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Rockvale, Colorado


True happiness may be sought, thought, or caught--but never bought--anonymous

     As the author of ROCKVALEPAGES.COM, this is a little history of how and why this web site came to be.

     Bob Wood, publisher of The Florence Citizen, wrote in the September 25, 2003 issue “Rockvale native Judi Chiri-Mulkey has obviously spent hours upon hours researching and writing about her roots in Rockvale. The site is a treasure for history buffs, for she recounts many details of the town’s development.”

     Rockvale is not an Italian, Austrian, Polish, or Irish originated town. Rockvale had and still has many different cultural groups from all over the world. Because America itself is made up of all different lifestyles, Rockvale is an all-American town.

     I am a native of Rockvale and lived in a home next to the Rockvale School until I went to college. So I grew up in Rockvale as did my father and his siblings—all immigrants from Italy.

     I have had some good journalism training--as a teenager I wrote a column for The Citizen and was journalism major in college. The website is obviously a project I love for I have written pages and pages about Rockvale, its history, and its people. In addition to Rockvale history, there are sections devoted to the Rockvale fire, the Rockvale school and Rockvale churches. The pages are lavishly illustrated with photos some historical and some from the present. Music accompanies each page, and I have added pages for all of us to add our special memories of growing up in this special small community of Rockvale. Check out rockvale_memories  and more_memories.

 

photo furnished by Lorraine Veltri

     I have always been fascinated with Rockvale history and the history of the coal camps. My father worked in coalmines, as did his father and his brothers. Frank one of my father’s brothers, was killed in a mining accident at the Cedar Canon Coal Mine. I became more interested in putting this site together after obtaining a copy of Rockvale Remembered—1986-2000 –a calendar the Rockvale Historical Club put together. I gained information for Rockvale pages through research and from the sources listed on the home page of this site. I am a retired business education/computer technology teacher. I have coauthored numerous computer-related textbooks and written and published articles about computers, business education, and computer technology. My intention is to add information about Williamsburg. I have already included information about the coal mining towns of Chandler, Radient, and Coal Creek.

Read about Rockvale

 

 

America

 

THIS SITE IS FOR ALL TO ENJOY

Judi

John Rambish's painting of Rockvale

Thanks to all of you who have given me photos and memories for Rockvalepages.

Country: United States
State: Colorado
County: Fremont County
Population: 426 (2000 census); 438 (2005 estimate)
Zip code(s): 81244
Area code(s): 719
Time zone: Mountain Standard Time (UTC-7), DST observed

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ROCKVALE--"a rocky valley"
photo from Rockvale Remembered 

Italian Immigrants

Canada Chiri


Immigrants

Polish connection

 

          Rockvale is not an Italian, Austrian, Polish, or Irish originated town. It is made up of many different cultural groups  from all over the world. Because America itself is made up of all different walks of life, Rockvale is an all-American town.

            This is because many of those who were born and raised here,  stayed in Rockvale. They stayed to live and made Rockvale a caring community where they could raise their children  and still hang on to their beliefs.

SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH GENERATION

OFFSPRING BACK IN ROCKVALE, OR NEVER LEFT

        BEVERLY KISSELL HARRIS and DOROTHY KISSELL PATTERSON are both third generation Rockvale residents. Dorothy’s children and grandchildren are fourth and fifth generation Rockvale residents. Sadly, DOROTHY passed away on May 10, 2004 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. She was 57 years old.

        LAWRENCE FAORO, JIM PICCO, LORRAINE VELTRI, JOHNETTE TESSADRI BROWN, ALBERT BUFMACK, DARYL BUFMACK, JOE TAMBURELLO, PHYLLIS DE ROCCHI LENNOX, RICHARD WHITE, DELORIS TRODGEN CRUMM still live in Rockvale.

        JIMMY WALKER is a second generation Rockvale resident. His son, MARTY, third generation residents, and their children are fourth generation

        EARL WALKER, brother of Jimmy, DONNA COLGIN WALKER, ALICE ORSI THOMAS, ONEY DAVID BARNES, KENNY HORVATH,  LEROY KESSLER, NAOMI LANGLOSS KESSLER, NORMA DEL DUCA ARCHULETTA,  and JENNIE TESSEADRI MACKINNON are more "old" Rockvale residents.

