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Masonville, Colorado- A Kate’s 8 town

MasonvilleColorado~ a beautiful, picturesque little (un-incorporated) micro sized, 20140626_133444unincorporated town (wide spot in the road)  has all eight of the assets that every community shares. The fact that there really in no ‘town’ per-se, is not a problem.  A skip away from Estes Park, Loveland and Ft Collins– it is still a slice of the wild west and feels like it is miles and miles from anywhere. (which it kinda is- ank8s average of 30 miles to ‘anywhere’)

Masonville easily covers all the assets:  Architecture, Art/Culture, Cuisine, Customs, Commerce, Geography, History and People.

Every things fits into one of these categories, and every town- even a ghost town- has a story to tell about each one” – Kansas Sample Foundation

Here’s my ‘story’ on each element;

Geography– Masonville was originally platted in the Buckhorn Canyon following a  small discovery of Gold.  It is surrounded by the stunning foothills and rolling meadows leading up to Estes Park and the Buckhorn, Redstone and Big Thompson creeks. It is an area considered to be part of the beginning of the “Front Range”.  Gold, Silver, Tungsten, Copper and Nickel have been found there along with a host of other lesser ores and small gemstones.

The winding roads leading into Masonville make it a popular destination for motorcyclists and bicyclists alike.

20140626_133558Art/Culture  A part of Masonville holds a mini western ‘town’ and many sculptures and 20140626_134359paintings.  In part they tell a story about the West that Was and in part just for whimsy.

Commerce  For a town with only TWO businesses, it sure is a busy place!!! The  Masonville Mercantile  is an incredible little year round Emporium that serves many markets- everything from unique gifts to the wedding and historical re-enactment markets. Their milliner even

derby hats

photo by M. Vendegna

makes award winning hats for the ladies at the Kentucky Derby.  The Nostalgic West Leather Shop is a ‘go to’ shopping hot spot for all things leather. Dusters, cowboy hats, quality bike leathers (we have some from there!) gloves, gifts and accessories.

 

Cuisine – While there are no traditional food places to eat at in Masonville,  each year there are a number of events from farmers markets to BBQ’s that draw huge crowds. – A great way to meet new people and enjoy the beauty of the area. (and there’s always the snacks at the Mercantile!)

People – Many of the local residents of the Masonville area have roots that run very deep.  Members of the Milnor family has been in the area since the late 1800s. bikes masonville

Each year tourists from all over the world visit Masonville too. I have met people from England, Scotland and Australia while hanging out in Masonville!

Architecture – The Mercantile and the Hotel (now privately owned) were originally built closer to Buckhorn creek, but later moved to where they currently are. The store has been added onto over the years. But the authenticity of the wild west remains. Across from the store, is a small outdoor chapel and ‘wild west town’. Much of it was built with reclaimed lumber from original buildings to the area.   Read here for some history on the Masonville store.  Down the street, the old school is still there and has been turned into a private residence, as has the hotel.

History- Named for James R Mason, Masonville itself  was originally platted in the 1890’s, masonville-school3though there were already families living in the area at that time.  The Kitchens, Milner’s and Sheldon’s to name but a few. – The local history is rich with stories of cattle rustlers and mountain men, pioneers and tourists.  And the life story of Cal Carter, Masonville’s last goldcal-carter-mine1 miner is quite extraordinary.

Customs- Where to start?? Many years ago the mercantile hosted the Masonville Mercantile Ball at the holidays.  I am not sure if they still do, as we have been gone from the area a few years now and I have only been back in the summers.

But I do know that Masonville plays host to a number of Steam Punk, Wedding, SASS, bike runs, Sunday-go-to-meeting, BBQs, Farmers markets and more.

These are a continuance of the customs from olden days when people congregated at the local store for fellowship, to hear the news and get entertainment.

Stay tuned for more Kate’s 8 towns!

~Katy~

Katy is a speaker for  rural and small communities and small business as well as a columnist for AgWeek.   www.taitandkate.com for more information

 

The heartbeat of a community

 

historic-downtonw-lincoln-magnifying-glass_0I just came back from a whirlwind trip through parts of California. Most of my jaunts out there are like that.(I grew up there)  Have to squeeze them in between calves and crops, you know!

