tim Weber and reviewed their newly-published history compendium, Douglas County Colorado: Prehistory to 2020. Having nibbled at the edges of this part of Colorado history for a decade in our Wildcat Lore segment and deeming it grossly fragmented, for the first time, a book compiled it all together and filled a gaping hole in our literary universe.
That these two men converged in their thinking and disciplines to edit and synthesize the work is a huge contribution, a story in its own right.
Schlupp and Weber are longtime residents who have served in numerous capacities in their communities. Their fortes: unearthing previously undisclosed historical information, bringing it alive, and protecting and enhancing the history we have.
Weber is a career academic with a PhD, specializing in history with occasional forays into political science in both staff and executive roles. He is a demanding, passionate and learned man.
Schlupp, his complement and an engineer by trade, was a telecommunications executive with a ground-up understanding of the hardscrabble issues of farming and ranching. His technical wizardry and analytical skills were critical in pulling the project together.
Schlupp and Weber first became friends through common organizations like Historic Douglas County, Inc. which published their book. Early on, they worked closely on a collaboration to publish annual historic calendars. This elbow-to-elbow endeavor was the seed corn for the book.
Having agreed on their goal, the challenge was to synthesize a lot of fascinating history into not just a good book, but one that met their own exceptionally demanding standards.
History on its face can be boring; gifted writers and historians bring it alive. Editors craft and then weave it all together. Since Douglas County’s story is first one of slumber and then one of explosion and growth, melding an inventory of disparate writers and their product into a cohesive story became job one.
Schlupp and Weber hit their mark with gusto. The 430-page volume is a potpourri of fascinating eras, people and issues. Delve into those early shakers and movers: risk-taking ordinary men and women. Follow the progression of characters, public and private, who first saw only timber, gold and rhyolite, and then those who came beyond. Read about outsized personalities who were castle builders, dairymen and ranchers, titans of small industry and local government, even gangsters who contoured the county. Their stories are epic and fascinating.
All things considered, Douglas County is considered by many to be one of the most glorious places on earth to live. The problems and risks are also foretold within the book and thus by implication, our principal challenge as well – to not screw up paradise.
Schlupp, Weber and their authors leave few stones unturned and have delivered a double bonus – a series of vivid glimpses into the past and thus also a solid platform on which the reader can better balance issues of growth and quality of life.
Article and photo by Joe Gschwendtner