Howard and Lena Carman owners of The Big Thompson Indian Village



Howard and Lena Carman
Owners of
The Big Thompson Indian Village
Loveland, Colorado

"A New Chapter"

       We are saddened that this landmark in the Big Thompson Canyon is no longer, especially with the history behind it.  The owners of Big Thompson Indian Village, Howard and Lena Carman first opened the store in 1971, and over the years have built it into the unique gift and antique shop that it was today. They raised their two children there, who both attended Big Thompson Elementary and graduated from Thompson Valley High School in Loveland. The family survived the destructive flood of 1976.  They repaired their home and store as well as rebuilt the business itself. They transformed the old Log Cabin gift shop into a wonderful rock structure.  This one-of-a-kind Indian store truly offered a unique shopping experience.  From the fine Indian Jewelry and wide variety of handmade Indian arts and crafts, to the old fashioned Coke machine, and an overall  “museum” atmosphere as you entered through the heavy old door, what a treat.  Not to mention, the antique cameras, the extraordinary collection of old Indian Baskets or the old west artifacts......and Oh so much more than just a "gift shop". There was nothing ordinary about this stop in the Big Thompson Canyon.  

       You could often see a fisherman fishing from the foot bridge in the back yard, that Howard built.  Picnics being enjoyed on the lawn by visiting tourist and even hosting a few weddings down by the river in the lovely back yard setting. Howard and Lena so enjoyed opening their home and business to all of their visitors, the locals and the great distance travelers. Know that you were all treasured and will be missed. So much more could be said about this amazing couple, but I think I will leave that to you to put in the comment section. Thank you all, for a wonderful 40 plus years. They got to do what they loved, raise their children in a beautiful area where they could run, play and explore. They could not have done it without you.

Before September 12, 2013

After September 12, 2013

       The Big Thompson Indian Village was one of the few businesses in the canyon to survive the 1976 Big Thompson Canyon flood.  Unfortunately that is not the case this time. On September 12, 2013; The Big Thompson Indian Village was lost to the river, along with all other buildings on the property, including the home of the owners Howard and Lena Carman. All that remains is the business sign, a covered wagon and a horse trailer.

We are so very thankful that Howard and Lena Carman are safe. They were rescued on Saturday, September 14, 2013.  PRAISE THE LORD... Many prayers went up on their behalf from family and friends. They are physically okay, although; still in shock. They are still trying to wrap their minds around the fact that their home and life of 40 plus years is gone. Their history as well as their future. 

Well, we are hoping to do something about the “Future” part.  Many of  their family and friends have asked “What can we do - how can we help?” Their daughter, Kari Zasadil; daughter-in-law, Mary Carman; and Lena’s sister, Nellie Zimmerman are working together to make a difference. By setting up this web site.  Which will provide a place for family and friends to post a note and/or make a donation to them as they begin this “New Chapter” of their life.  If you know Howard and Lena, you know that it is difficult for them to get help instead of giving help. They have always been there for anyone and everyone that needed it (even if it was to share stories over coffee or eat ice cream on the porch). It is our hope that we can at least help them get back on their feet again and have a good place to live so that they can begin filling that home with the love that they so readily give.

The Big Thompson Indian Village was loved by many and visited by generations. That is apparent from the number of inquires and concerns we have received about the store and Howard and Lena’s welfare in the aftermath of the flood.  There is a comment section on this web page, please feel free to leave comments and memory’s there, as we feel this would be as good as medicine to the bruised spirits of Howard and Lena. It has also come to our attention that they had no idea how important this store was to those that visited, therefore, Mary Carman is putting together a scrapbook that will have shared memories and photos of all of you who would like to share. This will be something they can look back upon and see that the time spent and love shared through the store is something that will transcend time and will always live within the hearts of those touched by their kindness.

 We will be monitoring and updating the website as Howard and Lena’s future unfolds.

Thank you all for your love, prayers and support for this talented, generous, and hardworking couple.

From their family,

Daughter and family:  Kari, Jeff, James & Alisha Zasadil of Lake Havasu City, Arizona   

Son and family:   Wade, Mary, Daynara, Cordel & Trevor Carman of Loveland, Colorado  

Sister:  Nellie and Ron Zimmerman

Mother:  Esther Hoyt

Please come to visit our webpage again soon, as we still adding many more photographs to the galleries. They range from 1936 when the first road in the Big Thompson Canyon was completed, to our beloved canyon throughout the years up to the devastation after the flood of 2013.  If you have any photographs that you think should be added to this site please send them to [email protected] .   Also under "about me" we will be putting in a history of the Big Thompson Indian Village and the Big Thompson Canyon.