Monthly Archives: January 2009

Tea Time at the Brown Palace Hotel

I did not see the National Western Stock Show this year. Usually, it is my chance to go totally Western and get in touch with my inner cowgirl. When things go right, I catch the mule and draft horse classes. Last year, I got up close and personal with yaks. However, I had some stock show fun right smack in the middle of Denver’s most beautiful historic hotel lobby, at the Brown Palace. We were in the vicinity while the Grand Champion Steer was on display in the lobby tea room. This tradition has taken place each year at stock show time since 1945. The steer, a black angus named Chavez, was paired up with a partner named Rolex to keep him calm in his pen. A crowd of folks took advantage of a chance to get up close and personal and for a photo with the champ and his buddy, both splendidly groomed, their coats fluffy and gleaming for the occasion.You’ve got to love the West, where folks don’t take themselves too seriously. Rather than deny Cow Town roots, Denver flaunts them. Where else can you have high tea in a historic hotel while gazing across the room at a Black Angus steer.

— Joyce Lohse, 1/27/09
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Posted by on January 27, 2009 in Denver history


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Historic Postcards

One of my favorite tools for research and touching the past is the postcard. Antique stores and postcard shows are a great place to view and purchase images from the past. This past weekend, I attended the Denver Postcard and Paper Show with my research friend, Christie. We did not buy much, but we had a wonderful time looking at images from the past. I purchased 2 post cards to give for a birthday present. Christie bought an old mine document.

When I was a docent for the William Henry Jackson view photo display at the Colorado Historical Society, I learned that Jackson created the first postcards sent through the mail. As a boy, Jackson earned a few coins by painting decorative landscapes on his neighbors’ screen doors. When he was a soldier in the Civil War, Jackson spent his leisure time creating small sketches of scenes around the campfire. The soldiers were so impressed with his sketches that they asked to write messages on them to send in the mail. As the story goes, Jackson’s sketches were the first picture post cards.

I became interested in postcards as a youngster. During the 50’s, my family took long car trips from Chicago to Florida and back. I picked up postcards along the way and kept them in an album. I have continued sending postcards when I travel, and I enjoy receiving them from others.

More recently, at a meeting of the Columbine Genealogical and Historical Society, I renewed my interest after a presentation by a woman who deals in historic postcards. Images on these cards show how places looked back in the day, with buildings and landmarks which might no longer exist. Fashions, trends and modes of transportation are documented as well as locations. Postcards provide a rare glimpse into the historic past.

— Joyce Lohse, 1/19/09

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Posted by on January 19, 2009 in Western history


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Red Hat Not Required

Red Hot Sundays for Red Hat Ladies
$20 ($13 members) includes program at 2 p.m., refreshments at 3 p.m. and admission to the Colorado History Museum.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
2 p.m. Red Hot Activism, Molly Brown Style
Molly Brown’s heroic deeds as a survivor of the Titanic disaster are well known. However, many people don’t know about the causes which commanded the attention and energy of the real Margaret Brown. Award-winning biographer Joyce Lohse will share details about this fascinating woman’s activism and philanthropy.
Reservations are needed: 303/866.4686.

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Posted by on January 12, 2009 in Denver history


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The General is coming!


A few days ago, I received the edits for my latest manuscript, General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer. Looks like my work is cut out for me as we hope to have the book published by early February, in time for a reading conference in Denver. This book has been a long time coming. It began almost two years ago and has gone through a couple of incarnations since its inception. I am excited that we are getting close to finalizing it for the “Now You Know Bio” series from Filter Press. To read more about the offerings from Filter Press, go to

General Palmer’s story is an exciting one of western pioneering spirit at its finest. Born in 1836, Palmer grew up with a fascination for railroad transportation and wide open spaces. As an officer of the Union Army during the Civil War, he was taken a prisoner of war for spying. After the war, he went to work for the railroads, eventually starting his own company, the Denver & Rio Grande. His narrow gauge “baby railroad” opened frontiers by connecting eastern and western routes through the rugged Colorado high country. He settled areas including the beautiful resort city of Colorado Springs where he settled with his wife Queen and built a castle in the foothills. Life threw many challenges at him which he overcame with dignity and perseverance.

Watch for publication of Palmer’s story early in 2009. This will be my fifth book for Filter Press in Palmer Lake, Colorado. With much pleasure and excitement, I have learned a great deal about the history of the railroads during the years of Western expansion, and I am anxious to share those stories with my readers and at upcoming presentations.

With best regards — Joyce Lohse


Posted by on January 3, 2009 in Western history


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Happy New Year

A new year is a great time to contemplate an already busy calendar full of new ways to reach out and touch history. In this column, I will share my adventures as I write stories about pioneers, conduct research in the Rocky Mountain West, and find new ways to enjoy and share Western history. For more information about my books and presentations about Western pioneers, check out my web site at

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Posted by on January 3, 2009 in Western history