        There are many people who have lived in Rockvale almost their entire lives.

(Next paragraph is an update from Lorraine Veltri - 04-22-2010)

        Mary Ann Walker (Tonko), Mary Alvidrez,  and Ilene (Chorus) Fleming are at Progressive Care in Canon City.  Lena Faoro is at Skyline Ridge NH in Canon she is nearing  97 or 98 as is Mary Alvidrez .  Frances Slack is just as chipper as she was 20 years ago.  She is about 82 or 83.   Jean and Bill Newell still live in Lipersick's old house. Bill is on oxygen and stays home a lot.  Dorothy Baccarella still lives at home, she too is over 80 and still drives. Rose Del Duca lives in the same house with her daughter Carol.  Carol works at True Value in Florence.  Corneil Bufmack is incapacitated. Her son Daryl takes her out once a week, has a caregiver at home. Margaret Watkins still lives alone and also has a caregiver that comes and takes her out and helps her with what she needs.

        Kathleen Goodwin is now living in South Carolina with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.

        Louise Williams passed away on June 8, 2007 at her home of over 50 years in Rockvale.

        Lawrence Sartoris passed away on November 8, 2008. He was 93 years old.

        Mary (Slack) Horvath, 86, passed away December 21, 2009. She was buried at Union Highland Cemetery.

        John Rambish passed away at his home on March 10, 2010. He was 66 years old. (see Memories)

        Pauline Trogden passed away on April 1, 2010. She was 86 years old. Her husband James died Oct. 6, 2003.

       John Tonko (78) passed away on April 9, 2010. He was a resident of the Bruce McCandless State Veterans Nursing Home in Florence.

       Ella Rigirozzi Garner (89) passed away on July 5, 2010. She was at Progressive Care Nursing Home in Canon

        George (Pee Wee) Swift (74) passed away on July 26, 2010. He was a life long resident of Rockvale.

        Martin Kessler passed away on July 30, 2010. He was 59 years old and had fought a brave battle with cancer.

        Don Gallop (83) passed away on January 10, 2011.

        Frances R. (Governski) Gallop, 92, of Rockvale, died Sunday, June 5, 2011.

 

     Madaline Sudo passed away in August 2003; Antionette Ross passed away January 3, 2004; Clorinda Del Duca passed away on April 4, 2005; Eula Harrison passed away on October 3, 2005; Lorraine Faoro passed away on October26, 2005; Emily Swisher fought a long battle with cancer. She passed away in March, 2006. Diane Lakey Howell (61 years old) was living in Beulah when she died April 5, 2006. Jo-Ann Kuklinski died July 30, 2006. Eunice Rambish, mother of Louise & Joey Rambish, died at her home in Alaska in May 2006. She was 82. Lillian Smith Shook passed away in September, 2006. She was 63--a 1961 graduate of Florence High School.

 Evelyn Eason Drake (Her father had the Eason store in Rockvale, Coal Creek, and Chandler.) lived in Canon City. She passed away on November 8, 2007at the age of 95.

     Louise Williams passed away in June 8, 2007. Louise & her family moved to Rockvale in 1956. Ruth Massaro, passed away on January 27, 2008. She was 83 years old.
Sylvia Colgin Hinklin--64--was killed in an auto accident on February 19, 2008. She was living in Cotopaxi. Sylvia graduated eighth grade in 1957 from Rockvale School.

 

Mary "Mitzi" L. Horvath

photo furnished by Lorraine Veltri

from Florence Citizen

 

a few of the old generation living

but not in Rockvale  at the present time.

     

VIPs at Coal Camp Days, 2004
photo furnished by Lorraine Veltri
Buffie McFadyn (state representative from district 47), Lorraine Veltri, and Henry McWilliams (former Coal Creek Mayor)

          Colonel William Horace May homesteaded Rockvale land in 1863. May was born in Vermont in 1832 and died of typhoid fever on July 29, 1888. He was only 56 years olf. He settled on low farmland in 1860. After suffering losses twice by floods, he moved to higher ground on the site that became Rockvale. He received his first patents from the United States land office of February 26, 1864. The first land grant consisted of one hundred and sixty acres and forms the east part of Rockvale. The second patent was granted to Colonel May on July 15, 1868. The grant consisted of one hundred and sixty acres and forms the western part of Rockvale.

