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Hodgen in the Dip

Jigs and Maggie haven’t been around lately at 7315 Hodgen Road, better known as “Hodgen in the Dip.” The familiar characters have been resting since their owner, Kathryn Peterson, died over a year ago. The two manikins have caused a few laughs as drivers passed by the Peterson’s home. Jigs and Maggie often changed their appearances, with the help of Kathryn and her husband, Justin, as they adorned the front yard. Justin Peterson still lives at Hodgen in the Dip.”They did it just to make people smile, to make them slow down and enjoy life,” said Justin Peterson Jr. “Mom and dad just came up with the ideas like putting a kite in the tree and having them on a ladder, and acting like county workers, where one is standing on a shovel.” The Fourth of July, Halloween and Christmas were special backdrops for Jigs and Maggie, he said.Peterson said he might continue the tradition, but Jigs and Maggie need a makeover.The barn at Hodgen in the Dip is getting a makeover, too. Peterson is renovating the barn, part of the former 1,700-acre J.G. Evans Ranch, which actually sits across the street from the Peterson home. “There have been several people between the Evans and Petersons,” he said. “My parents have been here for 48 years. This is the only 30-acre plot right down here that’s left of that 1,700 acres. Everything else has been developed.”According to “Monument’s Faded Neighbor Communities and its Folk Lore” by Lucille Lavallette, J.G. Evans and his wife homesteaded their ranch in 1885; the area was called Table Rock. Evans died in a blizzard trying to get from the barn to the house. He is buried in the Monument Cemetery, and on his tombstone are the words, “He arose on the wings of a storm.”The property has retained its history. Peterson said the building behind the house was a railroad stage stop. A redwood picket fence that still exists on his property was originally from the East. “It’s over a hundred years old,” he said.Next to the house is another barn that used to be the Fairview schoolhouse in the 1800s. The school was moved from its original site two “hills” over, and the school teacher lived with the Evans. “If I went in there and took off the paneling I’ve got on the walls, this (the barn) has got the original chalkboards in it. Plaster chalk boards. They were black, painted black,” Peterson said.Thieves have exacerbated the renovating challenges. “People have stolen stuff out here for so many years … they took all the siding off of it,” Peterson said. So far, the front and sides of the barn have been restored, and Peterson is working on the foundation and flooring.When Peterson finishes the renovation of the old barn, he would like to open it to the public.The barn, built in 1885, is located on the property of the Cherry Creek Estates development, and they own the barn. Manager George Kuhnke said he would like to preserve the barn; however, opening it to visitors could be a problem because the county would have to provide an access road.Kuhnke registered the barn with the National Register of Historic Places. A copy of the registration is posted online and clarifies what stage line passed through the ranch.The Hodgen Road Corridor improvement project is scheduled for completion by the end of the year. When the nearby bridge was built in 1968, Hodgen Road was moved too far to the north. Peterson said it could impact Hodgen in the Dip.

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