Sessions

An 1840s Fur Trader converses about the Plains Indian Trade

By Michael Schaubs, First Person Interpreter, author, retired geologist

This program will be given as a first person interpretation in the character of an 1840 Bent & St. Vrain Co. fur trader. Bent’s Fort was a fur trading post which existed from 1835 till 1849 in an area that would become SE Colorado. The fort’s primary customers were the Plains Indians of the region though travelers on the Santa Fe Trail were also frequent customers. Depending on interest, topics covered may include: the position of the trader in fur trade society, merchandise for trading, Indians as sophisticated consumers, the currency of the trade, prairie transportation, customs and procedures of the trade, designation and use of Indian “soldiers,” communications, and the use of alcohol.

 

The Christmas Day Battle for Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge

By Don Cygan, Historian, Author, Professor

As the Battle of the Bulge raged, a small force of American solders—including the famed 101st Airborne division, tank destroyer crews, engineers, and artillerymen—was completely surrounded by Hitler’s armies in the Belgian town of Bastogne. Taking the town was imperative to Hitler’s desperate plan to drive back the Allies and turn the tide of the war. The attack would come just before dawn.

As the outnumbered, undersupplied Americans gathered in church for services or shivered in their snow-covered foxholes on the fringes of the front lines, freshly reinforced German forces of men and tanks attacked. The battle was up close and personal, with the cold, exhausted soldiers of both armies fighting for every square foot of frozen earth.

 

Skiing Off to War

By Thomas Duhs, Author, Retired Marine

The 10th Mountain Division trained at Camp Hale, near Leadville Colorado from Nov 1942 to June 1944. The only mountain division was unique in how the men were recruited, trained, and employed in Italy to end the war in May 1945. After the war these troops had an effect on skiing as well.

 

Finding Lost Railway Stations and Equipment

By Jim Jordan, President of Rocky Mountain Railroad Heritage Society

Join Jim for a visual presentation on how to locate historic train stations, water tanks, pump houses and rolling stock in Colorado.

 

Colorado Genealogy Research

By Lori Collins, President of the Colorado Genealogical Society/Computer Interest Group

Come discover what resources Colorado has for working on your family tree and where you can get the information.

 

Colorado Inventors

By Doug Cohn, Director of Programming, Englewood Historical Society

Colorado is home to many inventors. Have you seen those message signs on trailers along the highways? Have you ever got ice from the hotel hallway ice machine? Ever wondered about oxygen concentrators? Have you seen the yellow flex pipe that goes down man holes so the guys can breathe? Ever wondered who invented the mounting device to hold the dash cam? Ever wonder who invented the seamless can to replace the soldered can? These and many more inventions will be talked about. All were invented by Coloradans.

 

The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla

By Tom Keller, Public speaker, historian, Tesla guru

Nikola Tesla is best known for his ground-breaking inventions/ contributions in the fields of electricity and physics which helped usher in the Second Industrial Revolution in the early 20th Century.  His patents and theoretical work formed the basis for modern Alternating Current electricity and many other achievements.

 

Exonerating General George Custer: Separating Fact from Political Bias

By George Koukeas, Freelance writer, public speaker

Who was the real George Custer? Having been demonized since the 1960’s by politically-motivated groups, Custer was a war hero who opposed slavery and became a whistleblower for reservation Indians.  The presentation will give an overview of Custer’s life, achievements, and character.  In the process, myths about the Indian wars and Custer’s involvement with them will be disproved.  The emphasis will be on 3 major missions in Custer’s military life.  This presentation will render an accurate picture of Custer that goes beyond “political correctness.”

 

What Really Happened to Titanic?

By Phill Kleppen & Janet Kalstrom, volunteers at Molly Brown House Museum

There have been many theories over the last 106 years of how and why Titanic sank on April 15, 1912. Come learn about those theories and perhaps you can reach your own conclusion of what really happened or hear first hand from a titanic survivor through their eyes. Or is it just still a mystery?

 

Frontier Marshal, Mart Duggan, Ruled Rowdy Leadville with an Iron Fist

By Gail Lindley, Owner of Denver Bookbinding Company, member of Spellbinders

Marshal Mart Duggan is considered one of the most underrated gunmen of the Old West. Learn a little bit of Colorado history and how Leadville’s colorful past in the late 1800’s brought together familiar characters such as Frank and Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and more. Leadville was lawless in the late 1880’s and boasted of up to 50 thousand people in 1878. Mayor Horace Tabor approached the little blue eyed Irishman to take over as Marshal and bring law and order to rowdy Leadville.

