Latest News – May 25

Memorial Benches: Remembering  Loved Ones

Once summer arrives and the weather warms up, you’ll see more people enjoying them. They’ll be taking in the views of those majestic mountains or this beautiful Victorian mining town. Or perhaps, the 10,200 feet in elevation is taking their breath away, and they simply need a place to sit and take a load off. But many visitors – and locals – may be unaware of the loving significance of the Memorial Benches that scattered this high country community.

Many people enjoy reading on the butterfly bench in front of the Lake County Public Library. It was purchased in memory of Karen Lundell, who was a dedicated board member and "Friend of the Library" for many years.

Many people enjoy reading on the butterfly bench in front of the Lake County Public Library. It was purchased in memory of Karen Lundell, who was a dedicated board member and “Friend of the Library” for many years.

 When most Americans think about commemorating the true meaning of Memorial Day, it’s the services and parades honoring military troops that come to mind. And Lake County will certainly mark the day in that way  –  to find out more CLICK HERE.

But Leadville and Lake County, also has its share of Memorial Benches scattered throughout the community, in both public and private locations.  Many people choose to buy a Memorial Bench to honor the memory of a lost relative, friend, or fallen soldier.

This bench was placed in memory of “Miss Vonnie” Flores, who was a teacher at Pitt Elementary for nearly 30 years. Beloved by hundreds of Leadville school children who had the privilege of being taught by Miss Vonnie until her murder in 2010, the bench is inscribed with her memorable saying: “Two, Four Six, Eight, Meet Me at the Garden Gate.” There is also an annual Walk/Run held in her honor every August.

This bench was placed in memory of “Miss Vonnie” Flores, who was a teacher at Pitt Elementary for nearly 30 years. Beloved by hundreds of Leadville school children who had the privilege of being taught by Miss Vonnie until her murder in 2010, the bench is inscribed with her memorable saying: “Two, Four Six, Eight, Meet Me at the Garden Gate.” There is also an annual Walk/Run held in her honor every August.

These benches are beautiful resting places, providing sanctuary to people mourning or celebrating the memory of friends, family and loved ones. Whether intended to complement community parks or walkways or to honor a loved ones enthusiasm for the great outdoors, these seats offer a contemplative environment, reflecting on a memory or a beautiful mountain view.

This bench sits in front of the Manhattan Bar on the corner of 7th & Harrison in downtown Leadville. “Monster,” as he was affectionately known, was Mike Duarte, a beloved son, brother and friend to many.

This bench sits in front of the Manhattan Bar on the corner of 7th & Harrison in downtown Leadville. “Monster,” as he was affectionately known, was Mike Duarte, a beloved son, brother and friend to many.

Representing an excellent alternative to more traditional memorials or monuments, Memorial Benches preserve the story of loved ones and have becomes an increasingly popular way to remember and pay tribute to loved ones. Leadville has more than its share of these monuments. And there seems to be no rhyme or reason, no official Memorial Bench program, which makes them all the more special.  

Here are some local favorites. And please join the conversation over on the Leadville Today Facebook page where you can share your favorite of these Memorial Benches or others that may not be included here.

This granite bench sit up in the east yard at the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum, which also used to be the old Leadville high school. The inscription says the Class of 1964 dedicated the bench and a tree to the City of Leadville. It has a beautiful vantage point of the mountains, but one has to wonder if the original tree may not have survived, as some say it should be much bigger than this by now.

This granite bench sits up in the east yard at the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum, which also used to be the old Leadville high school. The inscription says the Class of 1964 dedicated the bench and a tree to the City of Leadville. It has a beautiful vantage point of the mountains, but one has to wonder if the original tree may not have survived, as some say it should be much bigger than this by now. 

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There are a couple of wooden Memorial benches out at the Leadville National Fish Hatchery. This one is dedicated to Randy Joe Snider, A lover of mountain s, forests and fish, dedicated by family and friends.

There are a couple of wooden Memorial Benches out at the Leadville National Fish Hatchery. This one is dedicated to Randy Joe Snider, A lover of mountains, forests and fish, dedicated by family and friends.

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This beautiful wooden swing sits at Evergreen Lakes in tribute to Ralph and Dorothy Cole,  the parents of Mark, and wife Judy, who head up the Friends of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery, providing conservation efforts for the popular recreation and education spot.

This beautiful wooden swing sits at Evergreen Lakes in tribute to Ralph and Dorothy Cole, the parents of Mark, and wife Judy, who head up the Friends of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery, providing conservation efforts for the popular attraction.

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Any guesses as to where these benches sit, now etched with the initials of hundreds of locals and visitors?

Any guesses as to where these benches sit, now etched with the initials of hundreds of locals and visitors? And the view isn’t bad either!

 

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