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When I was in Kindergarten in Wheatridge, CO, my friend, Stephen's father was the superintendent at Ridge home- at least I think. That has been so many years ago. I believe their last name was something like Zear. Stephen's sister's name was Sandra. I think the father passed away at a young age. i don't know how long he was in the administration there at Ridge Home, but I know they lived on the grounds there in 1964 or 1965. Does any of this sound familiar to anyone?

I moved to Arvada, CO in 1969. Every morning I rode a bus to downtown Denver where I worked. There were mentally retarded teenagers from Ridge who had jobs downtown and rode the same bus. They usually all sat up front, right behind the driver. I enjoyed sitting in the seats close by so that I could listen to them. They were all very chatty about their day at work. I don't remember them talking about Ridge Home. They were all so proud of the jobs they performed. They even boosted that they were going to save up enough money and buy cars so they wouldn't have to ride the bus! I had such a good impression about Ridge at that time, even though I had heard negative comments about it. The children were all happy, enthusiastic about life, polite, well behaved and laughed a lot! It was a very good experience for me, being from a small midwest town. Where I grew up children like them were kept at home and mistreated by their own families. I thought Ridge sounded like a wonderful place and they lived in a family-type atmosphere.

My mother worked there for a decade plus, and helped set up the group homes that many of the residents were relocated to. I kinda grew up there, as I was often forced to occompany my mom to work ( punishment for untrustworthy latch key kids). This was the late seventies and early 80's. By mid 80's it was all group homes. Even as a child, the whole place had a profound affect on me. I participated in a class when I was about 5 called "Skip School" were "normal" kids attended class with residents of an equililent learning level. When I was 8-13 I remember wandering the vast campus, playing on the trampolines, the gyms, the creek/ irrigation canal, getting caught in a massive baseball size hail storm. Most of all I remember some of the residents, individually and very specifically, if not always their names. I remember that my mother cared deeply for them, and had this hanging in her office that said something to the effect of that these people were "pure and innocent, free from the ails of society."
As an adult thinking back on the place, I can see the potential for abuse, underfunding and such.
That facility was part of my mother, and part of me too. It was where my mom worked, and as I child it was all I knew about her. She continued working with the developmentally disabled in group homes long after her retirement.
Sorry for the ramble, reading this blog just flooded me with memories.

Me too. There were wonderful people there, like your Mother. I was recruited because they trusted me. The woman who trained me sounds like your Mother. The dates are even close. It was a tragedy for everyone!!! I was happy to hear your story.

I worked at Ridge Home as a candy striped (volunteer) in the early 60’s. I cared for smaller children and people with hydrocephalus. It was definitely overload for me. I remember one boy who seemed to have average intelligence, but had club feet, which at that time was treatable. He should not have been there. I was alone with about 30 children at one time.

My son David Bryan Bray was admitted to State Home and Training School at Wheat Ridge,Colo. on Sept. 26, 1963. He was severely retarded and a crib patient. I have been trying to find his burial place for years now. He passed away within a year of pneumonia.

Does anyone know if there are burial records, a cemetery, or some way to find those who died while living at this facility. I'm searching for a man that was about 15 at the time of the 1940 census. None of his living relatives know what ever happened to him. It looks like he went to live there after his mother died and his father remarried.

Hi Diane - It sounds like you have a very challenging, and very heartbreaking, research puzzle on your hands. We have a resource, the Denver Obituary Project, which is an index of obituaries that appeared in Denver newspapers between 1922 and contemporary times. These records are arranged by date of death, so you may have to do some digging. Also, if you are in touch with this young man's direct descendants, it should be possible for them to get a copy of his death certificate from the State of Colorado vitals records offices. I hope this information helps you, but please don't hesitate to contact us directly if you have any additional questions we can help with. 


I am thrilled to say I helped “Officials”!to close it down. In College I volunteered to work there for extra credit towards my degree.
I cannot say a lot as I signed a NDA. I can say, they did Hysterectomies on 12 year olds without consent. I saw the Incisions and with equipment I was supplied with, took pictures and recorded statements. I understood that my name would never be mentioned. I got my thanks when they closed the place down. You people don’t know the half of it. It was like walking into Hell, with kindness praying they would be placed in a better place.

It’s still not closed down....... it’s a blessing for many people and families.