A History of Tranquil Acres

(as submitted by John Dover, George & Alice Cloon's grandson)

Tranquil Acres founder and developer George B. Cloon, Jr. in 1954 pictured next to his first cabin/office on Cloon Avenue (now known as 189 Gardenia Rd.)

This was one of the first two cabins built by George and his nephew, Russell Cloon--the other being just up the hill at 288 Gardenia Rd. Walter McMillan, a neighbor of George's from back in Kansas, worked as their helper.

According to local historian Eric Swab, between 1880-1885 the forest in this area had been virtually denuded of trees through two major logging operations, combined with several forest fires.  But in 1889 the federal government began operations to restore the forest, which eventually led to the formation of the Pike National Forest that borders Tranquil Acres to the north.  From 1905-1916, the area just to the east of Tranquil Acres was home to one of Colorado’s first big dude ranches—the bustling 400 acre Skelton Ranch Resort, founded by homesteaders Judge William and Lizzie Skelton.  The ranch suffered considerable damage from a forest fire in 1908, and the resort never fully recovered.  Skelton sold his land in 1916. It was eventually taken over by the federal government in 1938, and added as part of the Pike National Forest in 1960.  The road that led to the ranch, Skelton Ridge Road, is still partially intact (just off of Blossom, at the entrance sign for El Tesoro Retreat Center).

In the early 1900s, Mr. Cloon owned a general store and was the postmaster in LeLoup, KS, about 50 miles southwest of Kansas City.   From 1922 to 1933, he also owned a 120 acre farm near Edlowe, Colorado, on the south side of Hwy. 24 between Woodland Park and Divide.  In 1953, at the age of 71, George returned to Colorado in search of acquiring land to develop.  He initially sought to re-purchase his old Edlowe farmland, but it was not for sale.  Eventually, he settled for some land around an old Forest Service road that led into the Pike National Forest (aka, FR #252), subsequently named Blossom Rd.

Between 1953 and 1959, Mr. Cloon purchased land parcels from four individuals totaling about 470 acres (ranging in cost from $20 per acre in 1953 to $100 per acre in 1957).  He initially sold off a couple of large tracts, presumably to finance the costs associated with further development, such as surveying, roads, and water.  Between 1955-1960, the remaining 230 acres would become Tranquil Acres subdivision—one of the first new subdivisions in Teller County since the heyday of the Cripple Creek gold rush.  There was no county planning department back then, and few regulations to adhere to.  Although the county commissioners did object to the narrow, substandard width of the roads and never officially “accepted” the roads, so they remain privately owned to this day.  In 1979, Joe and Marge Dover (Cloons' heirs) deeded the existing roads over to the water company.

In the early 1960s, 13 acre lots typically sold for $250 cash, or could be financed for $25 down and 11 subsequent payments of $25 (for a total of $300).

Sketch of the 4 parcels purchased by Mr. Cloon between 1953 - 1959, in Township 12 South, Range 69 West of the 6th PM.

Each parcel was purchased from the original "homesteader" of that land.

1953 deed to parcels #1a, 1b & 1c

1960 sales flier used by Mr. Cloon

Gardenia Road was originally named "Cloon Avenue" on county maps (1954)

These old mining cabins were on Mr. Cloon's original property (near what's now El Tesoro Center), and were never part of what became Tranquil Acres subdivision

Pikes Peak from the Cloon property (1954)

Another view of the Peak (1954)

The original water tower at 923 Blossom Rd. (1954)  

Joe Dover (George's son-in-law) came out from Kansas City to help build the tower (1954) 

Marjorie Dover (George and Alice Cloon's only child) in front of Russell Cloon's cabin at 288 Gardenia (1955).

Russell was Marjorie's cousin and he built both this one, along with George's at cabin about the same time in 1954. Soon thereafter, Russell and his wife Mildred moved to Woodland Park full-time, where he ran his own construction business for several years. Unfortunately, this cabin had to be torn down in about 1999 in order for the new owners to get a permit to build a newer house on the same lot.

Both of these early cabins had electricity and running water for washing up, though neither cabin had flush toilets until the mid-1970's--just a good old-fashioned outhouse!

