Landy, Joan Buchanan

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

Joan Landy

1918 - 1998


Joan was one of three daughters of Ruth and Darst Buchanan, who in 1938 purchased the 1,100-acre Hiwan Homestead that would become the nucleus of the Hiwan Ranch. At one time, the ranch swelled to 30,000 acres and stretched all the way up to the backside of Central City.

The family had visited Evergreen several times during the summers in the 1930s, vacationing from their year-round residence in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Each year they would rent a different Evergreen home or cabin; in 1938 they rented the Homestead from the Canon family, learned it was for sale, and bought it.

The original log structure that had served as the basis for a summer camp (Camp Neosho) was redesigned and converted to an octagonal house built by noted architect, carpenter and stone mason Jock Spence, and is now known as the Hiwan Homestead Museum.

"I remember when daddy bought the famous Hereford, and we kept it in the area of The Hardware," she said about her father's setting a world record by paying $61,000 for a bull at the National Western Stock Show in 1947. The barn was constructed as a showbarn for the prize Herefords, thus explaining the name of the center – Showbarn Plaza. The showbarn is now home to the Evergreen Design Center on Meadow Drive, and the log building to the right was the orginal caretaker's house. The octagonal barn near Bergen Park, now the Blue Quill Angler, served as ranch headquarters.

Referring to her summers in Evergreen as a teenager, Joan remembered, "My sister, Barbara, and I always got two of the wildest horses to ride in the summers. Six or eight of us would start at the dam and race through town 'hell bent' for the post office [which used to be at the corner of what's now Meadow Drive and Hwy. 74]. Whoever could jump off the horse and get up on the porch at the post office first would win the banana split." The others had to pony up to pay for the prize at McCracken's Drug Store and then watch it be consumed.

Joan was a college student when her family moved to Evergreen. She earned a degree in fine art at Syracuse University and used her training to create wallpaper designs initially. The summers always brought her back, and she returned to make Colorado her home upon graduation.

By 1940 she had married Fred Goodale; they had four children. They spent the winters in Lakewood and every spare minute at "Hungry House," a cabin on the homestead that has since been torn down. When her parents died in the early 1960s, Joan bought her sisters' shares of the homestead and moved her family into the 17-room main house permanently. By then she'd added two stepchildren through her marriage to Nels Landy.  A third floor was also added to the main house during this time.  She took pride in having raised five teenageres at the homestead.

"Those were wonderful days," she said. "I'm so pleased it could be turned into a museum. I wish I could say I was the one who thought of that, but it wasn't until after we sold the homestead [and 18 acres] in 1973 that Jefferson County Open Space was formed." The homestead was one of the first purchases by the fund financed by sales tax and subseuquently gained recognition on the National Register of Historic Places.

Joan was known for her support of land preservation efforts of the Mountain Area Land Trust. "I feel like I'm the old woman on the mountain," she would say with reference to her testifying at hearings before the Open Space Advisory Committee during the successful bid to preserve Noble Meadow. "I suppose we were part of the beginning of the problem, since my family sold off parts of the ranch to develop the [Hiwan] golf course and what's now The Ridge and Hiwan."

The Buchanan family did play a part in transforming Evergreen into a year-round community with the development of upscale Hiwan Hills in the late 1940s. But, according to Evergren, Our Mountain Community, the friendly and informal Buchanan family was known for softening the solid social line drawn between permanent Evergreen residents and the 'summer people.' Joan carried on that reputation by being actively involved in many aspects of the Evergreen community throughout her life.

When the children were grown, Joan dusted off her easel, pulled out her paint brushes, and perfected her painting style in numerous workshops throughouth Colorado as well as in Italy, Carmel, and the Caribbean. She became a prolific painter, producing and selling scores of watercolors at serious prices. Her colorful flower garden often served as the subject of her paintings, but she was equally talented in depicting landscapes, animals, and people as well.

Joan was an active member of the Evergreen Artists' Association and the Foothills Art Center. Even with her oxygen tank in tow, Joan would fulfill her volunteer schedule for Mt. Evans Hospice, grocery shopping for patients who were shut it. She worked with the Mountain Area Land Trust in producing a videotape to aid in the preservation of open land and even appeared riding her horse in Novle Meadow in a commercial for cable TV to raise money for the Land Preservation Fund.

Joan was an accomplished equestrian and rode with the oxygen tank up until a few days before her death.