DEL NORTE — The Rio Grande County Museum will be celebrating Del Norte’s 150th anniversary with a special guest from noon to 2 p.m. on Dec. 12. Several weeks ago, one of the descendants from Jacob Gredig visited the museum and shared her lifelong journey that eventually landed her back in Del Norte where she was born.
Margaret Annine Gredig Untiedt was born and raised in Del Norte. She has vivid memories of her grandfather, Jacob Gredig and his wife, Annine for whom she was named after.
Annine graduated from Del Norte Schools in 1941, just before the start of World War II and traveled to California where she lived for most of her life. Through the years, her and her family donated items from the Gredig family to the museum, including a collection of clothing that belonged to her grandmother.
Annine was born on the same day Del Norte was incorporated 50 years before her birth and she had one request after visiting the museum this summer — she wanted to have her 99th birthday surrounded by her family’s history and the museum was more than happy to oblige.
The Gredig family came from Switzerland in 1856, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean on a Tincondera Sailboat. John Gredig eventually journeyed to Denver, looking for his chance at fortune in the Pikes Peak Gold Rush sometime around 1859. After striking out, he ventured west and began building toll roads in San Juan Country before leaving for the Civil War.
Once the war was over, John Gredig and his family came back to the San Luis Valley and purchased the land where Del Norte now sits. It was during this time that a group of prospectors approached Gredig and requested permission to build a town after finding gold in the Summitville area. Gredig agreed and gifted the land needed to build the town minus four blocks which is known as the Gredig addition. John Gredig became the first postmaster for the town of Loma which was located on the north side of the Rio Grande before the town of Del Norte was finished.
John Gredig’s son, and Annine’s grandfather Jacob grew up during the early days of Del Norte alongside his father and told tales of those days to his granddaughter Annine.
“I remember sitting on his lap and he would tell me stories of when he was a boy. He would teach me words in Swedish. He was such a kind man,” said Annine.
The Rio Grande County Museum invites the public to help celebrate 150 years of history and to celebrate the birthday of this special family and Annine from noon until 2 p.m. on Dec. 12. There will be light refreshments and people sharing stories of Del Norte.