Dutch Henry: an “I” or a “Y?”
Spelling, History Uncovered in Leadville
“I am ashamed to tell it,” he said, “but that is mine.”
The year was 1884 and Leadville was busting at the seams. If it seems a bit overstuffed in Leadville Today, just add another 10,000 people to the mix. At this point in The Cloud City’s history, the transportation of precious minerals from the eastside mining district to in-town smelting operations and on to railcars carrying those million-dollar assets down to the big-city financial markets was key.
Back in the 1880s, if you had an ore wagon with working wheels you could make a bit of money in The Cloud City. And it didn’t matter the condition of that mode of transportation. Think of it as some of those museum-worthy, old-school backhoes and dump trucks that have recently been pulled from the fields during Lake County’s present-day earth-moving phase. Putting those old workhorses to task!
But hauling ore was the kind of hard rock work that would bust apart even the sturdiest of wooden carriers, including one owned by one Dutch Henry. That’s right, it’s Henry with a “y.” This scene opens on the corner of 4th and Harrison, where the present-day Scarlet Bar resides. The year is 1884. It’s springtime and according to data provided by Leadville historian Howard Tritz, “the mine roads are drying up rapidly, and there is not an idle, sound ore wagon in the city. Teams are so in demand that even the oldest, almost worn-out wagons are being used.”
Dutch Henry was standing at the corner of Fourth and Harrison looking at a fragile wagon heavily loaded with ore. The wagon squeaked and wriggled as if it had been to Marseilles and caught the plague. “I am ashamed to tell it,” said Henry, “but that is mine.”
Henry was a teamster, driving burro-led wagon teams up and down the hills and mountains surrounding Leadville during the Boom Days of the 1880s. These present-day truck drivers were considered the backbone of the robust mining economy but that doesn’t mean they were always treated fairly by greedy mine owners. Henry was one of the teamsters who helped organize the drivers for collective bargaining, especially when it came to safety and wages. He was well-known among his peers, leading to the nickname Dutch Henry; his first name coming in second to his heritage.
Amber Magee, Director of Lake County Recreation picks up the story from here.
Can I Buy A Vowel?
“As far back as I can find, the hill has been spelled two ways Henri and Henry,” explains Magee in response to a recent media inquiry regarding the spelling of the local sledding and tubing hill which bears the name, Dutch Henry Hill. “They seem to have been used interchangeably depending on the person using them.”
Magee also shared that research conducted by a Colorado Mountain College staff person, “about 8 years ago,” revealed a headstone, identifying the man as one Henry Dietrich; his name was listed in the obituary with a “Y.”
“Out of respect, and in lieu of being able to find any official naming records for the facility we started spelling the name of the facility as Dutch Henry and have tried to keep that consistent,” concluded Magee.
Yes, they are one in the same man. And while for some, present-day sensitivities might prohibit such identification to one’s bloodline, Henry Dietrich’s family was Dutch, and thus he fondly took on the nickname Dutch Henry among his family and friends. The surname hailing from a region bearing the same name, stemming from a West Germanic ethnic group and nation native to the Netherlands. The name clearly stuck as evidenced by certain legal documents like the deed from when the Dutch Henry Sled Hill facility was given to Lake County by the Cloud City Ski Club in 2004.
Y? Because We Love Leadville
It’s good to know that leadership in Leadville Today takes the necessary measures to protect and explain the historic names, how they are spelled, and for what reasons. Therefore it’s worth noting that the new Harrison Avenue signs went through a similar vetting process when it came to fact-checking, particularly with the old “Y” or “I” debate when it came to the sled-hill. Ultimately the city-driven directive deferred to the Recreation Department’s spelling, as confirmed by City Administrator Sarah Dallas: “The maps on the signs have it spelled Dutch Henry, which is consistent with what is currently advertised on the following websites,” deferring to the county recreation website. Looks like everyone did their homework on this one! Good to know, and now you do as well.
It’s important to know your history if you live in Leadville Today! Y? Just ask Dutch Henry!
© Leadville Today.
Youth Skiing Ends Alpine Season
Speaking of Dutch Henry Hill, it’s where many Leadville youth were able to get their turns in on the slopes after COVID-19 health department restrictions turned the training and race season upside-down for skiers. Luckily these dedicated student-athletes, along with their coaches and parents came together and made the best of the 2020-21 season. Here’s the final report, as submitted by Coach Danielle Ryan.
Cloud City Mountain Sports (CCMS), formerly Cloud City Ski Team, supports both Nordic and Alpine programs in Leadville with youth from Leadville, Salida and BV. On the Alpine side, the club supports school skiing but also has several other programs. The Devo program is for athletes who already know how to ski and are ready to train every Saturday, develop their fundamentals and start being introduced to racing.
The Youth Ski League program (YSL) is for young athletes who want to develop as overall skiers and who are ready to start racing. This program develops fundamentals and gets athletes used to skiing fast in the gates. It prepares athletes for our school programs. Some athletes, who then participate in our school programs, also add on other forms of competition like racing at higher levels or competing in Big Mountain Skiing. Readers have been kept up to speed all year on the school racers, but as the season has finished, here are some highlights on what the rest of the groups have been up to.
