Tag Archives: Leadville

Rockslides and Rummage Sales


Glenwood Canyon

Early spring brings new challenges to the Rocky Mountains. Avalanche danger is high, as is danger of rockslides. Fortunately, we did not have plans to visit the West Slope this past week when a giant boulder crashed onto the highway in Glenwood Canyon, closing the interstate highway in both directions. Nobody was hurt, and a long detour through Steamboat Springs diverted traffic for most of the week. In the meantime, Coloradans grow restless for the arrival of spring in the mountains.

Last weekend, the Colorado History Museum was the scene of an amazing indoor frenzy. As they undertake the mammoth task of moving to new facilities, the museum folks decided to offer a rummage sale open to the public. A few hundred people lined up for the opportunity of a lifetime, to enter the museum and take home a piece of history for a small price.

Frustration escalated as those in line watched the reappearance of the first wave allowed inside as they carried out poster size photos of historic Western scenes. A man walking past was heard to say, “Is there always a line like this at the history museum?” Cutout images of pioneers in Victorian clothing appeared as their new owners dealt with long walks to their cars carrying unwieldy objects. Fortunately for them, it was not a windy day.

Inside the museum doors, the scene was hot and noisy, as anxious history buffs nudged and budged their way toward quickly disappearing piles of historic momentos. Some people grabbed stacks of photos to buy without studying them, speculating they contained treasures. An hour into the chaos, the merchandise was gone. People in Colorado love their history, and they especially love it at a bargain price.

Later this year, my next title in the “Now You Know Bio” series will transport the reader to the wild days of the Leadville mining boom and the saga of the Matchless Mine. “Now You Know Bios”, which publishes Colorado and Western history at a great value, contains expertly researched and written text with relevant photographic images and documents contemporary to the subject. To learn more, go to or

Joyce B. Lohse, 3/14/10

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 14, 2010 in Denver history, Western history


Tags: , , , ,

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


Posted by on October 23, 2009 in Western history


Tags: , , , , , ,

Boom Days Delivers

Nobody puts on a Western parade like Leadville, Colorado during Boom Days. This festival is a celebration of historic Leadville’s mining past as a boom town, at an elevation of 10,200 feet above sea level. The parade and festival, which take place during the first weekend in August, are the perfect excuse for the inner cowboy and cowgirl to come out and play in the cool, fresh mountain air. I was in town, with my traveling pard, Christie, not only for Boom Days, but also for a booksigning in the charming, independent Book Mine bookstore. I signed books along with another Women Writing the West member, Ann Parker, who writes mysteries set in Leadville. The whole day was splendid and a wonderful celebration of the Wild West. There seemed to be fewer horses and mules than usual in the parade, perhaps a nod to the tight economy. But it was fabulous in every other way.

It was a busy week for this western author. After traveling to Leadville on Saturday, Sunday found me at ParkerFest, at the Douglas County Library display, along with author Cynthia Becker. We had a great time, although the crowd was more interested in buying produce and crafts than biographies.

On Wednesday, I presented pioneer stories to the Longmont Genealogical Society. Talk about a wonderful group! We had a great time, and they were enthusiastic about my stories and books. I’ll return to Longmont any time.

Now, it is time for this cowgirl to stay closer to home and regroup, write some articles, do some research, and enjoy the rest of the summer. Bring on the good times, and some of those wonderful West Slope Colorado peaches!

Joyce Lohse, 8/15/09


Leave a comment

Posted by on August 15, 2009 in Western history


Tags: , , , , ,

Summertime Book Events

Our Palmer Tribute at Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs was a grand success. Folks came out to learn more about General Palmer and to visit with Dianne Hartshorn and myself, to discuss books and history. Once again, I found myself in a cemetery, surrounded by history and stories of pioneers. I had not previously been inside the little chapel, built in 1909, which turned out to be the perfect venue for the gathering.

I especially enjoyed visiting with my pals from Women Writing the West: Filter Press publisher Doris Baker, Doris McCraw, Gayle Gresham, and Dianne Hartshorn. It is always a pleasure to encounter and share time with friends who are members of this outstanding group of talented writers. For information about membership, go to: .

The busy summer continues with upcoming book events in Leadville, Parker, and Longmont in August. Leadville Boom Days is a special way to get in touch with the Old West. The parade down Harrison Street at 10 a.m. on August 8 will be full of horses and horse thieves, miners, dance hall girls, school marms, gamblers, you name it. If you go, stop by the Book Mine and say Howdy! I will be signing books there most of the afternoon.

Joyce Lohse, 7/21/09


Posted by on July 21, 2009 in Western history


Tags: , , , ,

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.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 12, 2009 in Denver history


Tags: , ,