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History Repeats

Denver Welcome Arch

Denver Welcome Arch Early 1900s

My research route took me once again to the Denver Post Card Show. Do not overlook post cards as a fun and fabulous source for historic images from the past. Another Denver Post Card Show is scheduled for April 30 and May 1 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall. Be careful. Collecting historic post cards can be addictive. Check E-Bay and online sources as well.

There is a movement afoot to rebuild the Denver Welcome Arch, pictured in the post card image above. The arch, built about 1906 in front of Union Train Station, was torn down around 1930 as a traffic impediment. Rumor has it that pieces of the original arch still exist in dark corners of basements in the LoDo section of Denver. History buffs are collecting money, interest and energy to rebuild it. History repeats, indeed!

A productive history week in Colorado continued. With the sun on our faces and snow crunching under our boots, my research pal, Christie, and I enjoyed the outdoors while tracking down cemetery facts in the bone yard. The next day found me indoors at Denver Public Library. While DPL struggles through construction woes, I sailed through reels of microfilm to collect data for a research client. Repeating visits to familiar haunts and repositories often yields new material and interesting experiences. This week was no exception to that rule.

History repeated on the front page of the Denver Post this week. Mayor John Hickenlooper announced he will run for state governor. My favorite pioneer governor, John L. Routt’s photo, appeared on the same page. Routt, the subject of my book, “First Governor, First Lady”,  was the first Denver mayor to run for governor, as Hickenlooper has chosen to do. Ah, yes, history repeats. Hickenlooper is a literary fellow. He introduced Kurt Vonnegut for a speech I attended about a decade ago. It was a stunning moment when I realized I would fulfill my destiny as a writer. So it goes.

Joyce Lohse, 1/15/10
http://www.lohseworks.com

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2010 in Denver history

 

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History In My Hands

 

History researchers in Denver beware and be aware. As of Oct. 31, the Colorado Historical Society is closing its library for the next two years while they move and reconstruct their museum. Yes, I said two YEARS!! Realization of this closure has thrown my research schedule for my next biography into panic mode. The subject for the next book is Elizabeth Tabor, known around Colorado as “Baby Doe”, the Silver Queen of Leadville.

Although my writing and research schedule has become somewhat tospy-turvy and compressed, I hit paydirt this week when I squeezed in a visit to CHS before the impending closure. The large volume of the Tabor holdings are a two edged sword. The good news is that there is much information to read, view and assimilate. The bad news is that it takes time and organization to sort through the inconsequential, sift down to the nitty-gritty, and identify the really good stuff.

Frustrations slip away when treasures fall into the researchers hands. Fortunately, those moments came and I was transported to a time long ago when our pioneer state was newly formed. A silver king named H.A.W. Tabor put aside his ego and business concerns to scribble words of love to “Lizzie”, the bold script fading but the intent still clear on thin scraps of paper. A voyeur into the past, I was able to interpret these items directly from the source. History was in my hands.

I will miss CHS while they regroup. However, when one door closes, two more usually open. The adventure is just beginning. I am almost grateful that I was forced to scramble into disjointed action. Almost.

Joyce Lohse, 10/23/09

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2009 in Western history

 

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Spring Forward in Colorado

As we spring forward deep into March, daylight savings time looms. In spite of this change, with its annoying psychological adjustments, spring brings hope and optimism, and a full history calendar. The highlight of this spring has been the arrival of a small but mighty little baby named Cutler. All difficulties dim and recede with the arrival of a grandchild.

A birth of a different sort will take place next month with the publication of my next book, General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer, a “Now You Know Bio” from Filter Press. This book will come on the heels of the Pikes Peak Library District’s symposium collection about William Palmer, to be introduced on March 13, with a chapter I wrote included in the text. “Women Out West” magazine is making a comeback with publication of its winter issue containing my piece about Molly Brown. Looks like a busy springtime in the Colorado publishing and history world.

My appearance and presentation schedule includes the following:
April 18 – Carbon Valley Library, Firestone, Author Open House and Presentation
April 19 – Englewood Public Library, Author Open House
April 21 – Columbine Genealogical & Historical Society presentation, “Lurking In Cemeteries: A Researcher’s Guide”
June 10 – Pikes Peak Genealogy Society, Penrose Library, Colorado Springs, “Family History: Truth & Mystery”

Joyce B. Lohse – 3/7/09
http://www.lohseworks.com

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2009 in Western history

 

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Late Winter In Colorado

Late winter is a great time to touch history in Colorado. I recently rode up to the mining community of Fairplay with my research pal, Christie. It was a little cold and windy that day, but the sun was out, and so were we. The road took us up Buckskin Gulch, to the Alma Cemetery, for some righteous walking and tromping through the snow, and a good photo shoot.

This cemetery is special for its rich mining history and sense of individualism expressed through the various monuments, many homemade, among trees on a rugged, rocky mountainside. My article, “The Place Where Silverheels Danced” in last summer’s issue of “Women Out West” magazine tells the story of a local legend, a dance hall girl named Silverheels, who helped members of the community endure a smallpox epidemic. Her spirit lingers in the cemetery where she greets us with the jingle of nearby wind chimes. The air is crisp and fresh, a blast of vibrant life in the final resting place of pioneers.

Coming soon: On April 21, I will do a presentation about “Researching Cemeteries” at the Columbine Genealogical and Historical Society meeting at 1 p.m. in Centennial.

Joyce B. Lohse – 2/25/09
http://www.lohseworks.com

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2009 in Western history

 

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