West Routt’s Jerry Green takes home Leckenby Award after 37 years on Heritage Center board

Tom Ross
Jerry Green, who works his great-grandparents' centennial ranch on the Williams Fork south of Hayden and served on the board of the Hayden Heritage Center for 35 years, was named the 2016 recipient of the Leckenby Pioneer Award during ceremonies Oct. 18.
courtesy photo

— Jerry Green, who works his great-grandparents’ centennial ranch on the Williams Fork south of Hayden, was named as the 2016 recipient of the Leckenby Pioneer Award from the Tread of Pioneers Museum during ceremonies Oct. 18.

Green, who left a career in public education to return to his family’s Crags Ranch on the Williams Fork River south of Hayden, was honored for his devotion to preserving the history of West Routt County. that his great-grandfather established in 1895, received the 2016 Leckenby Pioneer Award from the Tread of Pioneers Museum Oct. 18 for his devotion to preserving the history of West Routt.

He earned a degree and teaching certificate from Colorado State University and taught math and science in addition to coaching basketball in the Weld County town of Grover (current population 137) for 12 years before returning to the family ranch in 1980.

When Green returned to the family ranch, he began a long relationship with the Hayden Heritage Center. He is credited with helping the museum in Hayden achieve financial stability — the foundation that allowed it to evolve into a year-around facility with a paid curator and two paid summer docents.

During Green’s tenure, the board tackled restoration projects to the museum’s home in the old Hayden railroad depot, long before historical museums in the county benefitted from the voter-approved mill levy dedicated to that cause in 2003.

“Jerry is pretty reserved,” master of ceremonies Jim Stanko said Tuesday night. “He wasn’t ‘blowin’ and a goin’. He’s a person who sits back and thinks things through and how to make it work. Everything he made happen at the museum worked because he thought it through, knew how it would come out. He’s not the boisterous kind, but he knows how to run a good operation.”

Green served on the board of directors of the Hayden Heritage Center for more than 35 years and as its treasurer for more than 30 years.

Green and his wife, Judy, have supported Hayden High School sports (he played on state tournament qualifying teams for both basketball and football and was active in the roping club) and supported the Masons/Worthy Matron, Pioneer Picnic and County Fair as well as Historic Routt County. Judy received the 2011 Leckenby Award.

Stanko recalled the historical booklet the Greens prepared in time for the 75th anniversary of the Routt County Fair in 1989. Along the way, Jerry also wrote two significant history books about the area — “The History of Hayden and West Routt County 1876-1989,” and the second volume of that book, “History of West Routt County,” published in 1991.

Meticulous in his research, Green made a contribution to the historical record with carefully organized files of family histories that support genealogical research.

Jerry and Judy Green, who taught together in Grover, both had notable rodeo careers. And Crag Ranch is among just a handful of centennial ranches in Northwest Colorado.

Green was born July 5, 1941, in the Solandt Hospital in Hayden and was raised on his family’s ranch with its handsome barn of hand-hewn timbers. As a boy, his first six years of school were spent in one-room school houses in Dunstan (organized in 1892) and Beardsley (organized 1913).

Perhaps that’s why he’s been so devoted to preserving the history of the region for all of these years.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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