 

Colorado’s Mining Booms & Busts: 150 Years of Roller Coaster History

By Stephen Hart, Retired geological engineer and part-time adjunct faculty at CSM

Who was the real George Custer? Having been demonized since the 1960’s by politically-motivated groups, Custer was a war hero who opposed slavery and became a whistleblower for reservation Indians.  The presentation will give an overview of Custer’s life, achievements, and character.  In the process, myths about the Indian wars and Custer’s involvement with them will be disproved.  The emphasis will be on 3 major missions in Custer’s military life.  This presentation will render an accurate picture of Custer that goes beyond “political correctness.”

 

November ’42, Watershed of the Century

By Stan Moore, historian, author, speaker

In late October 1942, WWII looked to be going badly for the Allies. The Axis were on the advance everywhere. But by December 2 they were everywhere stymied if not in retreat.

We will look at November 1942 through the lens of five campaigns around the world. Other social and economic issues and developments are brought in as well. After this critical month, the Axis would be marching backwards. Japanese and German forces never again regained the initiative.

The direction the war took in this month set the tone for the rest of the war and for the peace which most have enjoyed for over seventy years.

 

Who Was the Sculptor in Buckskin? Alexander Phimister Proctor!

By Dave Lively, Speaker and tour guide

Proctor was born in 1860 and then enjoyed a remarkable life after spending his youth in the Colorado wilderness. His larger than life sculptures can be seen in 26 public places across the nation including two in Denver’s Civic Center Plaza: The Buckaroo, and On the War Trail.

Although Proctor is recognized as the leader among American animal sculptors and as the country’s foremost creator of sculpted monuments on western themes, the more engaging aspects of his life are the development of his artistic talent, the remarkable characters he met by chance (or fortune), and his adventures with his wife and eight children as Proctor’s work took him all over the United States, France and Italy. He allowed himself time to go hunting with dignitaries such as Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot and the Reverend Bayard Craig for whom the Town of Craig is named for.

 

Historic Preservation and Colorado’s Most Endangered Places Program

By Kim Grant, Director of Endangered Places Program for Colorado Preservation, Inc.

Colorado Preservation, Inc., is a statewide non-profit historic preservation advocacy, education and technical services organization. Kim will share information on one of CPI’s signature initiatives, Colorado’s Most Endangered Places Program. One example are the underground tunnels throughout Colorado.

The presentation will include numerous photos of dozens of historic properties around Colorado that CPI has worked on with local communities to save. A 25-page color brochure will also be handed out to each participant. A brief question and answer session will follow.

 

Using Digital History Tools to Understand the History of Obscure Plants

By Timothy Vilgiate, MA in history student, president of Phi Alpha Theta at UCCS and the editor of The Springs Graduate History Journal

In this presentation, I will talk about the tools and methods used to chart the historical evolution of two little-researched plants and their relationship the global economy–the Picralima nitida and the Voacanga africana. Most of the information available about the history of plants is fragmentary, and requires the aggregation of a large quantity of primary sources that become difficult to organize without using a computer.

For the first part of my presentation, I will talk about how I have used Nodegoat (an open source relational database), Microsoft Excel, and NVIVO qualitative analysis software in order to study the history of these two plants and their flow between botanical gardens, chemistry labs, pharmaceutical companies, headshops and more. This might be of general interest to any historians or genealogists dealing with a large quantity of fragmentary information. In the second half, I will discuss a little bit about the history of the plants themselves, which are used both in varying capacities by the pharmaceutical industry, and occasionally consumed for their psychoactive constituents around the world.

