A Surprise Visitor

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots – Marcus Garvey

Yesterday started as just your typical sunny and beautiful Colorado day. I was doing a fieldwork double-stop to wrap up some drawings for our Metzger Farm and Braly Barn projects.

Metzger Farm, which sits just north of 120th Avenue between Lowell and Federal Blvd, was my first stop. As I started walking over to the site, via the remaining original driveway, I noticed a couple in front of me walking slowly with their elderly dog.

The husband turned right to get onto the walking path and said something to the effect of “catch you in a minute” as the woman kept walking straight towards the gate. I was only a few steps behind her and as I reached to unlock the gate, I said something to the effect of “hi there, how’s your day?”.

She informed me that she was the granddaughter of the Metzger family! I was so surprised and invited her to come walk around inside the fence with me to look at the buildings and talk about the project. Her husband and their dog walked back over to join us. They had come to take him on his final walk before heading to his vet appointment, which was very heartbreaking. But they told me that they brought him to the open space often and that it was one of his favorite places.

She pointed out where her grandmother had a huge rose garden and she was able to tell me exactly where the dinner bell once sat. We will be reinstalling it as part of the project and there was documentation of which side of the house it once sat, but she was able to point out the exact spot.

After a few minutes walking around, they continued on their walk on the open space trail, but knowing her grandparent’s home would be getting some much needed restoration seemed to brighten their day a little and it certainly brightened mine.

The Metzger family wanted the land to remain open space and the Broomfield-Westminster Open Space Foundation was formed to manage the property jointly between the two Cities. Looking past the open space on all sides and seeing new buildings definitely offers some levity to the importance of preserving historic views and contexts in addition to buildings. Knowing the surrounding fields with walking paths throughout will remain a public asset is uplifting as Colorado continues to change.

John Metzger purchased the 320 acre property in 1943, a year before marrying his wife Betty Amen Metzger. John had a multitude of interesting careers through his life. He was a successful lawyer, entrepreneur and politician. He operated a museum, owned a mine and during World War II, he worked in a munitions factory.

He started the farm to raise dairy cattle, but then began breeding registered Scotch Shorthorn cattle. John named it Loch-in-Vale Farm meaning “Lake in the Valley”. The lake, which sits on the south-side of the collection of farm buildings, was excavated when John worked with Colorado State University testing agricultural crops. The pond is stocked and each year the Foundation hosts a Kids’ Fishing Derby.

Our project includes an exterior restoration of the Metzger farmhouse and many of the out-buildings on-site. The Foundation hopes to have tours of the property and provide interpretation. We are excited to have made the connection with the Metzger’s granddaughter and will be keeping her informed about the project progress.

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