The beautiful mountain property that would become Evergreen Memorial Park was
originally purchased as a private park in 1965 by Ron and Carol Lewis. Ron and
Carol committed the 100-acre site as a tribute to the pioneers of Evergreen and
the Old West.
of the land is used as a private animal preserve. Coyotes, owls, foxes, horses,
elk, buffalo, fallow deer, ducks, geese, muskrats and one particularly faithful migrant
heron occupy the property.
The pride of the preserve is the Lewises' buffalo herd. The animals have a
direct bloodline to the original Great Plains Bison, the American "buffalo."
Spring is a particularly exciting time at Evergreen Memorial Park as calves are
born. Onlookers often come by the bus load to see the newborns and to albeit,
briefly step back in time, to watch these great animals as they would have seen
them more than 100 years ago.
The History of the White Buffalo
The white buffalo is the spirit of the emerging West. While there have been
accounts of the white buffalo in the continental United States dating back to at
least 1754, the fact is the white buffalo is the product of genetic mutation
that probably occurred from the longhorn cattle in Southwestern United States.
It occurs as a rarity and was held in awe by the Native American as being great
medicine because its spirit brought blessings to all who saw or possessed some
of its being. The Native American legend was that all animals that benefited
them had come to them from a large hole in the ground, but they had been let out
of the ground by the leader, the great spirit of the White Buffalo, and that in
the end times when this ground gave up its greenery and its trees the animals
would return to the ground, led there by the spirit of the White Buffalo.
Preserving the Pioneer Spirit
As well as protecting wildlife, the Lewises strive to preserve the pioneer
heritage of the Old West at Evergreen Memorial Park. Antique buffs, the Lewises
have collected historically important artifacts of the Old West for many years.
The main building and property display native American arrowheads, stone
implements and tools from local farming, mining and timbering industries of the
past. Wagons, tractors and plows, discovered on neighboring ranches, now act to
remind visitors of the era when Jefferson County was once considered the potato
capital of Colorado.
Lewises established several large garden areas on the high plains meadows where
restored stone and timber cabins have been preserved. Buildings slated for
destruction have been refurbished into a functioning chapel and columbarium (an
above ground mausoleum with niches) in The Garden of the Pioneers.
The Barn Chapel is an historic assembly of five old barns ranging from
seventy to one hundred years old. The barn features beautiful antique stained
glass windows as well as large picture windows overlooking the mountains and
48 acre-feet working reservoir.
The Garden of the Pioneers, Gardens of the Cross, Garden of the Pines
four distinct and separate garden areas now serve as a cemetery and the final
resting place for many Colorado natives. Edward Steele, a mule skinner in his
youth, was buried on this memorial site. In keeping with the wishes of the
Steele family, the man was buried in a simple, old fashioned manner. With a
horse-drawn hearse and a pine coffin decorated with a hand-carved wooden gun on
the lid, history was indeed relived the day he was laid to rest. On a cold,
blustery January morning Edward Steele and his procession of family members and
lifelong friends made their way through the Garden of the Pioneers. Curiously,
so significant was Edward Steele's passing in its historical simplicity, a
Channel 9 TV news team respectfully documented the event.
Today the park hosts the historic barn with its beautiful stained glass
windows overlooking the reservoir, large rolling meadows with restored cabins,
outbuildings, artifacts and antiques and of course, the private animal preserve.
Evergreen Memorial Park serves a diverse but complimentary function:
the "Celebration of Life"...cemetery, funeral home, wedding
chapel, living museum, and wildlife preserve. Perhaps more importantly, its very
existence speaks to the significance of our heritage for future generations to
consider, and to the value of preserving an important imprint of our history and
the Old West.
For More Information
For more information about the park, the barn, the animal preserve or the
funeral home, please visit one of our four web sites which have been created to
highlight the diverse events and activities that can be found here.
Weddings and Events
at our Historic Barn, The Meadows or The Great Room Chapel,
Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery and Mortuary, Crematory and Mausoleum, please visit:
Evergreen Pet Cemetery and Crematory, please visit:
Game Ranch, Wild Game Preserve, please visit:
Ron and Carol Lewis
Today the Lewises, their 3 children, 13 grandchildren and 1
continue to reside in the mountain community and most are active in different
aspects of Evergreen Memorial Park. They continue their values of family,
church, and the desire to serve the community.