Historic Timnath

On Saturday, July 13th, about 40 people (including several kids) met up at the Swetsville Zoo. There our tour of historic Timnath began. Bill Swets, who grew up on the farm there, took us on a tour of the property beginning with an 1860s cabin and ending with a 10-seater tandem bicycle. From there we headed over to old downtown Timnath where we toured the Presbyterian church, saw two historic school buildings, learned about several of the old buildings downtown, and finally got a tour of the inside of the old mill building. Afterwards several members of the party grabbed some food and beers in the Timnath Beerwerks.

A crowd of people stand around with two at center - a man wearing overalls and a cap and a woman in pioneer garb.

Ron Sladek introduced Bill Swets and Diane to the group. Bill grew up on the farm. His parents had been missionaries in Alaska, but as WWII got underway and they had a little one (Bill) they decided to move to safety in northern Colorado. Ironically, just a few years later the Japanese rigged up bombs to balloons and one made its way all the way across the western United States and landed in a field on the Swets Farm, south of where we were standing in this photo.

The front porch of a house peaks out from behind overgrown foliage.

Bill Swets grew up in this house. It was originally a homesteaders cabin, built by Thomas Cline in the 1860s along the Poudre river.

The deteriorating front porch of a house with paneling pulled away to reveal a cabin underneath.

The Swets family moved into the cabin, which had been covered with siding, and added on to the house over the years. (You can see the original cabin in this photo where the siding has been pulled away.) Bill said that there’s been a bee hive in the fireplace for as long as he can remember.

Two metal dinosaurs stand on hind legs overlooking Harmony avenue.

Bills first metal creation was the dinosaur to the right in this photo. These two used to overlook Harmony road, but the elevation of the road has since changed.

A quonset hut painted white has gold topped turrets on the far end.

When Colorado A&M was dismantling the Veterans Village housing on campus, Bill snapped up five of the quonset huts that had been used by G.I.s attending school. This is one of those quonsets. (Just before walking past the quonsets we saw the milking barn where Bill grew up milking four cows at a time with a machine. He said he doesn’t miss those days.)

Two metal dinosaurs pull a tank labeled "Ancient Oil Co."

History on the Swets Farm is both real and mythical.

A purple car-creature with red eyes sits inside a garage.

Though many of Bill Swets’ creations are out on view for all to see, there are some that are stored away that we were able to view, like this purple articulated car creature.

People stand around inside a garage looking at the back of a metal car-creature.

This is the back-side of the articulated purple car-creature.

White roadster.

This was another car in with the purple car-creature.

Close up of a Zimmer car.

Bill showed off his Zimmer car. We were all so impressed that he agreed to drive it out of the shed so we could get a better view.

A man in overalls and a woman in pioneer garb stand in front of a Zimmer car and two houses.

Bill and Diane posed in front of the Zimmer.

Several altered bicycles line a shed.

And last, but not least, is this 10-seater tandem bicycle created by Bill. There’s a great photo in the CSU archives of several professors trying out this bike by the pond on campus.

A covered wagon sits in a grassy clearing.

Then we headed over to the Presbyterian church in Timnath. It was the original pastor of this church that named the town after the town where Joshua settled in the Promised Land (Joshua 19:50).

A stone church covered in stucco and painted white, with a boxy steeple.

The brick church is now covered in stucco. One of the pastors in the 1970s created most of the stained glass windows.

Stained glass window of God's hand reaching down, a dove and lamb, and the Alpha and Omega.

The yellow in the upper corners was the glass that fit in the windows before the pastor remade them. He integrated several pieces of glass that had been in the church before or that he found in a shed out back.

A cross hangs on a white wall with a painting of a vine behind it.

After an explosion occurred on the street next to the church, a crack formed on the back wall of the sanctuary with some bricks exposed. A member of the congregation painted a vine along the crack. After the wall was repaired and repainted later, everyone wanted the vine to be redrawn (with painted bricks as well) to continue to remind them of God’s mercy to the congregation.

A brick building had a central entrance with three windows to either side and a tower for a bell at top (though the bell is missing).

This brick school was built in 1909.

This is the consolidated school which served kindergarten through 12th grade until it was outgrown, at which time it became Timnath’s elementary school. It was built in 1919.

This was the first bank in Timnath.

This building was Lund’s store, a grocery store. The post office was also located here.

The old mill is now a brewery. This is where our tour ended.

The Columbine Club of Timnath has an online walking tour of downtown. So if you didn’t get a chance to join us, but would like to see these buildings for yourself, check that out — http://www.timnathhistory.org/walkingtour.html.