Reminiscing With Barb Larson
Castle Rock. Located in the southern region of what is now known as the I-25 Corridor, this once quaint little community has now become the attraction to many seeking a safe, secure, and landscape-graced place to live. Much controversy between long-term residents, recent residents seeking a quiet community from whence they came, and those of rather recent arrival or long-term residency who appreciate the growth that has embarked upon Castle Rock, Colorado. There are different views but one constant earlier founders and latter visionaries understood. Castle Rock will need to grow, or it will die. This article is the result of an interview with the daughter of one of the key, instrumental personalities who helped form Castle Rock’s Town Government as we know it today. In 1987, the Home Rule Charter became our town’s constitution and guide to building responsible leadership into the future. Well-planned and thought out, it should never die, only improved upon by the “Will of the Community”.
I, the author of this article, can only imagine what the area was like in 1976, when Bill McDonald set up living in Castle Rock, Colorado. Having first ever ventured into Colorado in 1982 to work and live, I never set foot in Castle Rock until around 2001, stopping in for an early breakfast at McDonald’s at Wolfensberger and Park. There wasn’t much to see. When traveling south on trips, I remember taking a sigh of relief once in the open space of I-25 after white-knuckling my way through Denver. I was from the mountain communities so Denver traffic even then seemed crazy. Castle Rock seemed to be the entry into the relaxing freedom to open road travel at the time. Sometimes I let my mind take me back in history, trying to imagine the area before settlers arrived in the early to mid-1800. I can see “The Rock”, as it is known today, as the place where local Native Americans competed for ceremonial rituals, lookouts, even utilizing the language of “smoke signals”.
“The Rock” was once known as “Poundcake Rock” by early settlers.
Bill McDonald, Barb Larson’s father, knew what would one day come to Castle Rock. It was destiny. Growth and development along the Front Range would demand a need to establish the community manifested to secure its County Seat through economic development. Though discretion and reason were the rules established for this process to begin, growth would come. Bill McDonald did his part by helping, after failed attempts, to create and secure the Home Rule Charter. Barb’s father served Castle Rock sitting on Town Council, Planning Commission, and served as Mayor. This history gives Barb Larson credibility for her views on our town yesterday and today. Her father was not anti-growth, but a visionary of how growth should occur and proceed, all in the confines of responsible accountability.
Who recalls when Castle Rock had only one stoplight, located at the intersection of 5th and Wilcox Streets? Barb Larson does! Many traffic lights and cars later, Castle Rock is now in the midst of the growth and development visionaries knew would come. To all who do not like this growth, or those who want growth to move forward with common sense, be thankful we had someone like Bill McDonald, and we now still have the Home Rule Charter that says, Castle Rock is and will be a “Town” not a city.
For those who do not know her, Barb Larson still resides in Castle Rock today. Barb can tell you stories of history that will make you stand up and take notice. She attended what was then Castle Rock Junior High, graduating from Douglas County High School. Barb worked with the Castle Rock Historical Society and Museum giving tours. Her favorite was her involvement with “Ghostly and Tragic Tales of Castle Rock. After September 11, 2001 (9/11) she created a “Meetup Group” in support of many during this tragic era in American History. Barb is a retired school teacher, having worked extensively with “at risk” students. In a humble, yet appreciated way, Barb and her family is a big part of our town’s history.
“Unique Travel” | Beginnings of a New Adventure!
Life changes quickly so go find adventure, take time to explore, travel the world, and so much more!
Today, Barb is kicking off what originally began as a hobby business, her travel agency, Unique Travel. I will paraphrase, “I got the travel bug a few years back, and now I want to share in that experience.” Barb has traveled to places such as Japan, Iceland, Hawaii, Alaska, and sixteen different countries in Europe, with Luxemburg, Germany and Greece being two of her favorites. Recently she has been seen roaming the landscapes of Utah!
When you are ready to travel and see that place on your “Wish List” or in your “Bucket List” contact Barb Larson – Unique Travel. As with all small business and small business startups in Castle Rock, remember to always “Support Local”!
Article By: Gary Godfrey
Photos Courtesy of:
Gary Godfrey Photography