OCT 15, 2017
A History of Settlement in the San Luis Valley
The question has been asked many times: What is the oldest town in Colorado? But history never has a nice, simple answer. Things are always much more complicated than they seem, and usually trying to find an answer just brings up more questions. But that’s fine! That’s part of what history is all about, and what makes it so fascinating and important.
The fact of the matter is that the “oldest town in Colorado” depends on who you ask, and—even more importantly—how you phrase the question. The first problem with this question is: what defines a town? If by “town” you mean “permanent settlement,” then the oldest such place in Colorado is likely one of the many Ancestral Puebloan sites scattered around the state.
“There are sites in Saguache County on the north end of the San Luis Valley that were likely inhabited as far back as the Late Archaic,” said Dr. Nichola Saenz, professor of history at Adams State University. “Ancestral Puebloan sites, like Mesa Verde, in the Four Corners region warrant consideration.”
To read the whole article go to: History Colorado
In so many ways, the story of Colorado is the story of mining. And Creede stands as one of the last mining towns of its kind. So many mines and their legacies were abandoned over the years – and nearly lost forever. But a handful of heroes have staked a claim on history by preserving these sites. From mining boom towns to ghost towns – it’s all here. Watch this wonderful story about Creede featuring the backdrop of the Creede Historical Society Museum and the Creede Underground Mining Museum:
Nancy Harris is a mixed media artist from Alamosa who uses paper, paint and found objects to create her original abstract collages. Harris typically starts with a blank canvas or sheet of watercolor paper and then build up layers of material, such as stained tea bags, acrylic paint and paper. She then used a gel medium for the adhesive. The resulting collages are colorful, complex, playful and quite beautiful.
So many articles were written in honor of the 100th anniversary of Jack Dempsey's title win fight. Lots of good reading:
Presentation in Manassa at Jack Dempsey Museum:
Round-by-round recap of Dempsey Willard Fight:
How sportswriters in 1919 described the Dempsey-Willard bout:
Dempsey vs. Willard: Facts and figures from the historic bout:
Effort to get boxing on on radio (a first):
Dempsey Ruled the Ring:
Jack Sharkey and Jack Dempsey:
Toledo Archives article:
Toledo Reenacts Dempsey Fight:
The calendar of events for July and August at Rio Grande County Museum include a quilt show by the San Luis Valley Quilt Guild, the annual ice cream social with Covered Wagon Days and an art show by San Luis Valley artist, Nancy Harris.
The San Luis Valley Quilt Guild show will open on July 30, 2019 and run through August 10, 2019. This will be the Guilds first show in several years and will feature work by all levels of quilters from beginners to artists who have shown their work and winning awards in national shows. Quilts to be shown will include all sizes of quilts as well smaller items such as bags and containers. Ballots will be provided for viewers’ choices. Cindy Moore, Jeannie Brown, Janet Davis and Janice Watkins are coordinating the event with Rio Grande County Museum.
The annual ice cream social will be on August 3rd after the Covered Wagon Days parade. It is a time that the public can come and enjoy ice cream, visit with friends and neighbors and tour the museum. The admission to the museum is waived on Covered Wagon Days, but donations will be accepted. This is a good opportunity to visit with the staff and volunteers and see what the museum provides with keeping the history of Rio Grande County preserved.
On August 13th an art show with Nancy Harris will start with an opening reception on August 17th. Nancy’s work has been shown throughout the San Luis Valley and the museum is honored to be able to show her work. She also instructs classes in art.
For more information, please contact the Rio Grande County Museum at (719)657-2847 or check the museum Facebook page for event information. The Museum is located at 580 Oak Street in Del Norte. The Museum regular hours are Tuesday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. except on special event days.
Brad Henderson, volunteer who is 16 years old, has had the lead in the assembling and researching the items in the exhibit. Albert Warren, volunteer, and Louise Colville, Museum director, have assisted in the technical aspect and the arranging of the artifacts. Many of the items displayed were placed in the exhibit for two purposes, showing the artifact and also having them available to be touched by the visitors. The items that can be touched will need to have assistance from the museum staff.
An old table top Silverstone record player fills the museum with music of a century ago. An antique pump organ gives a work out as the music is made. The almost century and a half square grand piano thrills everyone with the quality of music that it gives.
The stereoscope was the first 3D viewer of its kind. The person using the viewer can see photos that are printed with two pictures side by side and when looking through the two lenses at the photos, the viewer can get a 3D picture. This special item is one of the artifacts that can be view with assistance from the museum staff.
A small 1940s typewriter has been used in the school display for several years and each class from the area who visited the museum has had the opportunity to type on it. Many students have never seen a typewriter of this vintage.
The exhibit will run through July.
For more information, please contact the Rio Grande County Museum at (719)657-2847 or check our Facebook page. The Museum is located at 580 Oak Street in Del Norte. The hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 4 pm and Saturday 10 am to 3 pm.
