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The Spur Theater is gone now, but was located where the
red dot is, on Main Street.


Click Picture below to see
crowd, enlarged.

Courtesy LaVeta Historic Preservation Committee
and Kathy Kiernen Martin

Movie Passes were given to the kids who
would put the movie posters in windows
around town.

The Cabin owned by Julian and Doris Tracy,
home in the summer of 1958.

Don Dennis managed the Spur Theater in La Veta in the summer of 1958.  (Click here: Spur Theater, to see the old Spur Theater and a 1950's crowd at the box office).  He lived in a little cabin on the banks of the Cuchara River and often fished for his meals or ate at the local restaurant (possibly the Branding Iron or the Grand Cafe) where the kind proprietor learned he loved banana creme pie, and always had some available for him.    The next summer, 1959, he worked for Charlie Masinton in his stores, living in the La Veta Hotel and eating with the Masinton family.  He made so many friends and continued to go back up to La Veta to see the Masinton boys while he was in Pueblo college; later he visited them at their college in Boulder, the University of Colorado. 

Don met Vern Warren (Class of 54) shortly after his arrival in La Veta in 1958.   Vern  was living in Pueblo and knew there was another room available in the house on Gaylord St. where he rented.  Don moved in when Pueblo Junior College started after Labor Day, and they roomed together until Vern left to go to an aeronautical school in Tulsa, OK, early 1959.  They flew together numerous times, and when in La Veta with Vern, Don would stay at the Warren's Motel.

Vern Warren, 1958

VERN WARREN:  A former classmate of Vern Warren's wrote a couple of stories about him.     Vern jumped from a second story window in the high school, to the bed of a pickup truck......   and didn't get hurt.                  Another time, he bet someone he could drink 10 glasses of water all at one sitting, and the prize was to be a big bottle of Pepsi.          He drank the 10 glasses of water, and then drank the Pepsi he had won!

Don Dennis

La Veta holds very special memories and Don and Ann have gone back to visit several times. 


This is where the restaurant was located, where there was always fresh banana creme pie for Don. 

Photo courtesy of Steve Perkins
The Chuck Wagon in Cuchara, a favorite
place to go after work each night.
(See the history of the Chuck Wagon at bottom of this page
courtesy of
the Huerfano World Journal newspaper).  



Front:  Wayne Kreutzer, Burney Archuleta, Fred Sanchez, Dan Griego,
Glenn Kreutzer, Leo Sager.
Middle:  Dick Masinton, Robert Heikes, Richard Pezze, John Welsby,
John Viola, Loren Albright, Moses Ward.
Back:  Eddie Shrout, Walter Greeman, Dave Miller, John Robinson,
Tim Pene, Scott Klockenbrink, Ellis Weir

Back:  Coach Hildebrand, Glenn Kreutzer, John Wagner, Robert Heikes,
Scott Klockenbrink,  Walter Greeman
Front:  Dan Griego, John Welsby, Dick Masinton, Lloyd Snedden, Jerry Nason


Back:  Ann Walker, Marian Huffman, Virginia Galvan, Judy Geiser,
Front:  Gladys Duzenack, Kay Wagner, Loren Albright, Virginia Shrout,
Evelyn Harryman, Margaret Clair.


 Thirteen Seniors graduated in the Class of 1958.  They were Paul Duzenack, Virginia  Shrout, Jerry Nason, Kay Piner, Ann Walker, Dan Griego, La Vona Edmonds, Frank Andreatta, Walter  Greeman, Kay Wagner, John Wagner, Gladys Duzenack and Lloyd Sneddon.


Dick Masinton and the Class of 1959
Virginia Galvan, Josephine Griego, Martha Hasenack,
Scott Klockenbrink, James Padilla, Tim Pene, Genevieve Sanchez,
Victor Sanchez,  Rose Lee Scholes, John Welsby, Judith Ann Geiser.