 Looking SE towards Pikes Peak from the Cloon home at 667 Blossom Rd.  (1957)

The corner of Columbine & Blossom Rd.  (1957)

The Cloon home/office at 667 Blossom Rd. (1957)

Looking north up Blossom Rd. from about Columbine Rd. (1957)

Pikes Peak (1960)

Cloon Cabin (1963)

Cloons' grandchildren, Mark and John Dover (me), in front of the Cloon Cabin (1963)

Mrs. Alice Cloon in front of their house (1963)

Marjorie Dover & her father George Cloon on his 85th birthday (Dec. 8, 1966)

 Looking NE across Blossom Rd. from the Cloon home at 667 Blossom Rd. (1965)  

Looking SE from 667 Blossom Rd. (1965)

Cloon home/office, 667 Blossom Rd. (1967)

Alice & George Cloon (1967)

Looking SE from 667 Blossom (1967)

Hansen's Store at 10 Orchid Rd. in (1960)

At one time or another, John Hansen's store sold groceries, fishing tackle and other supplies; had a gasoline pump out front; and even served breakfast and lunch. I remember eating pancakes there as a kid in the mid-1960s, and that the dining area had a great view of the Peak. This cabin pre-dates Tranquil Acres, and is shown on 1954 USGS maps as the only intact habitable structure on any of Mr. Cloon's 470 acres when he bought this land. Teller County records list it as being built in 1890!

D.R. "Doc" Denton's Motel at 557 Blossom Rd. (1960)  

I believe that it only operated as a commercial motel for one or two seasons. Densil R. Denton of Wichita, KS, (aka D.R. Denton) was nicknamed "Doc" because of his initials, and was not really a doctor.

"Doc" Denton had also purchased a 20-acre tract of land from Mr. Cloon, and built this cabin on it in 1955 at 1270 N. Blossom. Pictured is me with my cousin Rick Wolken who rented out this cabin from Doc in 1981. 

This cabin was built in 1957 at 99 Daisy Rd. by George Steele (a friend of Mr. Cloon's from Kansas)

Ross Phillips had this cabin built in 1957 at 380 Gardenia

After helping build Mr. Cloon's first cabin in Tranquil Acres, Walter & Josephine McMillan built a place at 710 Blossom Rd. in 1959, and spent many summers there until the late 1980s

Looking southwest from the Cloon property towards Rule Creek and the Columbia Ranch (which later became part of the Spring Valley subdivision) in 1950. Back then, you could access the working Columbia Ranch via the west end of Fern Road and buy fresh eggs and milk from the rancher there.

The big lake that you can see today to the west of Tranquil Acres is called Burgess Reservoir, and was built in the mid-1960s as part of the Spring Valley subdivision development.

The Colorado Midland Railroad followed the route of the old Ute Pass Indian Trail from Colorado Springs up Fountain Creek, and reached Divide in 1887. During World War I, Ute Pass was a major wagon trail that became part of the Ocean-To-Ocean Highway—which was billed as the fastest route from Washington, DC, to San Francisco. It was improved and designated as U.S. Hwy. 24 in 1932. But it wasn’t until 1965 that it bypassed Manitou Springs and became a 4-lane highway to Cascade; and it wasn’t 4-lane to Woodland Park until 1977. The road to Tranquil Acres from Woodland Park, CR-25 (aka, Trout Creek Rd.), wasn’t paved until about 1994.

Originally, Trout Creek Road (aka, CR-25) intersected with Tranquil Acres Rd. (aka, Blossom) at what is now the entrance to El Tesoro Center.  It was reconfigured in the 1970s to intersect at its present location a few hundred feet to the south.  But you can still easily make out the path of the steep former road, by looking on the north side of the hard bends in the current road near the top of CR-25.

TAWS Meeting Room & Garage, 923 Blossom Rd.

Joe & Marge Dover (1990). After George Cloon's death in 1968, Joe was instrumental to TAWS management and stability into the 1990s; bringing the company into compliance on many levels, including recruiting new Board Members, updating our By-Laws & procedures, and the filing of our water augmentation plan with the State Water Court in 1990.

