Log In

Reset Password
Columnists View from the Center Bear Smart The Travel Troubleshooter Dear Abby Student Aide Of Sound Mind Others Say Powerful solutions You are What You Eat Out Standing in the Fields What's up in Durango Skies Watch Yore Topknot Local First RE-4 Education Update MECC Cares for kids

The Wielangs, a pioneer family, commemorated in garden

Dick and Cheryl Wielang Shaw celebrate the placing of the stone commemorating her great-grandparents’ role as early pioneers in La Plata County at the Durango Botanical Society’s Demonstration Garden behind the Durango Public Library along the Animas River Trail. Joseph and Agatha Wielang homesteaded on the Florida Mesa in 1893.

By Ann Butler

Neighbors Columnist

The next time you’re walking down the Animas River Trail behind the Durango Public Library, take a gander at the commemorative book stones in the Durango Botanical Society’s Demonstration Garden.

A recent addition is for the Wielang family, given by George R. “Bob” and Ruth (Williams) Wielang in honor of their La Plata County pioneering families. Their daughter, Cheryl Wielang Shaw, and her husband, Dick Shaw, attended the commemoration of the stone a couple of weeks ago, with John and Theresa Anderson (she’s on the society’s board) overseeing the installation.

Bob Wielang’s grandparents, Joseph and Agatha Wielang, homesteaded on the Florida Mesa circa 1893. Bob and his siblings grew up with their parents Joseph F. and Eda (Schumacher) Wielang on Reservoir Hill, on land that now encompasses the (relatively) new city of Durango Reservoir and Hillcrest Golf Course.

He noticed that when he sits in the garden where the stone is placed, he can see the hillside where he once roamed.

Ruth Wielang’s family moved to the Kline and Breen area in 1928 but had been in Colorado since the 1870s. Her father, George Williams, farmed and owned Breen Mercantile with Ross Kimsey. Her mother, Goldie Williams, was an active member of the southwest La Plata County Helping One Another group.

Both George and Ruth Wielang graduated from Durango High School in the 1940s.

What a great way to remember your family’s contributions to building this community.


Check back at durangoherald.com for more Neighbors stories and photos. Neighbors runs in the Sunday print edition of The Durango Herald.

Here’s how to reach me: neighbors@durangoherald.com; phone 375-4584; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk. Please include contact names and phone numbers for all items. Follow me on Twitter @Ann_Neighbors.

I am happy to consider photos for Neighbors, but they must be high-quality, high-resolution photos (at least 1 MB of memory) and include no more than three to five people. I need to know who’s who, left to right, and who to credit with the photo. Candid photos are better than posed, and photos should be submitted as JPG or TIF attachments.

Reader Comments