Discovering my roots in Manitou Springs, CO

My dad was orphaned at the age of 10 and never talked about his family. I knew nothing about his childhood but a few details like that he was born in Manitou Springs, CO. Shortly before his death in 1999, he told us that he had a sister. In 2001, we found his sister, Margaret and her family, coincidentally, living very close by in California. We learned about his family from Margaret but found no further information about his aunts and grandparents and their descendants in Manitou Springs, CO.  However, in 2012, I discovered this family portrait online.

 

I found a very special family story that was an integral part of the settling of the west back in the pioneer days of the western expansion. My great grandparents, Ferdinand and Amalia Schneider, worked for founders of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs who were General William J. Palmer and Dr. William Bell.  Both men were also the co-founders of the Denver Rio Grande Railroad. My great grandparents were caretakers of the Bell estate, Briarhurst Manor, for 40 years. Ferdinand was the chief gardener and groundskeeper, as well as the caretaker of the estate while the Bells traveled home often to England.

 

My grandmother and father were born on the Briarhurst property. The Schneider family and the Bell family became very close during all those years. When the Bells eventually sold Briarhurst, they moved them to a house they owned in Golden, CO, for them to live in for the rest of their lives without payment.

 

I'm excited that I will be making a special trip to Manitou Springs, CO later this month and will be writing about and photographing my experience as I hunt for family history and explore historical sites and the beauty of one of the most intriguing areas in the west

 

My dad is the little boy in the middle of the photo. My grandmother is directly above him between her two sisters. My aunt Margaret is the baby. My Great Grandparents, Ferdinand and Amalia Schneider are on each side of my father.

Below is a slideshow of some of the family and historical photos of the time. 

Briarhurst 1912 and 2012
Briarhurst 1912 and 2012

Here is a comparison of Briarhurst Manor from May 1912 and April 2012.

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Briarhurst Carriage House in 1912.

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Schneider Mantel
Schneider Mantel

The mantel inside the Schneider home

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Briarhurst 1912 and 2012
Briarhurst 1912 and 2012

Here is a comparison of Briarhurst Manor from May 1912 and April 2012.

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