Beth Wendelboe, TAWS Office Manager from 1990-2000, and Tim Sandvig, Caretaker from 1989-1998.  (1990)

(from L to R): Marie Galbraith (Board VP, Office Manager and Lead Grant Writer), Priscilla Ingebrigtsen (Board Member), John Dover (Board Sec./Treasurer and Project Financial Administrator), Ron Weien (Board President and Project Manager), Dallas Tonsager (Undersecretary of the USDA-RD), Dolores Sanchez-Maes (Director, USDA B&CP Director), Jim Isgar (USDA State Director), Robin Pulkkinen (USDA Loan Specialist), and John Schawb (JPS Engineering). Not pictured, Steven Denton, Project Inspector.

F Wayne Owens Memorial Tower (2018).  Wayne was one of our longest serving, most professional and productive Board Presidents. His accomplishments included serving as Project Administrator for the 2016 CDPHE Grant and the installation of our new tower.


*Over the years, our system has gradually (and sometimes painfully) grown and improved.  

We certainly owe a debt of gratitude to a great many volunteers and underpaid staff.  

 Board Of Directors

(Name, 1st Year Elected, Offices Held*)

George Cloon 60, P60-66

Alice Cloon 60, S60-66

Arthur Johnson 60

Otto Gowen 60

John Hansen 60

Homer Stanhope 60

John Channy 60

Ross Phillips 60

Glen Lee 60

Walter McMillan 60

Gale Brown 60, P76-77

Thurman Schofield 60, P66-67

Ernest Wood 66, P67

Lloyd Copeland 66, P67-69

Ruth Wood 66

Louis Martin 66

Ken Hardy 66

HC "Curly" Howard 66

Mel LeFever 67, P69-70

Art Howell 67, P70

Dick Hill 68

Nat Talcott 69

Tom Royston 69

Ray Barnette 70, P70-71

Stan Root P70

Pat Ellis 70

Bill Halsey 70

Steve Mindock 70

Fred King 71, P71-72

Lloyd Chase 71, P72-73

Ken Olsen 71

Norma Berger 71

George Ray 71

Ed Berger 71

Marvin Craig 71

Barbara Wickline 72

Marguarite Groves 72

Horace Dyer 72

Derril Howell 72

James Wickline 72

Joanne Storer 72

Iva Jacobi 72

Bob Doiel 72, P73-75

Wendell Fick 73, P75-76

Glenn Hefner 73

Laurel Bondurant 73

Ray Ellsworth 74

Ken Page 74

Steve Oliver 75

Ray Rickard 75

Dick Thuma 76, P77-78

April Oliver 76

Rod Scheer 76

Jim Storer 76

D.R. "Doc" Denton 76

Joe Dover 76

Walt Derby 76

Tom Bauer 76

Clyde Foreman 77

John "Skip" Sherbak 78, P78-80

Ernie Puckett 78

Betty Ellis 78

Teri Downs 79

Peggy Thumma 80

Jan Smith 80

Dale Fredeen 80, P80-83 & P83-84

Jim Holden 81

Carol Fix 81

Kathy Petterson 82, S

Roy Best 82

Dan Smith 82

Bill Wittich 82, P83

Kevin Wheatley 82, P84-86

John Dover 83, S/T07-16

Jim Wood 83

Sandy Harrison 83

Lee Gilmore 84

Deb Van Auken 85

Diane Nelson 85

Don Best 85, P87 & P88-89

John Newman 86, P86-87

John Coe 86

Norma Givens 86

Rick Wolken 86

Bonnie Pearman 86

Ken Wellman 86

Glenn Vessey 87, P87

Pat Sill 87, P88

David Dick 87, P88

Joanna Dix 87

John Felix 87

Larry Frankenberger 87

Scott Beasley 88, P88-89

Belinda Hair 88, P89-90

Ruth Nusser 88

Tim Sandvig 88

Frank Nusser 88

Bill George 88

Bill George 88, P90-94

Nicole Hardin 89

Tina Beasley 89

Marcie Dyer 89

Jean Marie Sill 89

