Who Knew She Was So Much Fun? Anne Evans’ Zest for Life


As I enjoyed the celebrations of the holiday season, I remembered one aspect of Anne Evans’ personality, which I have not yet had an opportunity to “blog” about. This was her incredible zest for life. Spending any time as her guest was, by all accounts, a rare and enjoyable experience.

Anne in front of her cabin fireplace. Painting by Allen True, The Trappers (above), Courtesy Margaret E. Hayden

Anne in front of her cabin fireplace. Painting by Allen True, The Trappers (above), Courtesy Margaret E. Hayden

    • After a few day’s stay at Anne Evans’ mountain home, one guest wrote on behalf of a small group, The hospitality of your friendly home quite overwhelmed us all…Dr. Steiner said ‘in some homes one sees only wealth and material plenty, but In Miss Evans’ home one sees love and a great spirit.‘ I(p. 345)


    • In the research about her life, I found several accounts of her idea of hosting children as guests at her home on the Evans Ranch and quoted my favorite: A young niece and nephew, aged 11 and 13, were sent to spend a summer on the ranch with their Great Aunt. They were interviewed. Wide-eyed and apprehensive, they were told that one rule and one rule only must be obeyed. They trembled. “You must have a good time! (p. 346)


  • Anne Evans enjoyed the creative effort of devising plays and pageantry, both as part of the elaborate summer life up on the Evans Ranch, and as a participant in social and artistic activities in Denver. One such occasion was vividly described by Miriam Washburn Adams, remembering the time she was an art student from Colorado Springs, taking classes in the Denver Atelier headed by architect Burnham Hoyt, a longtime friend of Anne Evans. (pp. 356-8)
Anne Evans cabin staircase, Courtesy Margaret E. Hayden

Anne Evans cabin staircase, Courtesy Margaret E. Hayden

Miss Anne told Burnie she had written a medieval play she wanted acted on the stairway in her Mt. Evans home. She wanted ten members of the Atelier to come up Friday and give the play Sunday evening. Burnie sent word to us to be at Willie Mead’s studio by 4:30 Friday afternoon. They had medieval costumes we could be squeezed into…I assure you as we drove through Denver, in the then popular open cars, we were gazed at–catcalls, boos, etc….Miss Anne all but expired when we tumbled into her house all dressed in these costumes! We looked wonderful that evening, in her out-of-this-world house with the enormous logs that made the inside as well as the outside…At breakfast, I will admit, we were a wild sight…

Burnie had us working all day Saturday…making all kinds of necessary crowns, horses, stars, out of cardboard; and believe you me, they had to be perfect–we were working for a perfectionist–but luckily one who could point the way to perfection. One development almost brought the project to a halt. After the most delicious lunch Saturday…it turned out a poisonous toadstool had been lurking in the lunch bowl. Sunday produced a sorry lot of actors. Burnie was the color of chalk. I was all right if I could sit down. By three in the afternoon most has recovered and they started rehearsing. At six, they gave the play.

Margaret Evans Davis (Anne Evans’ niece) read the words on the other side of the screen as she wove her tapestry. Most of us were holding positions and draped up the stairs–Burnie and another man having a big tilt or joust on wooden horses at the top of the stairs. It really must have been fantastically lovely.

Costumed horse for circus performance, Courtesy Margaret E. Hayden

Costumed horse for circus performance, Courtesy Margaret E. Hayden

The audience for this intense effort was small (seven in all including Anne Evans) as it was for many other efforts on the ranch over the years. The reward was apparently more in participating than in the applause.


  1. Peggy says:

    How wonderful that you keep Anne Evans’ spirit alive with your blog about how alive she was, Barbara. Reminds me of YOU.


    • Barbara E. Sternberg says:

      Dear Peggy,
      What a lovely comment, thank you. I do enjoy blogging about Anne Evans in all her diversity; AND receiving comments that indicate that people are actually reading them.

  2. Linda Kirkpatrick says:

    What a fun blog entry to read! This reminds me of some of the photos Peg Hayden showed me way back….

  3. Kathi Bernier says:

    I loved watching and learning about the ways family and friends enjoyed being together. It reminds me very much of the large family that I was a part of. I was the oldest of 28 grandchildren and felt (in my early years) that I was almost in charge of this group. I recently came back from California where much of my family lives. It is always a wonderful time–playing together never stops. We all learned more of each other and celebrated our family.

    • Barbara E. Sternberg says:

      Dear Kathi,
      It is great to know that the traditions of families getting together and playing together still persist. Thank you for the glimpse of the joys of your extended family life.

  4. Mag Hayden says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I’ve been thinking–the young woman in front of the fireplace looks an awful lot like my grandmother as a teenage girl.

    What do you think?


    • Barbara E. Sternberg says:

      Dear Mag,
      When I met your grandmother (Margaret Evans Davis) she was 91 years old, wearing a bandana on her head and carrying a very big stick. Even then, she was clearly full of life. I agree that your grandmother and Anne Evans shared many qualities, including a wide range of abilities and a huge zest for life.

  5. Dear Barbara,
    hmmmm “zest for life”…….”you must have a good time”…..seems like you are secretly writing about yourself…..
    love and joy to you dear Barbara from Myron and me,

    • Barbara E. Sternberg says:

      Dear Lawrence,
      Always a joy to hear from you. I don’t think I have half the zest for life that Anne Evans did, but it is a very nice thought. As Ever, Barbara

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For information about Anne Evans & the book: Jillian.Allison@state.co.us
This project is co-published with the Center for Colorado and the West Auraria Library.
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