While I was there I treated myself to a morning stop in Lincoln. This gem is +/- about 30 miles North East of Sacramento on Hwy 65.

“Downtown is the heartbeat of a community”

At the turn of the 1900’s Lincoln was a “boom town”.  I would imagine it began it’s decline in the 1970’s or so.  Back in the 80’s I bought my horse hay at

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I used to buy hay in this beautifully revamped building!

the feed store on the corner and the standing joke was that Lincoln had to “borrow” its Saturday night police from Marysville.

Over the years Lincoln has grown. And grown. And Grown.  OUTSIDE of the city border. Downtown became sadly neglected. Building were run down. Store fronts empty.

About a dozen years ago the good people of Lincoln- many of them “old timers” came together to revitalize the old section.  Building were revamped, they enticed people to come and see the possibilities and did some creative wheeling and dealing to get the storefronts filled.  Here’s a great video on it:

Several years ago a friend of mine asked if I had been to Lincoln lately, and I said Not in years, nuthin’ there!  So she cheerfully informed that there was indeed plenty there.

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Everything from food and antiques to a fab quilt shop. -All things to pique my interest.

I found much to like and did some shopping 🙂 much to hubby chagrin.

Fast forward another few years. This trip I had time to spend the entire morning and early afternoon.  So, my morning was spentimg_7938 having coffee with my son at a sidewalk café and walking all over Old Town. We had a wonderful time exploring and visiting with shop owners! Everybody was so friendly and helpful. Our only bummer was that we were there before the museum opened, and by the time it was, we were already around the corner at Kim’s Café having late ‘brunch’ (an outstanding café with heaping plates of down home cookin’.)with other family in the area.

Lincoln boasts a number of eateries, antique stores, boutiques, thrift shops, wineries, brewpubs, gardening/gift shops and more.  It is quite the bustling area, offering something for everybody.  Even my son was practically giddy when he found a shop that interested him.

Nearly every single store has outdoor seating and all have wonderful signage designed to attract attention. Several of the buildings have beautiful murals on them. Even the lone ‘box’ store is in keeping with the Old Town vibe.

~ The seating is amazing. Just by sitting down outside the coffee shop, people TALKED as they went by! And when People talk, Community happens.~

img_7935“Honoring the past while embracing the future”

Lincoln also hosts many events to draw people and have a good times- Everything from antique car shows to food truck extravaganzas and in between.

When you’re not busy eating, visiting or shopping in one of the great shops, take a little time and drive around the ‘heart’ of Lincoln and its neighborhoods.  The architecture in amazing.

A stop in at the Lincoln Area Chamber was on my way around town and I had a wonderful visit with Tom Cosgrove, Chamber director. We had a few minutes to chat about the creativity involved with attracting businesses back to Downtown, and how rosy the future looks.

Rebuilding Lincoln wasn’t (and still isn’t) all sunshine and rainbows. It took loads of grit, outside the box creative thinking, vision , dreams, browbeating and hope.

Success feeds on success. Each small step lead to the next one and each one was progressively better and bigger. The energy in this beautiful town is incredible.

I will definitely be back again. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Art, Architecture, Geography, Commerce, People, History, Customs and Cuisine– Yep! Covered ALL of “Kate’s 8” items that all communities begin with.

~Katy~

Katy is part of Tait&Kate– rural and small community speaker and advocate. TaitandKate can help your community fill your empty store fronts with outside the box strategies and build community from the inside out.  

Want to book us for your next meeting or conference? email us at  info@taitandkate.com

 

Welcome to town….. Now GO HOME!

Welcome to our town … NOW GO HOME?

Ever felt this way when visiting or thinking about relocating to a new rural community???

no outs“You’re not the first, nor will you be the last…

Small towns are not all sunshine and rainbows ~  there is a darker side.