Beth Wendelboe 90

Bob Flett 90

Steve Orr 91

Bob Dix 92

Cameron Haney 92

Steve Hopkins 92, P94-95

Cheryl Hopkins 93

Tiffany Madril 94

Jeff Miller 94, P96-98

Larry Mestas 95, P95-96

Joel Mackey 95, VP

Bill Cash 95

Judy Ford 96

Skip Vena 96

Dave Caldwell 96

Dave Sebesta 98

Michael Bell 98

Cheri Anthony 98, S

Roger Rhodes 98, P98-99

Brad Stair 98, P99-02

Jay Doernberg 99

Steven Denton 00, P02-05 & P20-present, VP

Bill Williams 00

Jimmy Dunn 00

Don Hamilton 01

Dave Coons 01

Jack Khol 02

Darrick Mohr 02

Cindy Mohr 02

David Paul 02

Greg Geiman 03

Howard Wagner 03

Ron Weien 04, P05-12

Ed Berry 04

Jack Allred 04

Terry Ericksen 05

Kenny Kelly 05

Steve Zerbe 05

Priscilla Ingebrigtsen 06

Diana Duffield 07

Marie Galbriath 07-16, VP09-12

Wayne Owens 09-18, P12-17

Ronnie Griggs 09

Barbara Schmidt 10

Bill Olson 10

Steve Ingebrigtsen 10, T18-present

Diana Doyle 12, VP

Terry Miller 12

Rusty Anthony 13

Mike Griggs 16

Shawn Cox 16

Rebecca Sunjka 16, S18-20

Amie Gray 17, P17-20

Terrence Johnson 17, VP17

Phil Stone 18, VP18-20

Sharon Ferguson 18, S20

Luke Bonnell 20, VP20

Betty Charter 20

Allison Wentworth 20

Corinne Sigel VP21

Cindy Lopez P22

Mark Lingofelt 22

Jeff Spotts VP22

Shawn Stewart-Maddox 23

Pascal Gravell 23

*Listing of officers is incomplete, but when known P=President, VP=Vice-Pres, S=Sec, T=Treasurer

 Caretakers & System Monitors

Earl Widick 60

Merle Smith 67

Hazel Hill 69

Jon & Terry Wood 71

Jim Storer 71

Ray Ellsworth 76

John Felix 78

"Skip" Sherbak 78

Butch Stewart 86

Bob Dix 87

Barb Smith 88

David Dick 88

Bill George 89

Tim Sandvig 89

Terry Ryan 98

Rob Hubbard 00

Kirk Lamphier 01

George Wheeler 02

Greg Geiman 03

Ron Weien 05

Jerry Bergstrom 12

Steven Denton 12

Joe Burke 15

Steven Denton 20

Treatment Plant Operators

Ernie Puckett 82

Linda Meier 86

Bill George 89

Tim Sandvig 95

Brad & Doris Bilsky 98

Gavin Leitner 00

Kirk Lamphier 02

ECO Resources, Inc. 04

Darrel Smith 06

Joe Burke 06

Steven Denton 11

Jerry Bergstrom 12

Steven Denton 12

Joe Burke 15

Louis Lemmon 18

Steven Denton 20


Alice Cloon 60

Ruth Wood 66

Norma Berger 71

Marguarite Groves 72

Steve & April Oliver 75

Dick Thuma 76

Betty Ellis 78

Peggy Thumma 80

Kathy Petterson 82

Pat Fredeen 84

Jenna Putzstuck 85

Sherry Best 85

Norma Givens 86

Belinda Hair 87

Norma Givens 88

Jean Marie Sill 90

Norma Givens 91

Chuck & Linda Bishop 92

Tifany Madril 94

Chris Miller 98

Cheri Anthony 01

Wendy Stephens 02

Valarie Flournoy 04

Maggie Weien 04

Randy Solomon, SMS Inc. 04

Marie Galbriath 12

Cheryl Hopkins 16

Marilee Denton & Sharon Ferguson 22

Elizabeth Zuercher/Balanced Books Inc 22

Office Managers

Dale Fredeen 84

Deb Van Auken 85

Ruth Nusser 88

Deb Van Auken 89

Beth Wendelboe 90

Chris Miller 00

Cheri Anthony 01

Wendy Stephens 02

Valarie Flournoy 04

Maggie Weien 04

Marie Galbraith 12

Cheryl Hopkins 16

Marilee Denton & Sharon Ferguson 22

Anna Sanchez 22

Christina Hoover 24