By Teresa L. Benns
ALAMOSA — About 25 members of the Valley’s History Undiscovered Group (SLV-HUG) met at Calvillo’s Restaurant last Thursday (04/19/18) to update the group on various historical activities happening throughout the Valley this summer and fall.
After enjoying a buffet meal, attendees reported on the projects in their respective areas.
Tori Martinez, executive director for the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area announced that the Conejos County Museum will be reopening this spring after being closed the past two years. The opening date is set for May 11.
Charlotte Bobicki with the Mount Pleasant School Association reports she is working on a project to restore the historic Mount Pleasant School in rural Alamosa County. Her grandfather helped start the school, other family members were students there and she spent the first six years of her elementary education at the one-room schoolhouse. At that time, Bobicki said, there were 30 students up to the eighth grade. The school had a stage, small library, and a big bell to summon students, which somehow over the years has disappeared. “It’s probably in town someplace,” Bobicki said. Many of the school’s original founders came from Germany. It is listed on the national and state historical society registers. The school closed in the 1960s.
Tamara Estes, president of the Southern Branch of the Territorial Daughters of Colorado, says their group is working on projects in Huerfano County and the old Doyle School in Pueblo County built in 1860 — the oldest school in Colorado. The Territorial Daughters welcome members who can trace their descendants to the area prior to 1876. The group was founded in Colorado in 1910 and he San Luis Valley group was formed in 1940.
Joyce Gunn, with the San Luis Valley Museum in Alamosa, reports she is working on a project to establish a celebration recognizing the San Luis Valley as the official home of the First Thanksgiving. She related that historical records show that on July 11, 1538, 300 families were present in the valley with priests and conquistadors and celebrated the first real Thanksgiving meal. The fact has been buried in history ever since. Gunn says she would like to hold a celebration commemorating the event in July with a sit- down meal, dancing and other ethnic events.
Kat Olance, president for the SLV Museum Association are waiting to see if the Colorado and Wyoming Association of Museums have selected the Valley community for their 2020 conference which would bring 180+ museum professionals from across Wyoming and Colorado to the SLV.
Maria Van Sant, a member of the family trust that funds the La Garita St. John the Baptist Church, reports the church will get a new roof this year beginning sometime next month. She also passed out postcards advertising the church, its Rosary Walk and its many historic points of interest.
Brittany Morrissette, a volunteer at the Crestone Historical Museum and a board member with the SLV Museum Association, says the museum will have to be relocated this year because it has lost its lease. She hopes the town will help her move into the old Crestone school house near the museum’s present location.
The Rio Grande County Museum will be presenting a history of the churches in Rio Grande County this year.
After 18 years of working with the Division of Parks and Wildlife, the Old Spanish Trail Association hopes to have signs to erect soon marking the trail.