Glenwood’s Hidden History |

Glenwood’s Hidden History

Elisha Cravens, Glenwood Springs' first convicted murderer, is one man you'll learn about on a Hidden History Tour.
Frontier Historical Society |

Bank robberies, jail escapes, Prohibition, gangsters and even a murder or two — these are just a few of the topics covered in the Frontier Historical Society’s weekly Hidden History Tours.

“We’ve always given tours to groups downtown telling about what some of the buildings are and some of the general history of Glenwood Springs,” said Cindy Hines, executive director of the historical society. “And we noticed when we were doing these tours that people would always ask about some of the sketchier stories: bars, ladies of the evening and things like that. So we decided that what we would do is create a tour based around that subject matter.”

The historical society’s Hidden History Tours are in their third year now, and they start at 7 p.m. every Friday in front of the visitor’s center on Grand Avenue. The tours, which last about an hour, may not be the best fit for children, but kids won’t be turned away, Hines said.

“I like the time that we do them,” Hines said. “It kind of gives people something to do in the evening downtown, either right before or right after having dinner. There aren’t a lot of stores that stay open late downtown, so it gives them something else to do. And then they have the whole weekend to do the pool and the caverns and all those other fun things.”

Hines said the Hidden History Tours are ideal for both locals and visitors alike because the subject matter is pretty obscure.

“The tours are giving them some stories that they wouldn’t normally hear, or they aren’t stories they would read if they bought a history book of Glenwood,” Hines said. “They’re kind of different. They’re what you could call the seedier side of Glenwood’s history.”

The Hidden History Tours make up just a fraction of what the Frontier Historical Society does in the community. It also keeps an archive of documents and more than 5,000 photos, which are made available to anyone doing research for work or pleasure. It also puts on multiple events throughout the year in the name of keeping Glenwood’s history alive, including its annual Ghost Walk up to Linwood Cemetery in the fall and its brand new Playing with the Past events, which teach attendees how to play old frontier gambling games.

“Basically we collect and interpret all of the history of Glenwood Springs,” Hines said. “We have a museum that’s open year round to the public. In the winter, we work with the library to provide a winter lecture series where we bring people in to do lectures usually on history-related subjects.”

Hines’ favorite part of the Hidden History Tours is being able to meet so many different people.

“I like leading the tour because I like interacting with the visitors to Glenwood,” she said. “To me, that’s really fun. We get a dialogue going. They’ll ask questions, and it’s not like they’ll just stand there quietly and listen. There have been people on these tours that were really interesting.”

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