If using an image in a publication or reproduction, please credit the Salida Regional Library, Salida, Colorado.
Special Thanks to Morgan Brooks for donating this collection to the library.
(click on each image for a larger view)
Frank Gimlett, otherwise known as ‘The Hermit of Arbor Villa’ owned two businesses in Salida: Colorado Wholesale Mercantile and Gimlett Lumber & Supply Co. In the 1940s, his Salida warehouse burned down and he subsequently lost interest in the business, abandoned his wife Gertrude, and moved above Maysville, Colorado, where he bought a small parcel of land, named it Arbor Villa (located between Maysville & Garfield), and became a hermit.
Most of his time was spent panning for gold in the surrounding gorges but he also sold post cards to tourists on the summit of Monarch Pass to make his ‘foldin’ money’. He was an advocate for the reinstatement of the gold standard and frequently traveled to the east visiting with congress to promote his agenda.
Gertrude and Frank had two children, Irwin and Dorothy. Dorothy married Salida native Graeme Morgan and had a daughter, Doris, who in turn had a son Morgan (the Hermit’s great-grandson). Morgan fondly remembers getting kicked off both Samson and Delilah, the Hermit’s beloved donkeys.
The Hermit published a 9 volume history of Colorado entitled ‘Over the Trails of Yesterday’, which is available for checkout at the Salida Library.
The Hermit would also dress as Santa Claus at Christmas and arrive in Salida on a special Denver & Rio Grande train. This article is from the Salida Daily-Mail Record, December 20, 1948.
Frank E. Gimlett died February 1, 1952.
Frank Gimlett’s obituary — from the Salida Daily Mail-Record, February 4, 1952.
Photographs from the Hermit of Arbor Villa Collection
Postcards sold by The Hermit to Monarch Pass tourists.
The Salida Library carries all 9 volumes of the Hermit’s epic, Over trails of yesterday: stories of colorful characters that lived, labored, loved, fought, and died in the gold and silver West.