            Colonel May was one of the incorporators of the Canon City Coal Company which was incorporated in October of the year 1878. On July 10, l882, he gave a quick claim to 47 acres of the land to the Canon City Coal Company. This land was plotted in lots and blocks to make the town site of Rockvale.

            Colonel May built a cabin and used his holdings as grazing land, not realizing at that time that millions of tons of coal lay under his land. They found small outcroppings of coal. Mining in a small way continued until 1880 when the Canon City Coal Company leased the mining property. In 1896, the Colorado Fuel & Iron Corporation acquired it.

            The log cabin (still standing) built by Colonel May was composed of cottonwood logs which were cut and shaped by hand. The walls had portholes built in them. These were necessary as a protection against the Indians who wandered in and out of the settlement. However,  the Indians were essentially peace-loving only looking for food. The cabin has recently been moved to the park across from the YMCA.  Was on railroad land.

(May's cabin) photo furnished by Bev Kissell Harris

Captain Rockefeller named the town of Rockvale

         The inhabitants intended to call the town "Rockefeller,” but the Captain protested. He finally agreed to use the phrase "Rock" from his name and "vale" because it was in a rocky valley. (B. F. Rockefeller, for whom Rockvale was named, was born November 18, 1835 in Nunda, Livingston County, New York. He was educated at Temple Hill Academy, N.Y. and at Oberlin, College in Ohio. He was one of the promoters and incorporators of the original Coal Companies at Rockvale and Brookside. The Santa Fe Railroad finally secured some of the properties of these companies through his effort.)

          Back in the 1870’s Captain Rockefeller's history of Fremont county tells of very little change in temperature records over the years. He wrote that Fremont County possessed all the favorable features of Colorado climate. “The breezes common to the valleys, forerunners of storms--which are the exception, while fair weather is the rule--are said here to be the special purifiers of the air, coming down from the rarified atmosphere of higher mountains to westward, by the Grand Canyon; certain it is that though the valley portion of the county is a mile high, or, in exact figures, 5,300 feet. In winter months, the weather is usually ten degrees more favorable here than at other points, even in our own state.”

        John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who, with his wife visited the Colorado coal camps after the coa1 strike of 1913, supplied uniforms for the Rockvale Band. He was the major stockholder in the C. F. & I., which owned five of the largest Fremont County mines. He came to Rockvale in his own private railroad car, but ate several meals at Mrs. Doran's Hotel where Mrs. Doran served her famous fruit cake for dessert. After returning home, Mrs. Rockefeller wrote to Mrs. Doran praising the cake and asking for the recipe. Mrs. Doran always treasured this letter.

 

(wild turkey) photo furnished by Perry Patterson


WHAT’S IN A NAME

 Rockvale area residents have had many colorful and unusual nicknames over the years.

These are only a few.

  Nickname             REAL Name                    Nickname                 REAL Name                Nickname         REAL Name  

