Come up to Glenwood Springs’ new magical mystery tours
Arts and Entertainment Contributor
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – If the streets of historic Glenwood, once known as Defiance, could talk they might speak of gun slinging, gambling and ghosts of Old West past.
This summer, the streets are finally talking.
Through Labor Day, the Frontier Historical Society and Museum hosts two walking tours to take visitors and locals down memory lane.
“Many historical societies provide walking tours, but I want these to be special,” said executive director Cindy Hines. “Glenwood has fascinating history for being such a small town.”
Hines was originally interested in amping up Glenwood’s history tours after taking walking tours of London.
“They offered many different tours, and I took the one about Jack the Ripper,” she said. “It was incredibly popular, and the tour guide was animated and engaging. Thinking back to that, I thought, ‘We can do this here.’”
The new Hidden History Tours, which premiered Memorial Day weekend, take place at 10 a.m. Fridays through the summer in downtown Glenwood. Costumed tour guides portray characters from the old mining town’s past in “Robbers and Reprobates and The Red Light District.” Parental discretion is advised due to subject matter, which will be handled delicately, Hines said.
“The Historical Society has provided tours of downtown Glenwood for years, but focusing mainly on the buildings and what businesses have been housed in them, when they were built, if they are on the National Register of Historic Places, etc.,” Hines said. “During these tours, a lot of people asked where the brothels were. I thought why not give them what they really want? Stories of the ‘seedy underbelly’ of our history: bank robberies, saloons and gambling houses, murders and prostitution. It has been great fun to research the stories, match them up with locations downtown and put together the tour.”
The Hidden History Tour includes stories on Glenwood’s first murderer, Elisha Cravens, as well as info on the city’s connections to Ted Bundy, Diamond Jack Alterie, Doc Holliday and more.
“We have a rotating cast of about six to eight tour guides, and leading these tours will be fun,” Hines said. “We get to be ambassadors for Glenwood Springs, interacting with locals and visitors to our town. It will be great to relate history in an entertaining fashion. Heritage tourism is a hot commodity right now, and these tours feed into that.”
The Buried History Tour is a spin-off from the society’s popular Ghost Walks that take place in the fall in Linwood Cemetery, home to Doc Holliday’s gravestone.
“There are a lot of other great stories that we don’t tell,” Hines said. “The Buried History Tour will focus on them, as well as Victorian burial customs, traditions and superstitions.”
Buried History showcases Kid Curry, Doc Holliday and mummies, to name a few. They begin at 10 a.m. Saturdays at the museum at 10th and Colorado. Participants can walk to the Linwood trailhead at 12th and Bennett, or drive and meet the guide there. Hines said to expect a moderately strenuous hike for the Buried History Tour and leisurely walking for Hidden History.
“Great stories and fun tour guides,” she said. “Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a water bottle.”
The new tours raise funds for the Frontier Historical Society and Museum. Tickets, $15 for adults 14 and older and $10 for children 3-13, can be purchased in advance at (970) 945-4448 or at the museum.
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