Frontier Diary |

Frontier Diary

Willa SoncartyRegistrar, Frontier Historical Society and Museum
Photo Courtesy Portrait and Biographical Record ofBorn in Wisconsin in 1850 to Swiss immigrants, Edward Stauffacher settled on his farm at Catherine in the 1880s. In conjunction with his farming activities, he established and operated a modern cheese factory and was active in county and community affairs.

Edward Stauffacher believed in agriculture. A farmer and cheese maker in his home state of Wisconsin, Stauffacher came to Aspen in 1884, where he augmented farming with mining. In the 1890s, he and his brother, Mathias, sold their interests in Aspen’s Little Annie Mine for $42,500. It was then that the Stauffacher brothers concentrated their energies on their large farms between Carbondale and Emma. The cash from the Little Annie sale would allow Stauffacher to construct a cheese factory.In August 1892, Stauffacher began the factory’s construction. By May 1893 the factory was in operation, using 1,200 pounds of milk daily for its production of Swiss, Limburger and brick cheeses. Stauffacher paid farmers 1 cent per pound for milk, hoping that his generous payments would prompt the establishment of dairy farms throughout the Roaring Fork Valley. With this hopeful increase in milk production, Stauffacher planned to expand the market for his cheeses from Carbondale, Aspen, Glenwood Springs and New Castle, to include Leadville and Grand Junction.With his ranch on the Colorado Midland Railway line, in April 1892, Stauffacher applied for the establishment of a post office. On his application, he estimated that 75 to 80 ranchmen would be served by this office. It is presumed he named the post office for his wife Mary Catherine (Geiger) Stauffacher, and the new community would be known as “Catherin” (spelled without the ending e).Catherin, because of its centralized location, became a community meeting place. Numerous picnics, including the annual Pioneer’s Picnic, were held there. At Catherin, a weary traveler knew he could find a brief place to stay, for the door of Edward and Mary Stauffacher was always open.A man of industry, Stauffacher served on the Garfield County Board of Commissioners from 1897 to 1900. Also a potato grower, he was vice president of the Roaring Fork Potato Growers Association in 1910. He was also instrumental in establishing the first Garfield County Fair.Stauffacher died in Wilmington, Calif., in 1935, at the age of 85. However, each sip of coffee served at Carbondale’s annual Potato Day contains Stauffacher’s presence. The kettle from which the coffee is served was used in Stauffacher’s cheese factory.The Frontier Historical Society Museum will be closed the week of Oct. 1 for cleaning and exhibit changes. It will reopen Monday, Oct. 9, with winter hours. Winter hours are Monday and Thursday through Saturday from 1-4 p.m. For more information, call 945-4448.

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