 

A Vice for All: The Seedy Side of Denver

By Savannah Reeves, a museum educator at the Molly Brown House, Heather Pressman, Director of Learning & Engagement at the Molly Brown House & Mike Erickson, Museum educator at Center for Colorado Women’s History at the Byers-Evans House & Hannah Herron, Lead Visitors Services Assoc at the Molly Brown House

The boom and bust history of the west is undeniable, the fortification of spirit you needed to survive the unique trials and tribulations of the west would separate the strong from the weak. Even the strong have their vices though….In this presentation, we will dive into the Seedy Side of Denver with a look at the impacts and transformations of Denver through the lens of prostitution with stories featuring some of Denver’s top Madam’s and working girls of the time, crime including the terror-inducing Cap Hill Strangler, and the widespread use and abuse of drugs leading to events such as the Hop Alley Riots focusing on the long-lasting, yet often times ignored, history and importance of vice in the Queen City of the Plains.

 

Even Seedier: Denver Vice in the 20th Century

By Savannah Reeves, a museum educator at the Molly Brown House, Mike Erickson, Museum educator at Center for Colorado Women’s History at the Byers-Evans House & Hannah Herron, Lead Visitors Services Assoc at the Molly Brown House

After delving into the tantalizing tales of crime, prostitution, drugs, and alcohol in 19th century LoDo in our morning session, we now turn our focus to the most Wicked Street in the World….Colfax Avenue. This bed of myth, and host of vice, has seen Denver history in all forms -from the wealthy, yet badly behaving, millionaires who lived within Cap Hill, the magnetism that drew the sex industry to open business along her sidewalks, and the questionable morality that seemed to stem from the halls of the Capital building.  Join us for another in-depth look at Vice in Denver!

 

The White Plague: How Tuberculosis Shaped Colorado

By Jenifer Fisher, Professor at Rocky Vista College of Osteopathic Medicine

In the 1800s, tuberculosis was the nation’s leading cause of death. The “White Death” was much feared and little understood. Since there was no vaccine or antibiotic available to fight the disease at the time, the only hope many tubercular patients had was to move from humid, stormy eastern locations in pursuit of the west’s drier, higher, sunnier skies—all of which Colorado had in abundance. We will discuss the history of germ theory and how tuberculosis helped physicians evolve to hold many of the thoughts we currently hold about disease to this day. We will also explore Colorado’s personal history with the disease and how the influx of TB patients that streamed into Colorado helped put the state on the map and turned a place previously thought to be a haven for Wild West criminals into the attractive destination it is today.

 

“Give The Women A Chance”: The 125th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in Colorado

By Megan Moriarty, Director of Community Engagement, Museum of Boulder

On November 7, 1893, Colorado voters approved a referendum allowing women the right to vote – decades before the 19th Amendment. This interactive presentation will examine the pioneering women who led the movement, the messaging they used to convince male voters to “give them a chance”, and the influence the historic vote had on women living in the state.

 

The Vitality of Volunteers in Preserving Yesterday’s Buildings for Tomorrow

By Hameed Alnassar, Volunteer & Communications Coordinator, HistoriCorps

Why is it so important to preserve our ancestor’s built heritage for future generations? How can we effectively go about restoring our public land’s cultural treasures, and why should we? In the tradition of the Civilian Conservation Corps, HistoriCorps, a non-profit based in Denver, in partnership with entities such Denver Mountain Parks and the US Forest Service, has been rehabilitating historic structures for future adaptive reuse, with numerous of those buildings right here in Colorado. This year O’Fallon Chimney, Bergen & Fillius Park Wellhouses, Homestead Meadows, Hermit Park Cabin, Corral Park Cabin, and Hornbeck Homestead, have all been a testament to the spirit of Coloradoans in their resolve to save the state’s history.

 

Meriwether Lewis’s Survey at Cumberland Gap: or What’s up with the 36-30 Line of North Latitude between Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee?

By Lorna Hainesworth, Founding member of the Lewis and Clark Trust

Why is the line between these four states so crooked? What are the reasons for so many anomalies? Where was the line supposed to be? Who is responsible for the dividing line? When did all this happen? Were there controversies or problems with the location of the line? If so, what resolutions were enacted? Given modern technology, why wasn’t the line straightened? This session will present a talk on the dividing line between Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee, which will describe all the involved issues and will answer the above questions plus describe a little known survey conducted by Meriwether Lewis in November 1806 near present-day Cumberland Gap.

