Saturday, October 15, 2016


Sentinel Rock, Perry Park, Douglas
County, Colorado. Photo: Peter Faris,
September 19, 2016.

Every once in a while on RockArtBlog I like to throw in some information on historical inscriptions to present material of interest to historians and genealogists. I first became interested in historical inscriptions a number of years ago when I was asked to give a rock art presentation to a genealogical society, and going through my rock art slides I found that I had inscriptions among the rock art pictures that really had a fascinating back story.

On September 19, 2016, I was guided by my friend Garry to Inscription Cave, in Perry Park, near Larkspur in Douglas County, Colorado. Garry is a very knowledgeable local historian, and the president of a local historical society, who generously gave of his time and knowledge to show me this interesting site.

Inscription Cave, Perry Park, Douglas
County, Colorado. Photo: Peter Faris,
September 19, 2016.

Inscription cave is near the base of Sentinel Rock which is a local landmark. "In the late 1800s, the cave was used as a stopping place for stagecoaches by people going to Larkspur, where they linked up with the railroad that connected them with Denver and Colorado Springs. The rock was a good stopping place because at its base is the cave, which travelers used as a refuge from rain and snow when needed. While they waited for the stagecoach, some of them carved their initials, names, and/or dates into the soft rock of this cave." (O'Hara 2015)

Carrie Curtis, 1871, Inscription Cave,
Perry Park, Douglas County, Colorado.
Photo: Peter Faris, Sept. 19, 2016.

To me this is precisely the fascination that such inscriptions possess. They are a direct link to the history and people of an area. "The history of Perry Park goes back to the earliest days of settlement in Colorado. - The Hayden Survey of 1869 called the region Pleasant Park. John Perry, president of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, discovered the area while searching for railroad routes; by the early 1870s he owned 4000 acres here. Later owners decided to make "Perry Park" a tourist haven. A hotel was built in 1889 at the foot of 300-foot-high Nanichant Rock, and the house that later became the site of the golf course headquarters (Manor House) was built in 1891." (O'Hara 2015)

San Francisco, 1871, Inscription Cave,
Perry Park, Douglas County, Colorado.
Photo: Peter Faris, Sept. 19, 2016.

Examining the names and dates of Inscription Cave (almost all of the inscriptions are actually outside the cave on the cliff face) gives one insight into family names that have been important in the area as well as the comings and goings of visitors. The earliest dates that I saw were Carrie Curtis, 1871, and another that says San Francisco, 1871. The Curtis family were one of the pioneering families in Douglas County Colorado. An inscription that reads H. H. Curtis, 1876, records the visit of the patriarch of the Curtis clan, and other Curtis's that are represented on the rock over different dates are Bess, Fern, and H. B. Of course, many other names are recorded as well, from 1871 up to Carrie and Jerry, 1961. A Smith family is represented by H. J. Smith, 7-4-81, and W. H. Smith, Boston, 09, perhaps records a visit by a family member from Massachusetts.

H. H. Curtis, 1876, and H. J. Smith, 7-4-81. Inscription Cave, Perry Park, Douglas
County, Colorado. Photo: Peter Faris,
Sept. 19, 2016.

There is nothing like these little pieces of local history to give one a feeling of being grounded in place and time. Thank you Garry for your time and effort. I enjoyed it greatly.

NOTE: The designation Inscription Cave is our own and is not an official name for this feature.


O'Hara, Garry
2015   Sentinel Rock, self-published.

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