Humphrey, Hazel Harry and Hazel Lou

Written by Angela Rayne on .



Hazel Harry Hammer Humphrey (mother)

1881 - 1972

Hazel Lucia (Hazel Lou) Humphrey (daughter)

1917 - 1995


Hazel Harry was born to Mary Amaryllis Hammer and Judge D. Harry Hammer, wealthy Chicagoans among the city's social elite.  Childhood was a dizzying delight of formal parties often featuring orchestras, ventriloquists and costumed entertainers, elaborate dress, and sumptuous presents.  Nurses and maids accompanied their little charges.  Enrollment at such insitutions as the dance academy, finishing schools and seminaries was de rigueur for Hazel Harry and her contemporaries.

She spent many a happy day at the Hammer family farm picking potato bugs (earning a penny for each hundred!), mowing lawns, riding horses, feeding chickens and gathering eggs.  The healthful farm environment may have influenced her decision at age 14 to become a vegetarian, unusual for that time and certainly at that young age.  Mary Amaryllis Hammer seldom accompanied Hazel Harry on these outings.

Her adolescence was described as a series of summer vacation travels, some of which accommodated Hazel Harry's horse, Colonel, and his cart, as well as the family dog.  Winters were often spent at various fashionable Chicago hotels.  Young Hazel Harry, home from school, had the opportunity one winter to meet Buffalo Bill Cody, who was residing at the same hotel.  Their meeting would prove significant in later years.

On a trip with Mary Amaryllis to a Women's Club Convention in Colorado, Hazel Harry met a young Denver newspaperman at a dance.  As their friendship deepened, Mama became alarmed and whisked Hazel Harry away to Europe on an extended tour filled with such events as a Windsor Castle party, theater performances, riding lessons, sojourns in Holland, Germany and Paris, and a return to London to sail home.  Hazel Harry, however, was not to be distracted by the social whirl.  Correspondence between Hazel Harry and her beau continued and, much to her mother's chagrin, Hazel Harry became Mrs. Carl Paddock on October 30, 1901.  Her only attendant was her younger brother, Harry Hammer, Jr., as ring bearer.

Carl Hiram "Pad" Paddock earned $150/month as State Editor of the Denver Republican.  A native of Vermont, he had moved to California after school graduation at his doctor's recommendation to relieve his asthma.  His parents moved to Colorado where he joined them and completed his science degree in 1987.  Hazel's daughter would later describe him as "the living example of poor but honest.  He never had an extra cent."

For 13 years, through struggle and loss, Hazel Harry and Pad crisscrossed the country from California to Virginia in pursuit of "dreams and schemes which never materialized."  Ward Edgerton Paddock was born in 1903 and Marion Ernest Paddock in 1907 (she died at the age of 10 months).  Judge Hammer died in 1904.  When Pad died in 1914, Mama refused to help Hazel Harry and young Ward.

For two more years, Hazel Harry's fortitude and resilience pieced together a living for her and her son.  Then, in 1916, she met and married Lee Humphrey.  He, too, was from Vermont and a newspaperman, but of greater aptitude and success.  Hardworking, respected among his peers, he had come to Colorado with his ailing wife in hope of a cure for her tuberculosis and stayed on when she succumbed.

Hazel Harry and Lee found happiness together in a brick bungalow in Denver where Hazel Lou Humphrey was born in January of 1917.

The family soon moved to a spacious two-story home on four lots with a screened porch, billiard room and outdoor barn, chicken coops, fruit trees and vegetable beds.  The only babysitter Hazel Lou ever knew was their neighbor named Timberline, a 6'5" artist whose wife was a dwarf he had married to care for her.  It was here that Hazel brought Buffalo Bill Cody's horse, Whitey, who had been retired to a Wyoming ranch after Colonel Cody's death death.

When a property in Bergen Park became available in 1920, they bought the 350-acre logging ranch on Soda Creek Road.

Young Hazel Lou was less than enthused about the living accommodations, so dissimilar from her fine home in Denver.  She referred to it as "a shack."  "The roof leaked, the windows were shattered, big holes in the floor allowed squirrels to poke their heads up, and the place was full of bedbugs," she wrote.  Most frightening was the open ladder leading to her room on the second floor.

However, once the loggers who had been employed on the property moved out, the house was repaired for use as a summer home or year-around home for Ward, who was working for the forest service.  A tragic accident took the life of Ward at age 18, and his mother never recovered from his loss.

Kinnikinik Ranch, as the property was known, underwent numerous transformations and renovations in the following years.  Two storage rooms and a bath were added, all of the same hand-hewn logs as the main building.  A screened porch later became a laundry room and back entry.  The old homesteaders' cabin was dismantled and carefully rebuilt as a bedroom addition beyond the living room.  The ranch became the Humphrey's permanent residence.

The two Hazels, mother and daughter, traveled extensively and enjoyed collecting and displaying artifacts from the exotic cultures they explored.  Today, visitors to the Humphrey Museum and Memorial Park can appreciate, in a real-life setting, the objects and mementos they loved and lived with every day.  From Japan to Russia and in between, their appreciation for art from over a half a century ago is evident in every room.

The family legacy abides in the Huphrey Museum and Memorial Park.  The house remains as Hazel Lou left it on the day she died in 1995; the outbuildings and grounds are being lovingly restored to reflect the times and pursuits of the family who lived in and loved this "wild and spacious tract, covered with pine and hemlock ... and surrounded with snow-capped mountains."

Source:  the writings of Hazel Lou Humphrey