The Grand County Characters will present a portrayal of the Rowley Family on Wednesday, July 11, at 7 p.m. at the Rowley Homestead at YMCA-Snow Mountain Ranch.
The Rowleys were newcomers to the area in 1919, living in a tent on the property adjacent to the Just Ranch, also part of the YMCA. The cabin and barn overlook Pole Creek.
Over the years, Fred Rowley was able to prove-up the homestead, while working occasionally at the Moffat Railroad roundhouse in Tabernash. His wife and children moved to Denver during the bitter cold winters in Grand County, while Frederick stayed at the homestead.
Dave Naples will play Frederick Rowely. As the president of the Grand County Characters he thoroughly researches each historical character that is acted out - chautauqua-style.
"The audience should feel like they spent time with each character with this type of performance," Naples said.
Naples has studied the Rowley family from his research at the YMCA, historical periodicals, and at libraries.
Frederick Rowely and wife Martha had three children: Frederick Jr., Oprah, and Clara.
"They originated in Denver and with the homestead act the Rowley Family decided came to Winter Park, although it is unclear why they chose the Winter Park area behind what is now the YMCA area, he said.
Fred didn't make enough money from the homestead to make a living. He did have to buy water rights from the Just Family on Pole Creek.
Naples has never been nervous while on stage during the Grand County Characters events, which are held throughout the year in Grand County.
"I've been performing since I was 16; I'm 62 now," said Naples.
"I've been a musician for most of my life and had the lead in high school and college musicals. I like what we do with the historical aspect of the historical people. I'm all about the accurate portrayal of the people."
Naples plays several historical characters in the Grand County Characters including David Moffat, the brainchild of the Moffat Road, popularly known as Corona (Rollins) Pass Road.
The event is free and open to the public.
- Kristen Lodge can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610