Don’t get me wrong…. We WANT to LOVE the town we chose to live in or near.  We WANT to be a PART of the community. We WANT to grow old here and feel welcome. But really – how do you think we feel when we hear:

“We don’t need your kind of help!”

What kind, exactly, would that be? Can you be more specific than just a general shunning?

It takes people who are thinking of the future of their community and the impacts on its current residents as a whole, to embrace and welcome with open arms the “new” people.

“We” don’t expect you to become our BFFs or to involve us in every aspect of your life. But a simple “hello” at the gas station or a “How ya doing?” or “Can you help?” once in a while goes a long way to help new people become part of the community. Blatant silence when you’re standing 3 feet from us is poor manners, no matter where you live.

And I have lived all over the United States — much of it in smaller communities or very rural areas.  Many have been very welcoming of “outsiders,” some not so much.

I was recently in a sparsely populated town that desperately needs any new people it can get.  I was chatting with the economic development person – ED for short — and she relayed this story:

ED: “Did you deliver that WELCOME basket to XYZ family yet?”

Welcoming committee: “WHY should we?? They’re not going to stay anyway.”

Holy smokes! What??? Really???? 

This community was in the national news for its “unwelcome-ness” (read about it here: http://bismarcktribune.com/news/opinion/mailbag/small-towns-are-not-welcoming/article ; more links to this story at the bottom of the page).

I know this community. It directly mirrors my experience in the central part of the state.

Love us or hates us… play nice. Our kids are in the schools and we shop and eat here! WeFF2085-D-2 pay taxes that help keep social services in place – important services like ambulance and fire. We volunteer – at least we try to, when allowed — for events and clubs. We belong to the churches.  And when something bad happens, we are here for you.

Even so, would you believe several upstanding long-time residents have asked me:

If “hubb’s” passed away, you’d sell everything and move, right?”

Welcome to our town … NOW GO HOME. Ugh!

Another well-intentioned but unproductive statement came from the ED of a town in the center of the state:

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this is the message ‘outsiders’ get loud and clear.

We will never allow another business that competes in any way with XYZ — they are our biggest tax base. ”

 

I have seen it time and again, and it’s not easy for us either. Many of us offer to “divorce” or force the “local” to move away again. We withhold our monies from the community, quit volunteering, close businesses, or choose to not start them at all. Our attitudes and frustrations transfer to our children, making them less engaged in the town and far less likely to ever return. That’s a loss not just for us personally, but also for the community at large.

Many people who relocate or return to small towns come because they have some sort of ties. Others come looking for a quieter lifestyle or a new start.

Whatever the reason — remember that YOUR” town was NOT settled only by people who exclusively knew each other. Its original settlers tried to make it welcoming and accepting, and to help it grow and prosper.

We need to keep that pioneer spirit alive – for our own good and for the good of our communities.

~Katy~

Additional links: http://bismarcktribune.com/news/columnists/julie-fedorchak/how-welcoming-are-we/article_4f27a470-20b9-11df-ae85-001cc4c03286.html

http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/florida-family-gives-up-on-small-town-north-dakota/article_cc28bcda-1a87-11df-8d88-001cc4c03286.html

Katy is a writer and speaker with Tait & Kate ( http://www.taitandkate.com ) –   She believes in the good, and knows the bad and the ugly of small and rural community living and business and feels it’s important to share ALL the stories.  Tait & Kate will bring affordable solutions, fresh ideas, enthusiasm and a smidge of irreverent humor to your town or business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

K-8, K-eight, Kate, Kate the Great

Okay- it’s really more like the Kansas Sampler, but that doesn’t have the same ring as ‘Kate the Great’ does it?  logo

  “Kate’s 8” will actually  be a regular feature on the towns I visit and what I see as their “8”

According to the Kansas Sampler Foundation, there are eight things every community has. No matter their size, large or small, they can all drum up their eight with a little creativity.

Once you identify your eight, begin building on them and see how many ways you get people to come to your town!