 

The History of Denver’s Celebrity Sports Center: Thirty-five Years of Fun and Entertainment

By David Forsyth, Historian and Author

The History of Denver’s Celebrity Sports Center:  For thirty-five years Celebrity Sports Center entertained Colorado children and adults with bowling, swimming, a video game arcade, and even slot tracks.  Celebrity was Walt Disney’s only Colorado business venture, and for many years it served as a training ground for future Walt Disney World managers.  After the Walt Disney Company sold the complex in 1979, new owners remodeled it and added the three infamous slides to the swimming pool.  By the early 1990s, though, Celebrity was increasingly seen as a hangout for troublemakers and the land it sat on was increasingly desirable to developers.  Celebrity may have fallen to the wrecking ball in 1995, but this much loved Denver hangout is still fondly remembered by those who visited it.

 

Germans, Socialists, Pacifists, Immigrants, & Other Enemies of the State during WWI

By Jay Cyril Mastrud, Historian, co-founder of Warrior Writers MN Chapter

The presentation will cover anti-German discrimination during WWI in its many forms. The topics will include banning the sale of books in German to shutting down German language programs in school to the assaults on Germans from Russia, many of who were pacifists, along with a few others which may surprise the audience. 

Focus will be paid to those in Colorado, Oklahoma, and the Great Plains who faced discrimination, especially the Germans from Russia who worked in the sugar beet fields and refineries along with farming throughout the “Great American Desert.”

 

Iron, Dynamite and Intrigue: A Look at Railroad Growth and Development in Colorado

By Stan Moore, historian, author, speaker

In this talk Colorado history is viewed through the lens of railroad growth,rivalry, and development.. We will trace iron rails as they came to crisscross the state from the 1860’s to 1935. This development went a long way towards making Colorado what it is today.

The career of David Moffat spanned most of this period. He and his efforts offer good background and context. Moffat’s last enterprise was the Denver Northwestern and Pacific Railway Company. It faced many obstacles. Not only was it being built through the heart of the Colorado Rockies, but there were financial and political challenges as well. This road’s story encapsulates the railroad industry in Colorado.

 

Grave Matters: Cemetery Symbolism, the Stories in Stone

By Patricia Carmody, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Colorado Historic Cemetery Association

“Nowhere is the language of symbols more apparent than in cemeteries, Dead men tell no tales, but their tombstones do.” – Douglas Keister, Stories in Stone

Symbolism in any form of artwork, including gravestones, reflects the culture which created the work and can have multiple meanings.

Grave Matters will look at the history of cemetery monuments, the interpretation of symbols most commonly used and some of those not so common, as well as various types of cemeteries in the US.

 

From Bloomers to Hat Pin: How to Wear an 1880s Dress

By Nicoleta Nagel, amateur Victorian fashion historian, found on social media with #TheVictorianRomanian

Ever wonder what went into a lady’s outfit in the Victorian era? Come find out as I dress a mannequin from bloomers to hat pin. I’ll explain each piece – what it was and how it was worn.  We’ll also take a look at accessories such as shoes, fans,  purses, etc.  Most pieces are original.

 

Loretto Heights – A Synopsis of Historical & Architectural Significance

By Martha Kirkpatrick, Denver native and alumna of Loretto Heights College

As the redevelopment of the storied Loretto Heights College campus begins to unfold, let’s take a look at how the Loretto Heights story is interwoven with Denver’s history. We can begin to understand what a special place Loretto Heights is by looking at the cultural, historical and architectural significance, and also at the people whose vision created this southwest Denver landmark.

 

Famous and Faceless Females of the Third Reich

By Lance D Jones, Museum Teacher Fellow of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Fellow of the Memorial Library (New York City) and the Holocaust Educational Foundation (Chicago)

An examination of female personalities in Germany during the period of the Third Reich (1933-1945). Some, such as Eva Braun and Magda Goebbels, are household names. Others are obscure outside the field of Holocaust Studies. This session will showcase female participation in the events of the time, from the League of German Girls youth organization, to female concentration camp staff, military auxiliaries and “A List” women. Some were directly involved in atrocities, some were cogs in the machine, some moved in the circles of the influential and policy-makers. All were involved, directly or indirectly, with the horror that was Nazi Germany.

 

The Buffalo Soldiers Including the Only Known Female Buffalo Soldier

By Nina Amos, President and Founder, The Denver CO Chapter Buffalo Soldiers, 9th & 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association

The History and legacy of the African Americans soldiers known as the Buffalo Soldiers. This will include a discussion on the only known female Buffalo Soldier.