Katherine Craig Park, like many public lands, contains a multitude of histories and influences. Today, under the management of Denver Mountain Parks (DMP), it serves as a training ground for HistoriCorps and other DMP partners including youth conservation corps and youth development organizations. Almost a century ago, it served a similar purpose as a home for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Then, the CCC served as a poverty alleviation program. Today, corps (meaning “a group of people working toward a shared purpose”) do critical work in environmental conservation, poverty alleviation, disaster mitigation and response, workforce development, and of course, historic preservation. Learn more here. Given the park’s critical importance in education and training, it is fitting that it be named after Katherine Craig, a one-time Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Colorado. Like many youth corps today, the breadth of Katherine’s impact was profound. According to the Colorado Virtual Library:
“As Superintendent, Katherine Craig had been known as a skilled and thoughtful educator with an “excellent executive ability,” according to a biography that appeared in the General Assembly’s 1915 souvenir book. She served as Vice President of the National Education Association (NEA); worked for the Colorado Woman’s College; and was involved in many service clubs. She was even discussed as a possible candidate for Denver mayor in 1910. Craig was also a talented and prolific writer. In her role as Superintendent of Public Instruction she wrote many textbooks for the students and teachers of Colorado’s public schools, including holiday books for Arbor Day and Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays; American Citizenship;Animal Studies for Colorado Schools; Craig’s Brief History of Colorado for Teachers and Students; and Craig’s Primary Geography. She also issued the state’s Course of Study books and penned several guidebooks for educators, such as How to Improve Rural Schools and Teachers’ Character Building. Her writing wasn’t just limited to education books, though – in 1902, before becoming involved in politics, she published a romance novel, Judge Greyburn and Kathlene Lee.“
HistoriCorps is thrilled to work at this historically significant location in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. We will focus our work on the garage, which at one point also served as an automobile servicing station.
Katherine Craig Park is part of a vast network of beautiful, and sometimes hidden, mountain parks spread throughout a three-county area in Colorado. The mountain park system has been in place for more than a century, and encompasses 14,000 acres; 22 parks open to the public; and 24 conservation areas. DMP shares that these features make the city’s “’backyard’” park system one of the most unique and expansive in the country…. these parks offer hiking, fishing, golfing, picnicking and other outdoor adventures, including historic cultural institutions such as the Mt. Morrison Civilian Conservation Corps Camp [where HistoriCorps is headquartered], Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, and world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Denver Mountain Parks also provide unique wildlife viewing opportunities and are home to two conservation bison herds.”
Learn more about the history of this unique, internationally-recognized park system here, and be sure to visit a few parks while you’re in the area!
(And by the the way, if you read Katherine Craig’s romance novel, please send us your review!)