Del Miller and her family temporarily moved to Timnath from Boulder County in 1969 for her husband to set up a civil engineering business in the area. That was 50 years ago, and Del still calls Timnath home—the small town won the Millers over for life.
“Timnath just met the criteria for all the things we wanted,” she said. “It was rural—we were both from big cities and didn’t want to raise children in that environment—and we were able to have horses but still live close enough to Fort Collins and I25 and Denver. Plus, all the people were very welcoming.”
Many of those welcoming neighbors were grandchildren of original Timnath pioneers, and shared deep roots in the community. They were a treasure trove of invaluable local knowledge, and their stories inspired Del to write Timnath’s first history book.
Del partnered with longtime resident Elsie Fisher to take on the project of compiling all of the stories and information they could find into a chronological history. In this pre-internet era, most things weren’t yet digitized, so the two women referenced scrapbooks—which at the time were the preferred method for clubs, organizations and businesses to document their own history—as well as interviews, records, yearbooks, school board minutes and even some personal records like diaries and letters.
“It was a fascinating experience, especially having grown up in a large city,” she said. “It took us a lot longer than we thought it would.”
One of the stories that most stood out to Del was the 1935 schoolhouse fire. Elsie was a student at the time, along with her future husband, who was credited with discovering the fire. It was started by some faulty electrical wiring near the school stage. The Windsor Fire Department attempted to save the building but there wasn’t enough water pressure to put out the flames, which grew quickly due to the oil-based floor cleaner used at the school. The building was completely destroyed.
The whole town h pulled together for the students. Classes were held in various buildings in town, including a private home, and school supplies were donated from neighboring school districts. The building was reconstructed with funds from insurance and money from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and reopened just one year after the fire. Before hardware and home supply stores were just a short drive away, the community was central in small towns like Timnath, where neighbors depended on each other daily, especially in times of crisis.
Elsie and Del’s book, Timnath, A History, was published in 1996 with the help of The Columbine Club. Many of the artifacts referenced in the book—i.e. old newspapers, school yearbooks, etc.—were donated to the Columbine Club and are now housed at the Timnath Presbyterian Church and available to the public for viewing.
It’s plain to see that Del’s love for and commitment to the town of Timnath only grew as she learned more of its rich history. She currently volunteers for the Town’s steering committee, which is tasked with updating the Comprehensive Plan. By being the voice of the past for the Town she’s able to help shape the future of the town.
“I’m optimistic,” she said. “The plans we envision will keep the rural feel and friendly atmosphere of the Town even as we grow. I hope they can be accomplished.”