The Class of 1960 included Margaret Clair, Tyrus Escalante, Loren Albright, Victoria Cruz, Bill Firm, Jerry Geiser, Curtis Goemmer, Evelyn Harryman, Robert Heikes, Marian Huffman, Richard Pezze, Eva Sanchez, Eddie Shrout, Dianne Underwood, Lupe Vera, John Viola, Moses Ward, Ellis Weir, and Harold Wilson.


La Veta Band
 Top:  Willa June Prator, Christine Quintana, Barbara Bay, Dick Masinton, Ann Walker, Carl Drum, Glen Bay, Kay Wagner, John Filer, John Beamer, Mr. Olsen (music teacher in tie), Curtis Geommer, Ronald Cruz.
Middle:  Scott Klockenbrink, Fred Scholes, David Parks, Harold Wilson, Jerry Geiser, Denzel Perciful,
Lupe Vera, Fred Sanchez, Tyrus Escalante,  Loren Albright.
Bottom:  Janet Brewer, Jerry Nason, Evelyn Harryman, Judy Geiser, Loretta Duzenack, Vickie Cruz.

Front:  Kathy Kiernan, John Beamer, Loretta Duzenack
Back:  Karen Kmetz, Gloria Williams, Janet Brewer, Georgia Huffman, Glenna Walls,
Jim Carver, George Albright, Wayman Percifull

Back:  Miss Ghiardi, Rose Lee Scholes, Clea Miller, Gladys Duzenack,
Ann Walker, Judy Geiser, Margaret Clair, Virginia Shrout,
Marian Huffman, Lupe Vera.
Front:  Mary Griego, Helen Weir, Leslie Campbell, Freda Scholes,
Vonna Hector,  Virginia Galvan, Josephine Griego, Vicky Cruz, Marie Galvan
Cheerleaders are Evelyn Harryman and Kay Wagner

Top:  Harvest Ball Queen, Ann Walker
Left: Homecoming Queen, Virginia Shrout
Right:  Blanca Tournament Princess, Kay Piner

Kathy Martin picture -
Paul Logan, La Veta

Click to enlarge


click for:  Spur Theater, La Veta, Colorado








Don Dennis with Charlie Masinton's Statue.

(click to enlarge)
The Family of Doris Bristol Tracy proudly attends the dedication of her
memorial in La Veta, Colorado. 

click here:


May 2012:  Charlie's Market has been sold by Don and Mitzi Masinton Keairns, after 13 years of ownership,  to Deborah and David Messier of Colorado Springs.



Entering Beautiful La Veta

Antique Post Card - Spanish Peaks

(click pictures to enlarge)

Post office at Cuchara, CO

Cuchara, Hill down to Cabins

Ann Dennis, 2009

Don Dennis, 2009

Cuchara Store


1950's La Veta News
from the
Huerfano County News

(with permission)
Copyright by Karen Mitchell

1953: At the 4-H Achievement Day awards ceremony, five year pins were given to Lowell Goemmer, Kay Piner, Jimmy Geiser and Judy Marker. Some 300 people attended and enjoyed the square dance called by Charles Ottinger following the awards.

1955 May La Veta: La Veta's rampaging Redskins trounced the Aguilar Wildcats 13-3 in a seven inning long contest played in La Veta yesterday afternoon.

1955 August La Veta: Betty Willis won her second reserve championship at the State Fair, in the dress revue.

1955 October La Veta: The Redskins took over the lead in the Spanish Peaks conference Friday when they won a hard-fought 6-0 victory over the Aguilar Wildcats. The lone touchdown was a pass from Don Drury to Jim Geiser which covered 30 yards.

1955 November La Veta: Kay Piner and Betty Willis won awards in the clothing division for Huerfano County in the National 4-H Achievement contests.

1956 August La Veta: The Kincaid store, owned and run since 1900 by the Kincaid family, was sold to Charlie Masinton by William M. Kincaid Jr., who has had it since 1952.