Polly

Paul Albertini

Toe

Mike Krempeley

Bush

Rudy Slack

Happy

Howard Agard

Pie Eye

Paul Krempeley

Pollock

Willie Slack

Brie

James Aprato

Booshie

Daniel Kuklinski

Skooky

John Smith

Fam

Louis Aprato

Duck

Ed Kuklinski

Kelly

Dan Smilanich

Spud

Linus Battisti

Bones

Frances Langloss

Strijie

John Strale

Rats

Frank Bole

Sissy

Donna Lewis

Plough

Frank Strale

Rusty

Albert Bufmack

Rube

Bob Lewis

Suds

Andy Sudo

Ham

Andy Bufmack

Doc

Don Lewis

Soup

Johnny Sudo

Little Butch

Albert Bufmack

Stinks

Larry Lewis

Soup

Tony Sudo

Punky

Daryl Bufmack

Zeke

Joe Lipersick

Wajo

William Sudo

Doots

Paul Bufmack

Garbage

Anton Lucerna

Condo

John Sutherland

Shike

Charles Bufmack

Boolis

Joe Lucerna

Pee Wee

George Swift

Quasti

Frank Bufmack

Mose

Frank Lulek

Timber

Joe Tamburello

Micky

Tony Chiri

Lead

Tony Lulek

Tutt

Lee Tollis

Duke/Puppy

James Chorus

Squink

Ruth Massaro

Sugar Head

John Tonko

Chuska

Charles Cresto

Moony

John Mersek

Butch

Alfred Trogden

Prairie

Pete Cresto

Duck

Kenny McMullen

Grizzley

Del Trogden

Red

Harold Carter

Tuscano

Angelo Morelli

Frog

James Trogden

Beak

Joe Daily

Slim

John Morello

Sonny

Monroe Trogden

Fry

Francis DeCarlo

Spinny

Bill Newcomb

Pine

Pauline Trogden

Trout

John Del Vecchio

Cross

Frank Orrechio

Ode

Joe Valent

Battler

George Dewhurst

Farmer

Pasquel Palumbo

Wingo

Dominic Veltri

Flea

Harry Dewhurst

Sharkey

Albert Penny

Dolly

Martha Vezzetti

Bear

Lindo Faoro

Chow

Charles Picco

Doc

Martin Vezzetti

Little Bear

Lawrence Faoro

Syl

John Picco

Whiskers

Bill Vezzetti

Jurej

George Goodall

Con

William Pirraglia

Jughead

Duane Walker

Grassy

John Governski

Sister

Charlene F. Rambish

Wart

Wally Wyatt

Dooty

Tony Governski

Prot

John Rambish

Scrub

Jimmy Yeoman

Weenie

Ed Grant

Dako

Dan Ratkovich

Fats

John Yeoman

Mocco

Joe Harris

Poopy Dan

Dan Richards

Sonny

Alex Ziolkowski

Boots

Steve Horvath

Rock

Dan Santarelli

Cobe

Edward Ziolkowski

Mitzi

Mary Horvath

Lardy

Lawrence Satoris

Norkie

Eleanore Ziolkowski

Babe

Andy Kochan

Moosca

John Scardava

Bucks

Frank Ziolkowski

Fritzie

Anton Kochan

Ty

Anthony Scutti

Zuck

Frank Ziolkowski Jr.

Piggy

George Kochan

Hev

Louis Scutti

Puss

Leon Ziolkowski

Marm

Mike Kochan

Peaky

Nick Scutti

Kize

William Ziolkowski

High

Paul Kochan

Simmy

Louis Simeoni

Bowser

Jack Zolar

Clawn

John Kochan

Jap

Andy Slack

Yum

Adam Zulkowski

Dokes

Andrew Krempeley

Scootchie

Anton Slack

Susie

Joe Zulkowski

Craig

John Krempeley

Muck

Joe Slack

Yush

John Zulkowski

Pops

Andy Maglietto

Curley

John Slack

 Buster

Tom Maglietto

Chille

 

Blinky

 

Orkie

Joe Cresto

 

Jerry Maglietto

 

Robert Orsi

Hawk

Snub

Hearts

Max Bardazona

Tony Maglietto

Martin Chiri

Cotton

Babe

Free

Joseph Chiri

Domenic Massaro

Budgie Giambalvo

 

Pep

Dominic Carestia

Jepet

Joe Vidano

Snoddy

Maggie Jones


Tonko Mining Company

John C. Fremont Library

The Florence Citizen

 

LITERATURE WORTHY OF NOTE:

King Cole - Antoinette V. Cresto

The Upper Arkansas, A Mountain River Valley - Virginia Connel Simmons

From Trappers to Tourist - Rosemae Campbell

Ghost Towns, Colorado Style - Kenneth Jessen (vol. 3.)

Out Back, Down The Path, Colorado Outhouses - Kenneth Jessen

Florence and Its Environs (republished by Florence Chamber of Commerce) x3

Fremont County School Days From "Slate to Apples" - Fremont County Extension Homemakers

Rockvale--a Rocky Valley

 

special thanks to members of the Rockvale Historical Club:

Beverly Kissell Harris, Alice Orsi Thomas, and Juliette Cool

 and Antoinette Cresto's book King Coal

 

11/26/2011

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Judith chri-mulkey

Rockvale had its party lines.