In 1919, Owen LeFever, a prominent Denver judge, purchased 40 acres of mountainside, located on Evergreen’s Upper Bear Creek Road. LeFever’s friend, another prominent Denver judge, was selling because his daughter, Nellie Whitney, who preferred living on the gorgeous mountain property, died soon after falling in love and marrying the hired hand.
Judge Lefever and wife, Eva, considered among Denver’s first pioneers, had one daughter: Frederica, who was born in 1884. Frederica married Harry Bellamy, co-owner of the Kendrick-Bellamy Co. office supply store in Denver. They had one daughter, also named Frederica, affectionately known as Freddie.
Of his grandmother, Dan shares, “Frederica’s beautifully trained voice was heard in many Denver concerts and productions. Her compassionate heart was also widely known as was her work as director of the Denver Red Cross during WWII. My grandmother was an ardent horse woman as was my mother, Freddie. She was approximately 6 years old when Forest Lynne was purchased and she rode her horse from their Denver home on Second Street and Steele to Evergreen by way of Morrison. They also loved riding trails throughout Evergreen and beyond, which remains a family tradition. Freddie confessed she and her Evergreen friends loved to hang out and flirt with the wranglers who worked at the historic Troutdale in the Pines resort, and claimed her summer fun was funded by winning horse races and playing the slot machines. Parental supervision was obviously light.”
In 1936, Freddie married Lieutenant George (Abe) Lincoln, who later served as a WWII strategist and head of the Department of Social Sciences at West Point, retiring after 30 years as a Brigadier General to then serve as Nixon’s Director of Emergency Preparedness.
On being raised at West Point with his three sisters, Frederica III (Fritzi), Joyce, and Lorna, Dan offers, “West Point offered tremendous recreational facilities and a bunch of buddies. Both were absent in Evergreen. Our two-month summer visit to Evergreen didn’t allow for making friends. There wasn’t much to do but ride our family horses, Chiquita and Sammy—and Nippy, a summer rental. I was consistently unsuccessful catching fish out of Bear Creek. Evenings were spent playing canasta with the help, and reading everything we could get our hands on. I must have read The Virginian five times.”
The infamous T-Bar-S Ranch, then owned by the “Baroness of Cadillac Canyon,” Adele Trumbull-Sommers-Brown-Von Poushenthal, bordered the Lincoln property. “T-Bar-S offered a livery stable and western ghost town complete with saloon and jail, where local actors played gunfighters in mock gunfights with one making his death fall from a second story window,” Dan explains.
Evergreen Rodeo, said to have debuted in 1935, was a summer highlight. “The rodeo grounds were located where Safeway now stands,” Dan recalls, “but it was far from the professional rodeo it has become. I remember horses cantering placidly out of the chute and giving their riders buckless rides. Rerides were common.”
Reaching dating age, Dan claims, “I had stiff competition with the West Point cadets. Because I wasn’t a cadet with a nifty uniform, I had a hard time keeping girlfriends. Although I grew up at West Point, I never tried to get into the Academy knowing I couldn’t handle the heavy science and math emphasis. Instead, I took the ROTC route at CU and was commissioned into the Army in 1964.”
Dan’s wife, Beth, lived across the river from West Point on a farm in Cold Springs, NY. She and her sister deemed West Point “the greatest shopping center in the world,” because of the massive selection of eligible cadets. Beth had formed an allegiance with a young cadet, Jim “Mac” McCormick, agreeing Mac would gather cadets to meet Beth and her invited girlfriends at West Point social functions. Seeing Beth, Dan was instantly smitten, but too shy to intervene among the cadets. Fate did Dan a favor when his sister, Joyce, attended the same boarding school as Beth’s sister. Dan pleaded with Joyce to ask Beth’s sister for her address. When asked, Beth replied, “Give Dan my address immediately!” When the two fell in love, Dan told Beth it was time to “pass the Colorado test,” meaning Beth would spend time with Dan’s family at their Evergreen summer home.
Beth impressed Dan’s dad when she revealed her mastery of a large chain saw. She was thrilled when Dan packed a lunch and took her out for a picnic on horseback. The two challenged each other to a race alongside Stagecoach Boulevard, then a dirt road. Dan was ahead when he turned to see a cloud of dust following him. Out of the dusty haze came Beth’s riderless horse. Dan claims, “My first thought was I won, but fear took over when I found Beth on the ground.” Beth shares, “I learned that when you fall off a horse, you get right back on. Dan offered to take me for help, but I felt the need to impress him, so we rode back home. I was relieved my horse wanted to calmly walk up the lengthy dirt driveway.”
Once married, Dan divulges, “I dragged my growing family through a 20-year career beginning with Airborne and Ranger training. Our daughter, Elizabeth “Lizz,” was born at Fort Benning. Son Curtis was born during our tour in Germany. I also served in the Philippines, Vietnam and Egypt, in addition to stateside assignments.”
In 1965, Freddie acquired a fine log home called Aloha that adjoined the old family land. After Abe retired, they moved there permanently. Abe passed away in 1975, but Freddie stayed on until her death in 2006, riding beloved horses on the trails of her childhood and being active in Evergreen causes. Dan and Beth retired to Forest Lynne in 1984.
Possessing a heart for preserving land as well as civic causes, Dan served 12 years on the Evergreen Park & Recreation District board and assisted in creating EPRD’s Master Plan alongside EPRD’s president and friends Hank Alderfer, Kathleen Chiras, Peter Eggers, and Peter Jacobson. The Master Plan detailed the District’s approach to management pertaining to programs, facilities, fields, parks and trails. During Dan’s tenure, Evergreen’s Lakehouse and Buchanan Recreation Center were built. He also served on the board of Evergreen North Area Balanced Land Use Effort (ENABLE), a homeowner’s association coalition. Dan says, “It was important, at the time, to look at land use since Evergreen has no town government and the place was transitioning into a bedroom community. We had to have some kind of semi-legitimate organization to go down to Golden and speak for North Evergreen. For a long time, there was no development master plan, and even after, there had to be someone from here to make sure the county followed it. I spent enough time at hearings that one county commissioner thought I should have an assigned parking place at the county seat.” Dan was never sure if his efforts at the county bore any fruit. “Maybe at the margins,” he says. “Somewhat less density, more sensible design, more attention to community character, but without a town government, Evergreen is ever at the mercy of three commissioners in Golden who have half a million people in the rest of the county to worry about.”
Dan and Beth continue to love, preserve and care for their land and their herd of five horses and two miniature donkeys. Approaching nearly 100 years of Lincoln family living in homes on beloved land that remains much the same as when purchased. For generations, the Bellamys and Lincolns have proven this point, but above all, they cling to the adage that “the most important thing in the world is family and love.”