1958 January La Veta: Lloyd Sneddon scored 34 points to lead the Redskins to a 63-28 win over Moffat High School.

1958 April La Veta: At the Spur this Sunday and Monday, "To Hell and Back' starring Audie Murphy.

1958 April La Veta: Vernon Warren and Rolf Zinger have resumed their flight training toward their private pilot's licenses at La Veta Airport.  (Webmaster: Vern Warren was Don's college roommate; Vern died in an airplane crash in 1969.)

1958 April La Veta: Work continues on the air field north of town by the Chamber of Commerce and the only hazard remaining is the telephone line.

1958 July La Veta: Kay Piner entered training June 20 in the Women's Marine Corps in North Carolina.

1958 August La Veta: The 20th annual Huerfano County 4-H Fair will be held in La Veta Aug. 8, 9, and 10.

1958 September La Veta: Keith Kreutzer, quarterback, is not expecting to play in tomorrow's homecoming game and will be replaced by Don Drury.

1958 September La Veta: Miss Virginia Shrout entered St. Mary Corwin Hospital as a student nurse, part of a three-year course.

1958 October La Veta: About 50 L.V.H.S. students and sponsors gathered at the Chuck Wagon in Cuchara Saturday night for a dance party.

1958 October La Veta: The La Veta Redskins won their third game of the season by downing Pueblo County B Squad 18-6.

1958 October La Veta: The Redskins downed the Aguilar Wildcats 12-0 last Friday in La Veta's Homecoming game.

1958 October La Veta: The Redskins lost their first game in four starts by dropping to the St. Mary Crusaders 24-0.

1958 November La Veta: Charles Keeling tore off the brick veneer cornice work on Charlie's Old Reliable store before repairing the roof.

1958 November La Veta: Curtis Goemmer was elected president of the 4-H Electric Club, Fred Scholes, vice president, Carl Drum, secretary and Janet Pene, treasurer.

1958 November La Veta: La Veta won its sixth game of the season 13-6 over the Alamosa B team, with Loren Albright and Joe Viola scoring touchdowns.

1958 December La Veta: La Veta Redskins defeated the Huerfano County High School Panthers 48-46 in a thrilling non-league basketball game.

1958 December La Veta: Receiving straight A's at La Veta High School were Loren Albright, Marian Huffman, John Beamer and Georgia Huffman.

1958 December La Veta: The Redskins defeated the St. Mary Crusaders 57-43 in the first cage tilt of the season.

1959 February La Veta: The Redskins defeated Saguache 53-36 to clinch second in Class C Southern Peaks basketball league.

1959 May La Veta: Cheerleaders elected for next year are Freda Scholes, Marie Galvan and Marion Huffman.

1959 June La Veta: The Spur Theater was reopened Saturday, June 13 after remodeling.

1959 November La Veta: Marian Huffman was crowned Harvest Queen Saturday night by Curtis Goemmer, senior class president.

1959 November La Veta: The Redskins will be in the state playoffs against Weldon Valley following their victory over Yampa 46-6.

La Veta High School, Kathy Kiernan Martin, Margaret Clair Hettinger



From the Huerfano World Journal newspaper,, with permission, 2010



by Nancy Christofferson

CUCHARA- In this little series of stories about the old Cuchara Camps, aka Cuchara since 1957, the subject of the late great Chuck Wagon has come up several times. The Chuck Wagon restaurant was, in the 1950s, the center of Cuchara life.

The Chuck Wagon replaced the old hotel dining room as the only eating place in Cuchara Camps. The hotel restaurant had been in use from 1908 to 1948, and had seen better days.

When John and Rae Albright purchased Cuchara Camps store, hotel, pavilion and real estate from the Albert Jameson family in 1945, big changes were on the way. The old commissary gave way to a semi-modern store, the pavilion became an inn with “modern” rooms, real estate holdings were enlarged with several land additions but decreased by many sales for new homes, and the hotel was razed.

