The Legends of Lump Gulch Live On

By Mason, Marilynne S. | The Christian Science Monitor, August 18, 1993 | Go to article overview

The Legends of Lump Gulch Live On


Mason, Marilynne S., The Christian Science Monitor


LUMP Gulch lies between Rollinsville, Colo., and a brash old mining boom town called Central City, an hour and a half outside of Denver, 9,000 feet up in the Rocky Mountains. A broad, open space, Lump Gulch is dotted with old cabins and newer houses, lodge-pole pines and lush aspen trees that turn a fantastic canary yellow every autumn. Ute Indians passed though the area on the way to their chipping grounds to make arrowheads every summer. The path they made is still there. Like so many mountain landscapes in the Rockies, Lump Gulch is incredibly beautiful, quiet, and clear. The air is thin and cold most of the year.

A small community evolved as folks moved in and out after 1859, when gold (and rumors of gold) again and again brought groups of immigrants and American settlers. Some 300 or 400 people still live there, though the town is only three miles long and about a mile wide.

Jane Wodening, a mountain woman who has built her life in the still-wild environs near Lump Gulch, and who raised five children right in it, wanted to uncover the spirit of the place and its denizens. It occurred to Wodening 12 years ago that the old-timers who lived there had stories to tell. As a resident herself, she knew how interesting, and sometimes eccentric, the lives of early inhabitants were, and she began gathering all the anecdotes she could.

She compiled the stories of this much-loved place in a small book called "Lump Gulch Tales." Ms. Wodening has devoted herself to keeping the spirit of these tales alive, like a good folklorist or an anthropologist - with perhaps less of the scientist's detachment and more of the storyteller's affection for her subject. …

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