The History of
Pearl Lake State Park,
Here at Pearl my pulse seems slower
watching the low hum of life that hangs
in the afternoon air - it's a great beast
that joins the small creatures with the
plants they depend on . . .
Those words, taken from a placard that was once located at Pearl
Lake State Park, speak volumes to me. This site, founded in 2001, is
dedicated to my grandparents, John Kelly and M. Pearl Hartt. It was
my grandfather, John Kelly, who pioneered the sheep industry during
the Colorado-Wyoming range wars and grew one of the largest sheep
operations in the country. It was my grandma, M. Pearl Hartt, who is
the namesake of the State Park that was once a summer
headquarters to granddad's sheep operation.
Summers at grandma's house are what I
remember the most. On what is now the
shores of Pearl Lake, my cousin Patrick and I
would frog hunt at Lester Creek, long before
it bore grandma's name.
I was young - maybe 7 or 8 - when grandma
said there would be a lake named after her
built by the rangers. At first, I was upset
because I feared my frog hunting days were
numbered. But grandma and my aunts
explained that I could frog hunt at the lake,
For the next few summers, we went for walks
with the rangers to see the damn and the
progress with filling. I remember my Aunt
Pearl taking a time-lapse photo of the moon
over the lake one summer, shortly after the
And my pilgrimages to the lake in the
summer continue to be a highlight of my life.
I am fortunate to serve on the Hahns Peak
Historical Society Board of Directors as a way
to honor my family.
I started the history project when I was
exploring pioneer license plates. I started
digging into the research and got hooked. I
continue to explore the rich history of the area
where and when I can.
I recently recreated the original site and hope
you will find it easier to navigate. Thanks for
visiting! Cathy Hartt