On Monday, April 8 ten members of the Highlands Ranch Historical Society had a “behind the scenes” tour of the Wings Over the Rockies Museum, as well as a presentation on the History of Lowry.   Capping the fun day was a rare SOLAR ECLIPSE!

View the Photo Gallery for a brief photographic journey through the Museum, the presentation on Lowry history, and the viewing of the solar eclipse.

Our Wings Museum host was Curator Chuck Stout, who did a phenomenal job leading the group around the museum, seeing behind the scenes  as new exhibits are prepared, and how they are curated into a cohesive and interesting visual presentation with associated written material as needed.   Chuck also presented a fascinating slide show about the history of Lowry, which is where the Museum is location (on the former Lowry Air Force Base in Denver).

The combination of tour and lecture brought a flood of memories from participants, as Ginny and Gary Hassett recounted Gary’s former work after seeing the models and descriptions in the museum.  Per Ginny, Gary worked many months on a project during the evening and nights, and how it affected their family life.  Ginger Mogorit , whose husband was a United Pilot in the 50’s and 60’s, remarked about the train from Lowry to the Bombing Range in Arapahoe County, which traveled along 6th Avenue, immediately behind their new home (at the time!)  Her two young sons were thrilled every time the train came past.  Little did Ginger and her husband realize that the trains were carrying BOMBS to the Bombing Range for practice.

Additionally we were surprised to see the Phipps Sanitorium and hear about its history, during the Power Point presentation.  Noting that the Phipps name is big in Highlands Ranch (Lawrence Phipps Jr. was the last and longest owner and resident of the Mansion), we found out that Lawrence Phipps Sr. (father to Jr.) had built and donated a Sanitorium to the Lowry Base, and the important role it played during many years, when it was converted from a Sanitorium (for TB patients) to a headquarters and school among other uses.  As Chuck pointed out “it is hard to go anywhere in Denver without hearing the Phipps name”.

Another highlight of the day was taking a break around 12:30 pm, to go outside and watch the Solar Eclipse, which was reaching its peak here in Denver about that time.   With everyone safely donning eclipse glasses it was easy to see the 65% coverage of the sun by the moon. Exclaiming “it’s cold out here!” we realized that with 65% of the suns warmth covered up, the chill in the air was evident!

The Hassett’s son, provided a photo showing 100% eclipse and the beautiful corona (the son had traveled to an area with totality).

And the Watkins had fun pointing out Michael’s t-shirt, from the last eclipse in 2017, where they were in the path of totality.

Following the formal tour, some members were off to take the walking and/or driving tour around Lowry, being sure to get the full experience on a beautiful day in such a fascinating and important historical area of town.