On our blog, Forward, History Colorado staff and other writers chronicle the latest preservation success stories, share new perspectives on the past, and peer behind the scenes into the care and documentation of our collections.
Read on to learn about how rare collections of historic artifacts and photographs are stored, cared for, and put on view. Find out what Colorado communities are doing to preserve their past for future generations. And, read in-depth histories of Colorado people and events of the past that still matter to us today.
Near the town of Westcliffe, Colorado, at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, lies the Historic Pines Ranch, a staple of the Wet Mountain Valley for over 130 years. Originally known as “The Pines,” the area was settled by English and Irish immigrants coming to the area for health reasons.
“This is a world class site. It should be a world heritage site.”
That is what Jean Clottes, a famous French prehistorian and world authority on rock art, said when he saw the Shavano Valley for the first time. He had flown in to see the site and meet with Dr. Carol Patterson, who worked for years with Ute historian Clifford Duncan to record and decipher the meaning of the Shavano petroglyphs within Ute contexts.
The Shavano Valley is a gorge in the Uncompahgre Plateau in western Colorado, about five and a half miles west of Montrose in the ancestral homeland of the Uncompahgre Ute. The valley itself is about seven miles long and to its extreme southwest there is a gentle trail that winds up from the valley floor to the rim. And there, on the cliff face and on detached boulders scattered around, hundreds of years of rock art can be found.
By preserving historic places we can lift up community spirits and the economy. We definitely need more of both as we face the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways it’s changing our lives every day. During these uncertain times, History Colorado's State Historical Fund continues to serve Colorado communities—particularly rural communities.
Ceramics are an amazing resource for understanding the past, as so much information can be packed into just a single piece. We can understand manufacturing methods based on where it came from; we can study class and economics based on the original cost of the dishes; we can even delve into matters of identity as evidenced by the conspicuous display of fine dinnerwares.
Mother’s Day is often seen as a wholesome celebration of the special women in our lives. But for those of us struggling with infertility, the loss of a child or a sister, the mourning of an estranged mother, or myriad other heartaches, Mother’s Day can bring up painful reminders of the relationships with the women in our lives that we cannot celebrate the way we’d like to.
In the Old Historic Northside of Pueblo, Colorado, there’s a park. It’s no longer the biggest park in the city—that ended thanks to interstate construction in the 1950s—but it has a strange mystique, a stately air reminiscent of a bygone era. This may confuse visitors, transplants, and even younger residents, but there are many in the city and beyond who still remember why Mineral Palace Park has its name.
In the late 1800s, the Gilded Age was in full swing, and Colorado was one of the gems of the nation. Beginning with the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, the state’s mines had produced vast fortunes in metals, minerals, and gemstones. Denver became a center of American high society, and mining magnates went from a few lucky claim-stakers to the nation’s nouveau riche. They were millionaires with riches to rival Rockefeller back east, and they were eager to show it off.
After all, it wasn’t called the Gilded Age for nothing.