Alderfer, Arleta Anna Anderson

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .


Arleta  Alderfer

1911 - 1994

Born and raised in Denver.  Second woman to receive a degree in Library Science from the University of Denver.  Worked for the Rocky Mountain News and as a librarian at the Colorado School of Mines. Married EJ Alderfer in 1935.

According to son Hank, "The family bought their first ranch on Beaver Brook, downstream from the Elmgreen's homestead along the old Hwy. 40.  Here Arleta's life could be described by Betty McDonald's book, The Egg and I.  While EJ drove a truck, Mom sold vegetables from a creek-fe d, large garden raised, dressed, and sold chickens, along with harvesting Christmas trees."  That was in the late 1930s when, like many others who wanted to move to the mountains, they bought 10 acres and raised silver foxes.

In an interview with the Sternbergs for their book, Arleta was quoted as saying "You could get $1,000 for a first-quality pelt, and $3-4,000 for a breeding pair of foxes."  Popularity of mink replaced the desirability of fox after the war, and Russia began flooding the markets at prices locals couldn't match.  "The market dropped down so you couldn't sell a pelt for $7, and it cost $25 to feed one.  So of course, that's when we got rid of them."

She served on the School Board for the Soda Creek District prior to WWII.

After WWII, the family moved to the Buffalo Park Ranch now known as Alderfer-Three Sisters, owned and operated by Jefferson County Open Space.  The Alderfers owned 285 acres and leased another 1500 acres.

Arleta was the librarian of Evergreen Junior and Senior High School from 1956-76.  "For many students she was the special one who taught them how to read," said Hank.  "While outlasting several school administrations, Arleta managed to read every new book before it went on the shelves."  She was regarded as the first "special ed program" in Evergreen because those having trouble in the classroom were sent to the library.  She and a few other helpers in the library worked with the kids, according to Hank.

She served on the Evergreen Library Board prior to its becoming part of the county-wide system and was part of the Evergreen Book Club.  She started the oral history program, which was taken over by the Jefferson County Historical Society when it started.  Arleta was on the board of directors for the historical society from its formation in 1973 until she died.

Source:  Son Hank Alderfer; Evergreen, Our Mountain Community (Sternberg)