How to Help an Iowan Elder Who Lost Family Photos in the Colorado Fire


Dana Stevens Kogler and her family moved to Superior, Colorado on October 4 to be closer to extended family and “start a new chapter in life.”

Nearly three months later, her home was one of 1,084 that burned down in the 6,026-acre Marshall Fire, according to a Boulder County news release.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported that the Marshall Fire was the most destructive in state history due to the number of properties lost.

The Koglers had left Spokane, Washington, where they had lived since 2007.

But when people ask Stevens Kogler where she’s from, she has an answer.

Iowa City, Iowa.

“It will always be where I come from and it will always be home,” she said.

Stevens Kogler’ is the daughter of John MacPherson Stevens Jr. and Charlene Stevens.

His father’s family has roots in Iowa City dating back to the 1840s. But in a single day, decades of photos, yearbooks and bits of history were lost in the fire.

Now, Stevens Kogler hopes the Iowa City community can help him reclaim some of that history by taking a look at their photographs.

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City High, Summit Street: A look at the history of the Stevens in Iowa City

Elias and Olive Stevens moved from Vermont to Iowa City in the early 1840s. The Stevens were buried in Oakland Cemetery.

The Fiesler and Prybil and Slezak surnames would be introduced into the Stevens family over generations.

Stevens Kogler’s grandparents were John MacPherson Stevens and Mildred Marie Prybil. His grandfather founded Stevens Sand and Gravel Co.

In 1970, Stevens Kogler was born and raised in Rochester Court in Iowa City, bringing pool parties to mind in her home. The Stevens moved to Summit Street in 1986, and her mother renovated one of the homes in this historic neighborhood.

Stevens Kogler went to Hoover Elementary, South East Junior High and graduated from City High in 1988. His siblings, Trey and Shelley, graduated from City High in 1980 and 1983.

She said she grew up going to every Iowa Hawkeye football game at Kinnick Stadium, recalling her family being heavily involved in athletics.

Stevens Kogler’s connection to Iowa City remained even when she found herself raising a family elsewhere.

“My husband, he likes to say he got married in Iowa,” she said. “All my kids still know this is my home, and my home. We follow all the sports in Iowa. We follow all the news in Iowa. They have all their Iowa gear. It’s always there. in my family now because of all the history and roots we have in Iowa.

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“You just don’t know when something could happen”: lost family photos

While Stevens Kogler knows she can salvage some of the items related to her family’s history through genealogy websites or newspaper clippings, she seeks out things that capture the most intimate and personal memories of the family. history of his family.

Her mother had given her siblings all of their childhood photos. Stevens Kogler lost hers in the fire, and while she may be in photos of her siblings, Stevens Kogler is looking to salvage photos from her school days, playgrounds, or parties. birthday parties at Hoover, or the prom and her cheerleaders at City High.

“They weren’t digitized, and that was always my goal was to go and do that. But you just don’t know when something might happen,” she said.

Stevens Kogler kept her mother-made pom poms and cheerleading skirts. She had her photos sorted by year.

“These are memories that will live on in my heart forever,” she said. “But I would like to have a part of my story and my family’s story. In particular, it’s so important for my children and showing them that mom wasn’t always a mom.

Stevens Kogler said she wanted her children to have something from before the fire. Some things have been digitized, but others, like their artwork and photos, have disappeared.

Stevens Kogler competed in cross country at City High. She was a high jumper in track and field, ran long distances, and was a cheerleading captain.

His father also coached his softball team for a time.

Back to sports parades – Stevens Kogler said she and her family were part of every event in Iowa City.

One of the photos Stevens Kogler had was of his father crossing the finish line as he won a 100-yard sprint. His father, a 1960 City High graduate, raced legendary City High track coach John Raffensperger, who died in 2019.

He’s one of many former and current community members the Stevens have come across over their decades-long history in Iowa City.

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Where to send photos and other ways to help

Stevens Kogler’s cousin lived three houses away from their home in Superior.

“I’m pretty sure she saved my family’s life,” Stevens Kogler said.

On the day of the fire, Stevens Kogler’s husband, Adam, thought the dark skies and windy weather were signs of a tornado.

He and their children went to the basement. It filled with smoke.

The fire alarms went off and they went upstairs, but Adam Kogler didn’t think it was safe to go out.

Stevens Kogler was at work. The Marshall Fire was reported after 11 a.m. and grew throughout the day, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management.

“I called my cousin and she was like, ‘Get out, get out now. Don’t take anything, get out. And they did,” she said. “They just ran away and embers and ash were falling all around them.”

Stevens Kogler’s family and his 220-pound dog fled their home.

Stevens Kogler has opened an email account [email protected] so that people with photos, images or information related to his family can send them.

The Koglers also have a GoFundMe page to help the family move forward.

Stevens Kogler said she appreciates anyone who reaches out with something they’ve linked to their story.

“Iowa City and its surrounding community are one of the best and most loving and supportive communities ever to be a part of,” she said.

Paris Barraza covers entertainment, lifestyle and the arts at Iowa City Press-Citizen. Contact her at [email protected] or (319) 519-9731. Follow her on Twitter @ParisBarraza.

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