Pages from the past back in Glenwood
Ryan Summerlin July 23, 2014
A major collection of more than 115 years worth of Glenwood Springs’ and greater Garfield County’s history has come home.
Bound volumes of several different newspapers that have served the community are now being stored at the new Glenwood Springs Branch Library at Eighth and Cooper, and are available for limited on-site viewing.
They include the Glenwood Post starting in 1899; the Glenwood Independent, which published from 1998-2000; and their merged successor, the Post Independent. The collection also includes the somewhat-tattered but now better-preserved pages of The Avalanche, which published during the late 1800s.
“Some are really in pretty fragile condition, so we arranged to get the archival boxes to protect them and give them a permanent home,” said Amelia Shelley, director of the Garfield County Public Library District.
“We’ve already had people coming in wanting to look for their birth announcement or an obituary. Anyone is welcome to come in and see what was happening on a given day and year.”
Glenwood Springs branch manager
The bound volumes had been in the care of the Post Independent and its corporate owner, Swift Communications/Colorado Mountain News Media, until 2011 when the newspaper sold its former building at 2014 Grand Avenue and moved to its current downtown location at 824 Grand.
With no space to host the historical archives, then-editor Heather McGregor worked with Shelley to temporarily store the collection at the Rifle Library until construction of the new Glenwood Library was completed last fall.
The collection was recently delivered from Rifle to Glenwood Springs, and has now been arranged in a secure area by year and publication.
“When we were approached about being the permanent home for the archive, I immediately said yes,” Shelley said. “I believe it’s a good opportunity for the library to hang onto local history, and to provide access to it.”
Glenwood Springs Branch Manager Sue Schnitzer said the volumes are available for the public to view on request any time during regular library hours.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind resource, so they are not allowed to leave the building,” Schnitzer said.
Any of the volumes pre-dating 2000 also require the use of white gloves to help with the preservation of the fragile newsprint paper. Most of the volumes from before 1940 are also kept in special archive boxes.
“We’ve already had people coming in wanting to look for their birth announcement or an obituary,” Schnitzer said. “Anyone is welcome to come in and see what was happening on a given day and year.
“It’s just a fun resource to have,” she said.
Once the summer reading program is over, Schnitzer said she is planning a special “Throw-Back Thursdays” display, with a photo of a select front page of one of the papers in the main library.
“We can also put it up on Facebook, I think that will generate some interest,” she said.
The Post Independent continues to maintain the previous two years worth of bound back volumes at its offices before turning them over to the library. The library also keeps loose copies of more recent editions.
A microfilmed archive of the Glenwood Post that had also been maintained by the library for many years is now in the hands of the Frontier Historical Society.
In addition to the public library system taking over the Glenwood Springs newspaper archives, the bound volumes of the Rifle Citizen Telegram and its predecessors can be found at the Rifle Branch Library. And the bound archives of the former Valley Journal and Roaring Fork Review, which together published from 1974 to 2008, are at the Carbondale Branch Library.