The eight are:

Art, Architecture, Geography, Commerce, People, History, Customs & Cuisine

IMG_7363How do YOU define each in your community??  Is your Art murals? Is it sculpture? Is it the garden layed out in the design of the Queen of England? -Use your imagination

Even if it’s only the Avon lady… it’s still commerce! And it counts. It’s a start. And obviously somebody believes.

What is your history? Do you have a museum? The only stone jail in the state? When was your community settled? A long tradition of ‘old school’ music?   100_0219Find your own version of history and use it.

Cuisine is everything from Sunday church picnics to that fabulous smoked ham the neighbor makes. Maybe someone makes the best pies this side of the Mississippi. Maybe you have the BBQ joint.

People are everyone. You have people. That’s a start!   Tell stories about them. Celebrate376935_3912363420016_771502863_n them!

Customs can be anything from the yearly Church Social to the community Christmas Tree. It can be past customs. (that way it can also double up as history) Did your town used to have something? Do you celebrate Ukrainian Easter or other ethnic holidays? What do you have?

Architecture– I love architecture. All Kinds! Old buildings (especially with vintage or art deco designs or signs… Oh, hey! That’s also Art!! Bonus!) , 2014-05-18 11.20.40new buildings, churches, schools, barns, out houses etc… What do YOU have?

IMG_6944Geography is  everything from the sweeping vistas of the prairies to the woodlands and in between.  Every place has geography. Rivers, lakes, mountains and so on.

So, go on! Be creative. Involve everyone. Ask around. You’ll be amazed at how differently each person views ‘the eight’

“Kate’s 8”  will be ongoing features of the “K-8” that I find in the towns I visit.

What’s in your town?

~Katy~

Need a speaker? Call us! We give talks on rural and small communities and business and how they can grow using just what is at hand as well as showcasing fabulous ideas that other towns have embraced and turned into huge wins.  www.taitandkate.com  We can also show you ways to get the C.A.V.E (citizens against virtually everything) people on board too.

 

 

 

Remember that barn down the road???

Remember that post about the barn down the road from us? ( https://katescountryliving.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/the-end-of-an-era-a-praire-barn/ )

I said I would drum up some before pictures and  have…

2013winterbarnI have to thank Lexi, the owners daughter. She shared them with me.

 

 

From barn dances to boyfriends,IMG_1379

 

And weddings and wakes, these silent sentinels have seen it all.

 

 

 

 

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Sunrise to sunset, always a hub of activity.

 

 

 

Memories in every corner.

 

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I am lucky to be able to share these, and they will be added to a coffee table book I am making for the family.

While the barn may be gone, the memories remain and the tales will be told.

 

~Katy~

 

The end of an era – A Prairie Barn

         “Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one”-  Sam Rayburn

In this case, that carpenter was Gottilieb Hochalter .  His grandson Paul now owns this property. Which, luckily for me, is less that a mile away and in plain sight from our farm.

DSCN5973I have photographed this barn many, many times over the years. It has been in countless backdrops of prairie vistas from our place. The only shots I don’t have are close ups before it was taken down. – (something I plan on remedying soon with some help of the owner.)

This barn has seen hands lovingly hand cut each board and set them into place. It has seen countless barn dances and dairy cows, rope swings and hide-n-seek in

tornado,cafe,places,farm,bottlecalves 159

View from my porch. Tornado behind the barn

the hay mow, tornados and blizzards and stunning sunrises, it has provided refuge from hectic days as well as been the scene of many hectic days too.  It has witnessed love and heartaches of the family. It has seen droughts and bad years, and been full to overflowing during the good years.

 

This barn has been the silent sentinel on the prairie.

I miss it everyday when I look out towards the East.

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The weathered boards tell their own story.

DSCN5984The skeleton of this majestic building sparks the imagination.

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Yep- That’s our place in the background

 

20140523_182844The view from the second floor was pretty amazing. 20140603_171416

And the odds and ends that came off the barn really speak about it’s life.

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I look towards the East every morning. Sunrise is my favorite time of day. The fog is coming up the hollows, the sun peeking over the horizon, turning the distant tree tops into lace against the coloring sky. ~ all that’s missing is my barn.

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~Katy~

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