Monte Vista, Colorado

Who We Are

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Chapter History

Monte Vista Chapter takes its name from the city which is located near the center of the historic San Luis Valley. The name, figuratively “Vision of the Mountains,” comes from the unobstructed vista of the sweeping San Juan range which forms the Continental Divide, and the Sangre de Cristo mountains which were named by the Conquistadores. It was Spanish territory, then belonged to Mexico, then ceded to the United States after the War with Mexico, and is replete with little-known Spanish, Mexican, and pioneer history and folklore.

The chapter was organized October 23, 1914, by Gertrude Robinson, organizing regent. The charter was presented by Mrs. Winfield Scott Tarbell, State Regent. Charter members were: Gertrude Robinson, Mary Isabel Bushinger, Sara Timmons Brady, Lois Pearl Burgett, Clella Merchant, Faye Gooding, Adeline Anderson, Lulu Akers, Mary Bushinger, Olive R. Gibbs, Marjorie Gilbreath, Clara Holt, Mary E. Rice, Ella Louise Smith, Susan Webster, and Elizabeth Sylvester.

Zebulon Pike came here in 1807 to search for the Red River and the boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase. After unbelievable hardships, he and his men came over the Sangre de Cristo range, skirted the Great Sand Dunes, and passed at the foot of his “Great White Mountain” (Mount Blanca) and reached the banks of the Rio Grande River. He built a stockade with a moat and flew the stars and stripes above it. Monte Vista Chapter NSDAR erected a temporary marker on the site of the Pike Stockade on August 30, 1921, and helped gain the legislation which has made it Pikes Memorial Park. The State Historical Society rebuilt the stockade to continue preservation of the historically significant structure. At the time of the dedication of the first marker, a copy of Pikes Journal was presented to the chapter by Luther Norland. He had acquired it from the estate of former Governor McIntyre of Colorado, upon whose land the site of the stockade was located. This is the 1889 copy of the London edition of 1811. Luther Norland and D.E. Newcomb, Sr., of La Jara, had succeeded in obtaining military recognition of the site in 1910, and getting the state to preserve the remains of the logs from destruction by floods. Additional land was later bought for the park through the efforts of Senator John S. Shaforth and W. A. Braiden.