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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

J IS FOR JACKASS HILL ROAD

Welcome to Alpha-Be Thurday! I hope Mrs.Matlock won't wash my mouth out with soap for this one! But I have a great post for the letter J. It is Jackass Hill Road! It is located in Littleton, Colorado and there is a story behind it!

Prince Street which was terminated at Jackass Hill Road for years, was the first beast of burden honored by having a Littleton Street  named for him. Richard S.Little' s favorite horse, named Prince was thus recognized by the founder of the city in 1872. Then came 1917-18 when some enterprising man, thinking to corner the market on mules during World War I , tried to secure monopoly prices from the Army. The entrepreneur brought up American and Mexican mules by the score and prepared to make his fortune. But Germany surrendered on November 18, 1918, and the Army refused to buy.

The mule owner, so goes the legend, pastured his animals near the lane leading from Prince Street  west to Santa Fe. "The story I have always heard was the animals were left there to starve and the (hill and) road was named for them" said Mr. Lyman Ditson, who had lived near the Prince and Jackass Hill  corner for 36 years.

The Reverend Donald Cox was the pastor of  the Littleton Baptist Church which owned 16.7 acres  on the north side of Jackass and west of Prince. "When I told people I was going to build a church there, I got a lot of hee-haws", the minister said. "I reminded the jokers that the most important Prince of Peace rode into Jerusaleum on a jackass on Palm Sunday."

Another local resident,Mrs. T.L. Carson, has lived near Jackass Hill  since 1949, has heard no other explanation other then the one Mr. Ditson offered.

In 1984 when the Mineral underpass was completed, Jackass Hill Road was barricaded at the Rio Grande and Santa Fe railroad crossing, and Prince Street was extended south to Mineral. But on March 22, 1985 the Littleton City Council re-designated this portion of street as Jackass Hill Road., in order to preserve an important bit of the city's history.

The old and now isolated Jackass Hill Road  became a quiet place for young men to park with their girls and overlook the lovely  South Platte valley. Mischievous youths also came for the purpose of stealing the street signs ," Jackass Hill Road," for souvenirs.

In the summer of 1987, a group of Littleton city employees formed the Jackass Hill Ski Patrol to march in the Western Welcome Week grand parade. Sporting t-shirts with a cartoon jackass and the theme, "Catch the Spirit--Ski Jackass Hill" and carrying "Jackass Hill" street signs and ski poles and accompanied by a live jackass, they captured the hearts of the parade watchers and officials, winning the first place trophy.

Jackass Hill was rezoned for housing in 1993-94. In addition to approximately 100 homes on the site, a 17 acre open park is also located there.


Looking East on Jackass Hill 1957

 Google Map image



Bibliography:
Littleton Historial Musuem, Photographic Archives
Littleton Independent Publishers 1888-
Compiled by Pat Massengill

19 comments:

Vicki said...

GREAT post! I love true story ones and this is so interesting. I think Mrs Matlock will JUST have to let this one pass!

Pondside said...

I love to hear the story behind place names and street names. It's good that your city didn't give up that name just because it is a little out of the ordinary.

My name is PJ. said...

I enjoyed this, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I don't believe the young men and their ladies were parked up there to overlook the valley.... :)

Julie Schuler said...

That's fantastic! Thanks for the history.

Linda said...

Fun post! Love history and great stories!

Cat said...

Awesome post !

I'm glad the name is still the same..
Thanks for giving us a 'view'..

Viki said...

What an interesting part of history that I would have never known except for the J word. Thanks for sharing.

jeff campbell said...

Love this post:-) The photo does not show a hill...did I miss something? Thanks for your visit and nice comments about my Jiffy Jeff post...Peace

MrsJenB said...

Great story! I love hearing about old times and how things came to be the way they are today.

baukje said...

Interesting post.

Red Couch Recipes said...

I bet those street signs still don't last long there. Very fun historical post about a funny named street. Joni

laterg8r said...

cool history lesson :D

mbkatc230 said...

What an interesting post. I often wonder about odd or funny street or place names, and this is certainly an unusual piece of local history! Great post for J. Kathy

Jenny said...

What a great J post.

And of course it's acceptable because it's not like it was about Jack's A##!

See, I'm all about the flexibility!

PJ is really on a roll today.

Her comment cracked me up here, too!

Great J day post!

A+

Becky K. said...

Our local high school's mascots are mules. I could not believe it when we moved to this area. The locals don't seem to think much of it.

This is interesting history.
Thanks for sharing.

Becky K.
Hospitality Lane

Steph said...

What a great bit of fun community history (except the part about the way the mule owner treated the poor animals). I'd love to see a picture of the ski patrol.

Your blog looks lovely.

Catherine said...

What a fun J post ... glad I don't live on that hill, however ;) !

Amanda said...

Sixteen years I lived in Colorado, and never heard this story! Thanks for sharing a little history.

kellie.swanson said...

Ha! That's what lookout mountain is for!