From Land to Hand: Fiber Arts Festival
22 June Saturday / 9 am - 5 pm
23 June Sunday / 9 am - 1 pm
Join us for two days of all things fiber, from "sheep to shawl." Learn about the tradition of sheep ranching and the new industry of hemp fiber production, and see works by fiber artists of the San Luis Valley. Throughout the day you'll see demonstrations by artists who'll share their skills and their love of the craft, as well as have the opportunity to attend classes to learn technique. At a marketplace, vendors will sell supplies for your own projects and some of the region's most beautiful fiber work. Food carts with a wide selection of cuisine will be on site, along with local musicians playing throughout both days. There will also be a wooly petting zoo, where children can meet the animals that so many fibers come from. It's guaranteed to be a weekend full of all the wonderful things the fiber industry in the San Luis Valley has to offer!
New Skills Class: Needle Felted Sheep
Needle felting is a process that entangles fibers to create fabrics and3D objects. In this class, we'll learn to feedle felt a shepe, using only wool and some sharp barbed needle. We'll talk about how to build a solid structure of needle felt, the colors of sheep, and there will be some different breed-specific wools for attendants to use to make a little soft scupture (or an ornament for your Christmas tree) of your favorite breed. Students take home a handmade sheep, a set of felting needles, an a list of resources for further learning. This class is best suited for ages 13 and up.
"Enslavement & Lafayette Head's 1865 Indian Census" with Virginia Sanchez
Please join us for another installment of our Borderlands of Southern Colorado Lecture Series with Virginia Sanchez.
In this talk, Sánchez will discuss the system of legal and illegal trade as a system of survival on the frontier. Legal and illegal trade expeditions created economic opportunities for both cultures. She will introduce some southern Colorado’s traders and their licenses, a recorded trade route from Colorado, and documented trade locations. She will also discuss the types of treatment captive indigenous slaves received as documented by oral histories and historical memories. She introduces Agent Lafayette Head’s 1865 Indian Census, but examines its data from an alternate perspective.
Virginia Sanchez is an independent historian, research, and author, and a member of the Colorado Historical Society, the Colorado Society of Hispanic Genealogy, the Huerfano County Historical Society, and the New Mexico Historical Society. Her work has appeared in journals including Colorado History, the New Mexico Genealogist, and more. In 2008 she was recognized by the Hispanic Annual Salute for her contribution to the Hispanic community in the area of history.
This presentation is sponsored by Colorado State University-Pueblo and the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.
New Skills Class: Dying Wool in the Microwave
Acid dyes are used on wool (and all other fibers from animals), silk, and nylon. In this class, we'll learn the basics of using acid dyes, using a microwave to heat-set the dyes. We will completely cover studio safety, choosing and mixing dyes, how to make them wash fast, and how to finish up dyed articles. Everybody will take home samples, written guidelines, and a list of supply sources. Students should wear clothes they don't mind getting dye on, and closed-toed shoes, as well as bring a pair of kitchen-type rubbr gloves. All other minimum safety equipment will be provided. This class is for ages 13 and up (or ages 10 and up with a registered adult.
The Fiber Studio is open for the summer season. Come spin up some lovely threads on our spinning wheels or weave a beautiful scarf on our many looms. For just $10.00 a day you can work on any project you’d like. Spinning wheels and ridged heddle looms are available to rent as well.
Call Kelley at 719-379-3512 for more information.Fort Garland looking for "New Skills" InstructorsDo you have a special skill or talent you would like to share? We are looking for instructors in anything from fiber arts, to flint napping, to cooking and canning - the possibilities are endless! Apply here to teach your class!
Photos and Postcards: "With the Spirit of the Wild Horse" by Judy BarnesSee these beautiful photographs and cards in the museum store this month!
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The nation’s earliest and unheralded victory in the war against educational segregation took place in the San Luis Valley between 1912 and 1914 and it “was the first time in the history of America that a court fight was made over an attempt to segregate Mexicans in school.” The suit grew from local grassroots concern for equal education of Alamosa’s children. The case is Alamosa Case No. 6 Francisco Maestas et al vs. George H. Shone et al and was filed on 11-21-1913 with a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs on 4-17-1914. The case was filed as part of political efforts and mass struggle. The commemoration will be by bronze statue depicting the main subject child, Miguel Maestas, at his then age of 11. It is the hope that the placement of this statute would be a fitting tribute to the “rule of law” and its role in the historical advancement of Hispanics in the southwest.
This is a commission for on original bronze that will be publicly displayed in Alamosa County, CO. The deadline to apply is June 30th. The proposed project will begin fabrication after selection and the desired completion date is September 30th, so that the statue can be erected during Hispanic Heritage Month(Sept 15-Oct 15). The budget is currently around $20,000-$30,000 dependent on final size. Eligibility is open to all artists.
The objective of this project is to commemorate an important national milestone in overcoming educational segregation. The purpose it to bring awareness of our local history, to visually recognize this historical court case and remind local youth that they will be treated equally in the eyes of the law.
Art Location Description
The final location of the finished statue is under discussion but most likely be at an outdoor location in Alamosa, CO.
