County Seat: Lake City.
Today Lake City awaits us, as does its impressive history. We prayed over many sites in Hinsdale County but so many painted a picture of this land and its significance. Lord God, this is said to be the most remote place in America’s lower 48, yet it draws many thousands of tourists here each year. I am thinking, this may be related to the five- 14,000 foot mountain peaks, the over 20- 13,000 peaks, the three National Forests here and the Continental Divide crossing this county twice. You know, Lord. You spoke it into existence! Our main point of prayer will be to worship the God who breathed out these mountains, give glory to Your Name for being that big, and letting these natural beauties shout out Your Name to all who come here!
How anyone could miss seeing God in all this is beyond me. I will tell a bit of the history, as we found it so fascinating. I will let the pictures tell the story of this amazng part of the US- and, with us, you can pray through it to the God of all this glory and all this universe. And, while you are at it, pray for Hinsdale County, for Colorado, and for America!
THE HINSDALE COUNTY COURTHOUSE
We will talk alot about the unusually picturesque and unique beauty here. There are also so many portrayals of history here, and the hard work and determination of the earliest settlers here. One such portrayal is the beautiful courthouse. One fascinating fact we have learned today is, this courthouse is the longest continuously operating courthouse in the state of Colorado. The second floor courtroom has been the location of famous trials, and the room itself happens to be exactly the same as it was in 1883- same furniture, same beautiful bookcases, same everything! To preserve so exactly something this old and historical is a feat in itself. We were unable to go inside today, but the outside was impresive and the descriptions we got of the inside showed the respect and honor this place is given for its significance in the state of Colorado. It was an honor to see and pray over this place.
I must share one more courthouse story. In 1877, this courthouse was inagurated and celebrated with a huge ball. It was completely finished, ornate and beautiful. Only one thing was lacking. The windows were completely open with no glass! The ball went on as planned. However, the glass was delayed. We learned that prior to 1889, any materials needed from another place traveled by train through Denver to Gunnison. From the rail line in Gunnison, materials were then transferred to an animal drawn cart which slowly was pulled on remote and rugged mountain trails into Lake City, 40 miles away, by cart. The ball was a huge success, and the window glass eventually arrived!
The First Presbyterian Church is the first church of any denomination on the western slope. The great granddaughter of the first minister lives here, and is a current volunteer at the museum. The Rev. George Darley and his brother came here to share the gospel. They started this church, and George was preacher here during the 1870’s and 1880’s. His great granddaughter also just got married in the church. Of note: Rev. Darley used to put on snow shoes in the winter, walk through mountain weather and deep snow 18 miles every week to preach to miners up in the mountains. Another wonder of this place: if you visit the church, lift up the padding on the pews. You will see cleat marks in the pews. Yes, cleat marks. Because, the material that the pews were made of, was the first scaffolding used to build the steeple. When they finished the steeple, they took the scaffolding down and made pews out of it. We did get to go inside this beautiful place. Yes, we lifted up the padding. Yes, we saw the cleat marks and could picture those old farmers and carpenters climbing up hand made scaffolding to get that steeple made. And yes, we pictured them using the materials as wisely as they could, taking down that scaffolding and making the pews out of it. Wow. There were the cleat marks, right on the seats of the pews. The people who lived here wanted a beautiful church so Your Name could be worshipped and glorified, Lord! We saw their “footprints”! (SEE BELOW!)
The San Juan Mountains are home to the largest silver producing mine in Colorado, the Ute Lake Mine. The Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway connects Lake City, Ouray, and Silverton. This 60 mile + loop crosses two mountain passes- Cinnamon Pass (12,640 feet), and Engineer Pass (12,800 feet). Native Americans once used these paths to cross this region. Later they were widened to access the mines, and now the Alpine Loop offers a taste of history and stunning mountain views. Today, you must have a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle to attempt this crossing. Hinsdale County offers one more noteworthy site here: Lake San Cristolal, the second largest natural lake in Colorado. This was formed by a landslide that dammed up the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River. Over two miles long and nearly 90 feet deep, this is another beautiful wonder in Hinsdale County.
Our communion, prayer and worship time together is our most precious time. Today as we finished, we met some precious people on the trail. They were just in time to worship with us.
Tony’s final prayer over Lake City: “Lord, we pray that Your warrior angels would tear down wickedness in high places. We pray that Your healing angels and Your messenger angels would go through all this county. Send Your Holy Spirit Lord, reaching them with cords of love to the Savior, that they might have the gift of faith; and be saved and have eternal life with You. Thank You Lord. The earth is truely Yours. You made it, and You made all the heavens and the stars. Thank You, Lord, for this place.”
My thoughts as we left Hinsdale county: “Every time we do a county, I think that its my favorite, but I think that this one was my favorite. Our time here was so amazing! God You are so incredible; there is NONE LIKE YOU! I’m going to let all these pictures tell the story, and now I am going to watch for MOOSE!”