A Lifelong Love of History
“I enjoy reading and learning about the people who came here before me. What did they do when they were here? What kind of a footprint did they leave?”
President of Historic Littleton, Inc.
Charlie grew up in Florida, cultivating his passion for the past with a minor in history at the University of Miami. He joined the Air Force after college and was stationed at Ent Air Force Base in Colorado Springs working as a civil engineer.
Charlie spent his off-duty hours exploring nearby ghost towns such as Caribou, Bonanza, and Waldorf, photographing the derelict structures of the deserted towns.
“I remember going through one of the empty buildings one time,” said Charlie, “and I found newspapers used in the walls to keep the heat in and the wind out. Newspapers you could read.” Dated around 1918, the articles and stories functioned as invaluable cultural snapshots of the once flourishing gold towns—history literally written on the walls.
“I would read books about the ghost towns, and they would recount the days when the towns were thriving, and then the events that made them just disappear. People left the towns as they were and went on to do something else.”
While at Ent AFB, Charlie managed a new housing project at Peterson Field, fostering his love for history by naming each street after the nearby ghost towns. “We put little headstones on the streets tell what the name for it was."
Charlie moved to Littleton in 1968 and was a Littleton Museum board member for ten years, starting in 1990. He also served on the Historic Preservation Board from 2000 to 2003. Charlie joined Historic Littleton, Inc. (HLI) in 2003 and became the president of HLI four years ago.
His enthusiasm for history comes from an unwavering curiosity to uncover the untold stories of the past. “I enjoy reading and learning about the people who came here before me, the places they ended up at. What did they do when they were here? What kind of a mark did they leave? What kind of a footprint did they leave?”
As the president of HLI, Charlie has helped organize exciting events such as a historic tour of Douglas County, exploring the sites of early pioneers. Charlie also helped bring in a member of the 10th Mountain Division to share his experiences of training at Camp Hale near Leadville, Colorado during World War II.
Charlie is looking forward to the next Historic Littleton event, the Second Annual Scavenger Hunt on September 21. “Last year, several of us took on the role of early Littleton Pioneers. We talked to people on the sidewalk about the very beginnings of Littleton.”
Charlie played the role of Joseph W. Bowles, a prosperous businessman who settled in Littleton in 1862 and became one of the first directors of Littleton's Cemetery Association. When asked if he would reprise the role this year, Charlie replied, “Don’t know if I will or not. I might try to be Richard Little.”
Board of Directors
Gail Keeley - President
Liz Eaton - Vice President
Barbara Eaton - Membership
Sonya Ellingboe - Secretary
Ron Richards - Treasurer
Designed by: Mike Yost and No Pickles