Tag Archives: Routt

Riverside Cemetery Halloween Crawl

Riverside Cemetery

“Eliza and John Routt” at Riverside Cemetery

Although I’ve spoken and presented programs to about 150 groups up and down Colorado’s Front Range and beyond, I’ve never before portrayed one of my biographical characters. It was a blast! What a great way to really turn back the hands of time and embrace history, and to enjoy the most beautiful fall day imaginable in Denver’s historic boneyard.

My subject was Eliza Routt, which was a no-brainer to me as a portrayal. Eliza, the original first lady of Colorado and the first woman registered to vote in the state, was my ancestral first cousin from my mother’s family. We even share some resemblance. When Tom “Dr. Colorado” Noel invited me to portray her character at this year’s Halloween Crawl at Riverside Cemetery, I hesitated but only slightly. I forged into unknown territory. Dr. Tom is a first class act and it was a supreme honor to be included in his merry group. I took great pains to prepare my grand four minute speech for an audience of 200 history buffs, and it paid off. I was paired with a wonderful gentleman named John Stewart as the Governor, and our presentation came off without a hitch, with historic gems and amusing moments enjoyed by an appreciative crowd.

To prepare for the day, I augmented my Victorian outfit with a straw hat, which I decorated with streaming ribbon, and silk hydrangea blossoms fixed in place with a hot glue gun. The hat sheltered me during an afternoon in direct sunlight. My speech was originally totally written out, then highlighted for important topics, then pared down to an outline list by subject, then further filtered onto a folded recipe-sized card containing simple key words and subjects, which I never removed from my pocket. It was my insurance in case of memory lapse, and I was happy to know it was handy, although not needed.

The fun and enjoyment of this re-enactment did not quite equal the surge of writer’s rush experienced at the end of a manuscript. However, it was great fun as a more casual and recreational event. Given the opportunity, I would step back in time again, especially if I have the opportunity to channel my cousin Eliza. She is a great character, and a great presence from which to view the past during the wild and exciting days of early Colorado. The only changes I would make would be to carry a quilted bag for modern items such as camera and sunglasses, and a change to more comfortable shoes to continue the jaunt around the cemetery to watch the other speakers.

To learn more about Eliza and her partner, Governor John Routt, read my award-winning biography:
First Governor, First Lady: John and Eliza Routt of Colorado, FIlter Press, 2002. Go to: or

Joyce Lohse, 10/30/13
http://www.LohseWorks.comRoutt Headstone Symbol


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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

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Posted by on January 15, 2010 in Denver history


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Moving Forward on Thanksgiving

If Thanksgiving is upon us, it must be time for CAL – the Colorado Association of Librarians Conference. Every year, publisher Filter Press hosts a booth for this event in Denver, allowing the authors to meet and greet librarians, teachers and readers. It is always illuminating, and a mixed bag of good news and bad news comments. The bad news is predictable … more book buying budget cuts, more social studies programs slashed, more demand for books about speicalized topics way down on the priority scale.

The good news is encouraging and will keep us going. As more people learn about our “Now You Know Bio” series, they find more ways to integrate them into their programs, and more people read them. They recognize the quality of the biographies and the research which has gone into each one. They love the topics we’ve chosen, and enthusiastically look forward to the newest arrivals.

I’m thankful for what we have, and I embrace the challenge of moving forward to produce more pioneer stories which appeal to young readers and history buffs of all ages. I appreciate Filter Press, who believes in my work and publishes it, giving me a voice, and for the encouragement and support of my colleagues there, and in Women Writing the West. I am honored to apply my writing skills to preserve history, and to give a voice to women who were formerly silent and consequently overlooked. Many of their stories have emerged and can now be celebrated, either as individuals or in conjunction with their pioneering partner.

John and Eliza Routt (rhymes with “scout”) provide a great partnership story. My award-winning book, First Governor, First Lady: John and Eliza Routt of Colorado, published by Filter Press, is a duo-biography about the life and work of the Routts as Western pioneers. I was fortunate to revisit their story and share it in an article for the current holiday issue of Steamboat Magazine. To read a condensed version of the article, go to:

Happy Thanksgiving!
Joyce Lohse – 11/23/09
for more information about Now You Know Bios:


Posted by on November 23, 2009 in Western history


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