Construction on the Chuck Wagon evidently began in the fall of 1948. It was a modest frame building with log siding, to contain a dining room and small lunch counter. The décor and furnishings were rustic, with knotty pine paneling, a huge river rock fireplace and large picture windows. Mostly, the windows afforded views of the tires of cars passing just above on Highway 111, now known as Highway 12, and the dust they raised. The tables and chairs were wooden and frankly uncomfortable. Lighting was supplied from chandeliers fashioned from old wagon wheels. Even the entrance to the café featured wagon wheels, but somehow the owners refrained from naming it the Wagon Wheel.

The new establishment was opened over the Memorial Day holiday in 1949. The services of a La Veta couple, Chuck and Laura Fouch, were secured as managers and a Mrs. Black of Liberal, Kansas, was the cook. It took absolutely no time at all for a new Camps tradition to take hold, for residents to go to church services in the brand new nondenominational chapel, then flock to the Chuck Wagon for Sunday dinner.

It didn’t take too much longer for the Chambers of Commerce of La Veta and Walsenburg to schedule at least one dinner a summer there, and the local Rotary Clubs soon followed suit, as did the Walsenburg Lions Club and Huerfano County Shriners. The two Chambers ganged up on the Chuck Wagon by having a joint meeting, their first in Cuchara Camps (except for picnics), in August 1950. The next year the Rotarians and their wives of La Veta and Walsenburg did the overwhelming of Chuck Wagon staff when about 90 of them had a dinner meeting there in July which featured a program by Cuchara artist Clayton Henri Staples. For events such as these, the restaurant was closed to Camps families for casual dining.

In fact, even back in the days when the entire Camps, at the height of the summer season, could boast no more than 500 seasonal residents and visitors, the Chuck Wagon could demand a waiting line for the Sunday specialties of crispy fried chicken or chicken fried steak, followed by homemade pie ala mode.

In the summer of 1953 the proprietors tried a new gimmick – an all you can eat smorgasbord with fried chicken and Spanish meatloaf - $1.85.

The Chuck Wagon not only packed in the diners, it hosted many celebrations and activities. The old juke box played for impromptu teen gatherings, while the beloved bingo games were played there for a decade. When Lawrence Welk made one of his visits, the entire community packed into the restaurant to see and hear him, and, occasionally, let their children perform for him. Even pot luck dinners were held there.

The 1950s saw the excellent cooking of several La Vetans, Lee and Sammy Hopson, who also operated the café at the Park Lane Hotel in La Veta, and the Falk family, Elsie Wagner and Josephine Falk, often “assisted” by their husbands. Elsie’s daughter and daughter-in-law, Mary Lou Nauerth and Patty Wagner, were the popular young waitresses. Unbeknownst to most Cucharans, the lucky local school children often had Elsie as their head cook for nine months.

In the 1960s the restaurant was alternately run by Dorothy McCart, who owned the hotel across the street, and Dianne Baldwin, co-owner of the café and store. These women hired a series of solid cooks, such as Rita Galvan of La Veta, to continue the tradition of good food. In 1965, Nick Morelli of Walsenburg, owner and operator of the Little Pig Inn, took the helm. By this time the Cuchara Recreation Center had been completed so community activities had been moved there and the Chuck Wagon had some lonely evenings.

The restaurant had been enlarged, as well, with a second dining room built onto the back, or north, and a coffee shop on the east replacing the former lunch counter. It became the place for teenagers to go for an afternoon snack of French fries and a milk shake while they listened to the same 1950s tunes on the same old juke box.

The Baldwins reigned over the Chuck Wagon in the 70’s, expanding the menu to include more than just fried chicken and chicken fried steak, and, eventually, to serve wine and cocktails with one’s supper.

For the summer of 1979, the Chuck Wagon was leased out. On the morning of Monday, September 24, the place was discovered to be on fire, and before long, was just a memory as high winds and low water pressure allowed the flames to burn the building to the ground. It was the end of an era, the end of a Cuchara tradition.

The following year, The Timbers was built on the same site.


Background:  Sunset in La Veta 2007
Photo by Ann Dennis


1958  Yearbook
1959  Yearbook
1960 Yearbook
1961  Yearbook
1962 Yearbook
Spur Theater
La Veta Clippings
Kathy Kiernen Martin



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