The Devo team had an excellent showing in 2020-21. 26 young athletes participated in Devo between the three groups: the “Carving Critters”, the “Speedy Cheetahs”, and the “Tigers”. The excellent coaching staff of Barry Vande Zande, Sabrina Hurwitz, Luke Horning, Jimmy Dalpes, and Nancy Brown did a great job helping all the kids improve their skiing skills. The Devo athletes got to show off their skills at the four Cooper Cups, and each of them saw improvement in their times as the year went on. Many of the Devo team members will make the jump to competing in the YSL against opponents throughout Colorado next year.
This year CCMS YSL had 27 athletes. In addition to training in gates, the YSL athletes also spend a majority of the time training in various settings (moguls, groomers, trees etc). This approach develops a well-rounded skier that can ski the entire mountain. The skiers are encouraged to participate in the Cooper Cup races as well as travel to YSL races.
Due to Covid, this year the YSL races were limited to two. Ski Cooper hosted February 7th, and the team boasted six athletes with three-peat podium finishes. For the girls, Helen Fiedler swept all three races in 1st for the U10 age group, Chloe King 2nd and a pair of 1st place finish in U12, and for U14 Kasey Glaser, Rinnen Borton, and Stella Zettler swept the podium in all three races.
On the boys’ side, Owen King held the podium in 3rd and a pair of 2nd place finishes for U10. Wilson Anderson had a pair of 1st place finishes in U12. At the lone away race at Sunlight on March 21st, the team again came away with a number of podium finishes. For the U10s Evie Nooft, Hattie Mallozzi and Helen Fiedler all ended up on the podium throughout the day. Chloe King held it for the U12 age group and Kasey Glaser for the U14s. On the boys’ side, it was Hobbes Mallozzi’s turn to hold the podium for the U8 boys. In addition to the many impressive results, our athletes were able to apply the skills learned in training and gain several skills that will continue to serve them and fuel their passion for skiing on the Middle and High School teams.
For many Cloud City racers aging out of YSL marks the end of their club skiing competitions as they transition to the Middle and High School teams. Over the years very few racers have chosen to continue to compete at higher-level club races. This year Gwen Ramsey (U18) and Rowynn Slivka (U16), both from Salida, represented Cloud City at these higher-level races. These girls worked through an expedited schedule (due to COVID, many events that would normally be multi-day events were shortened to a single day), strong competitive fields of athletes that train most days of the week, and crashes and injuries to still put up impressive results. Veteran racer Gwen Ramsey came back from a shortened season last year due to COVID and a concussion to fight her way to the top third of the competitive field several times. Her highest finishes were in speed events including 17th in Downhill at Aspen, 6th in Super G at the Crested Butte Rocky Mountain Division (RMD) Championships, and 33rd at the SYNC Championships at Vail. Teammate Rowynn Slivka faced a lot of adversity and worked through several injuries, including severe leg bruising from a crash in the Aspen Downhill. Despite those challenges, Slivka continued to train and compete and achieved her best results at the Crested Butte RMD Championships with a 29th in Slalom and 9th place finish in Giant Slalom. These highly competitive races set both girls up for excellent results in leading the Panthers in the High School season.
The CCMS Big Mountain Program allows CCMS Alpine racers to also participate in Big Mountain Competitions through the International Freeski and Snowboard Association (IFSA). IFSA events or “comps” are held at the most challenging venues throughout Colorado and athletes are judged on their ability to choose challenging lines to ski well in those venues. This year CCMS athletes competed at Steamboat, Telluride, and Breckenridge. At Steamboat, both Matt Cairns and Max Fieldler crashed and Jake Cairns was able to finish in 5th in the highly technical terrain near the Christmas Tree Chutes. At Telluride Matt Cairns and Taylor Duel both secured top ten finishes in the extremely steep terrain in the Black Iron Bowl. Matt, Taylor and Jake all competed on an amazing powder day off Peak Six at Breck. Jake finished 13th, Taylor 11th, and Matt 10th (in their divisions). Matt and Jake qualified for Rocky Mountain championships (top 45 in the Rocky Mountain Region) at Breck where Matt finished 17th and Jake decided not to compete. The team had a great time and looks forward to competing again next year on the Rocky Mountain Freeride circuit.
Ski Cooper also hosted the IFSA Rocky Mountain region U12 championships on April 9th. This was a great event and brought huge crowds to Cooper to see young athletes. Asher Horning was the only CCMS athlete to jump in the mix to try his hand at a big mountain comp and did great in his debut skiing a clean line with sharp turns on the rock hard bumps. CCMS looks forward to hosting more big mountain events at Cooper in the future.
All in all it was a very challenging year with Covid, health protocols, and the challenges facing both resorts and athletes, but CCMS was able to support many athletes across our programs to have a successful winter of competing on skis and getting after it. CCMS is adding board members over the summer, adding programs and looking forward to continuing to support athletes and their development as humans and skiers during the upcoming season.
For more information contact Coach Danielle Ryan at email@example.com.