How Leslie’s Curve got its name |

How Leslie’s Curve got its name

Alli Langley
Colorado Highway 9 will be rerouted west away from Leslie's Curve, shown here, during construction planned for 2016 and 2017. | Summit Daily News

Names of geographic landmarks around Summit County draw inspiration from Native American words, mining tales and ski industry pioneers.

The origin of Leslie’s Curve is a little different.

The segment of Highway 9 along Dillon Reservoir in Frisco between St. Anthony Summit Medical Center and Summit High School is notorious for car accidents, according to CDOT, and was named after one such incident in the early 1960s. (The highway will be rerouted west away from Leslie’s Curve during construction planned for 2016 and 2017.)

The road was built during construction of Dillon Reservoir, which began in 1961 and finished in 1963.

Sometime around then, a man named Les McMacken drove off the road and totaled his Cadillac, remembered John Polhemus, 62, of Frisco.

Polhemus, Summit County’s road and bridge director, moved to Old Dillon, now under the reservoir, with his family in the late 1950s and has lived in Summit ever since.

He graduated from Summit High School and went to school with McMacken’s children.

McMacken opened, owned and ran the Log Cabin Cafe on Main Street in Frisco, which still serves breakfast and lunch under different ownership.

When he wrecked his car at the curve that now bears his name, Polhemus said, the reservoir still wasn’t completely filled, so McMacken crashed into land instead of water.

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