The amount of funding allocated to art for this project at this time is $20,000-$30,000 dependent on final size and amount of funds received. The amount paid to the artist will cover the artist’s fee, materials and fabrication of the piece.
The artist is open to professional artists and artist teams. The artist must have completed a project with a similar budget, scale and scope. The final piece will be highly visible and important to the local community so artist who have experience interacting with the community are encouraged to apply. The qualifications that an artist must meet in order to be eligible for a project.
The list of materials artists should send by mail or online with applications.
Statement of interest (up to 500 words) Describe your specific interest in a project, your potential approach to the project or creating public art, and any past relevant experience.
Resume or short biography
Self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for the return of hardcopy materials
Project proposal: project description, drawings/renderings, materials list, budget, timeline, references, fabrication, installation, and maintenance information.
Visual support materials: can include digital images in exact formats, slides, videos, CDs, or prints. Include Annotated List for 1-3 projects: description, material, location, budget, client or commissioning organization.
Deadline: must be postmarked or received online by June 30th, 2019
℅ Martin Gonzales
8955 Independence Way
Alamosa, CO 81101
All applications will be reviewed by the Maestas Case Committee. This committee is made up of local judiciary officials, professionals, community representatives, artists, and non-profit representatives. Applications will be reviewed within 5 days of the deadline. Finalists will be chosen and interviewed by phone or in person by the Maestas Case Committee before July 5th, 2019 and the final artist selection will announced by July 10th, 2019.
Applicants should have evidence of working in their field for 5 years or more then they will be individually judged on their application meeting the needs of the committee.
At the present time, 46 men who lost their lives in World War II are being researched. The emphasis presently is for those who are buried on foreign soil or missing in action or were not able to be recovered to be returned home to their families.
There are six who are memorialized at the Court of the Missing at the Honolulu, Hawaii. These men are PFC Clarence Ary, PFC George Chacon, Sgt. Howard O. Darby, SSGT Cecil Keith Decker, Col. James D. Garcia and S1 Virgil Off.
At the Wall of the Missing at Manila are SSGT Warren G. Card, PFC George T. Darby, 1st Lt. Donald G. Richardson, Pvt. Clarence Schlichting and Jerry H. Zeiler. Many of these men were in aircraft that was shot down by enemy fire or went down with their ship without any recovery.
PFC George Chacon was buried at sea after dying from wounds in the invasion of Tarawa. He was only 19 years old. Pvt. Clarence Schlichting may have been on the Bataan Death March. Jerry Zeiler may have been the first casualty from Rio Grande County when the destroyer, The Pillsbury, was sunk in the Indian Ocean. He was Missing in Action from March 1, 1942 until he was declared dead Nov. 25, 1945 when the Japanese military records were found to determine what happened. Howard and George T. Darby are brothers who deaths were very close together. Lt. Richardson’s young widow, Twila Fox Richardson, joined the Marines after her husband was lost at sea.
There are several who are buried in the American Cemeteries in Europe. Pvt. Armando Atencio is buried in the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery. Second Lt. Leslie Walker is in the Lorraine American Cemetery in France. Carl Divine is in the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium. The Normandy American Cemetery in France is the final resting place for Pvt. Arnold J. Martinez. Pvt Martinez was a paratrooper who died in the D-Day invasion. PFC Okey C. Dean who was in the 10th Mountain Division, Cpl. Wilbur D. Kinsey and PFC. Ernest (Chili) Martinez are buried in the Florence American Cemetery in Italy. PFC Hugh Denton was originally buried in Saipan, but the family was able to bring him home and he is buried in the Del Norte Cemetery beside his father. The veterans’ stories are all being documented and will be in the permanent document collection of Rio Grande County Museum.
These men’s stories are just the beginning of the research for local military heroes in World War II. The museum would like to have information on these men as and their families and if there are any descendants or relatives left in the area. All of the men who died will have a story written for each of them. Ralph Nash who wrote a booklet on the men has recorded many of the names of the men who were drafted or enlisted.
A committee may be assembled to work on getting these men, the World War I, Korean War, Viet Nam War and the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts documented. Plaques and a memorial hallway within the museum are some of the ideas for the tribute to them and their families. Monetary donations as well as artifacts can be made to the project.
For more information, please contact the Rio Grande County Museum at 719-657-2847 or stop by the museum at 580 Oak Street, Del Norte. Check out the museum’s Facebook page also for ongoing information.
Rio Grande County Museum
Fort Garland Museum
The 2019 program will start on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 18, 2019 and runs through Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 2019. As a Blue Star Museum, we are part of a national appreciation program for military families and all those who have served our country through military service. Exhibits of the Civil War, World War I and the stories of the Rio Grande County servicemen who didn’t return home from World War II will be included in the Armed Forces Day celebration.
The Rio Grande County Museum is proud to be able to honor our active and retired military along with those who served with this program and with proper documentation, the admission fee to the museum is waived. The museum extends this for the entire year.
For more information, please contact Rio Grande County Museum at (719)657-2847 or our Facebook page. The museum is located at 580 Oak Street in Del Norte. The hours are Tuesday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
To see all the participating museums around the country click here.