Historical society plans night of old-time games | PostIndependent.com

Historical society plans night of old-time games

This is what 7th Street in Glenwood Springs used to look like. The Frontier Historical Society is accomplishing its outreach mission on Saturday with Playing with the Past, a game night featuring old West dice games.
Courtesy of the Frontier Historical Society |

If You go...

Who: Frontier Historical Society

What: Playing with the Past

When: Bar opens at 6:30 p.m., games at 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Elks Lodge, 51939 Highway 6 in West Glenwood

How Much: $10

Even if you love gambling, you may have never heard of Chuck-a-Luck, Klondike, High-Low or Hazard.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, the Frontier Historical Society is bringing back these Old West games and more for its first “Playing with the Past” game night at the Elks Lodge, renamed the Defiance Saloon for one night only.

“That’ll be its name for the night,” said Cindy Hines, executive director of the Frontier Historical Society. “We’ll have gentlemen in costume who will be the dealers at each of the tables, and hopefully we’ll have a couple tables of each game set up so there’ll be plenty of room for everybody to spread out and play.”

This Saturday’s game night is the first in a series of three and will focus on dice games. For a $10 entry fee, participants will be given $100 worth of “Defiance Dollars” to play with.

“We have funny money, and I actually just copied them on the copy machine,” Hines said with a laugh. “They’ll get that as part of their admission when they come in. That $10 for the evening just helps us recoup our costs for putting the event on. It’s not really a fundraiser; we’re not really making money. It’s more of an outreach thing. We thought maybe people would like to learn how to play these games.”

Hines said the idea for the event came about when she met Doug Cubbison, who works at a Wyoming museum, at the annual Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums conference. Cubbison is an expert on frontier gambling, Hines said.

“We started talking at dinner one night, and I thought, ‘Oh, he knows how to play the game of Faro,’” she said. “Faro is an old game that people don’t usually play anymore, and it was a really popular frontier gambling game that Doc Holliday played and dealt. We realized there were so many frontier gambling games out there that people don’t know how to play anymore that we actually were able to make a series of events.”

After Saturday’s dice night, Hines said August will have an evening of card games, and Cubbison will be on hand to teach attendees how to play Faro. She said there will probably be a third game night later in the fall.

“Some of the games are really simple, so they’ll be easy for people to learn,” she said. “Some of them are a little more complicated, like craps.”

Another fun aspect of Playing with the Past that Hines hopes people will take advantage of is the opportunity to dress up.

“If people want to dress-up, they can,” she said. “It’s kind of a fun excuse to put on a costume, but they certainly don’t have to if they’re uncomfortable with that. Most of us will be in costume; in fact, I’ve been working on mine for a while now.”

The games start at 7 p.m., but the bar at the Elks Lodge will be open at 6:30 p.m. if people want to purchase food or drink, Hines said.

Overall, Hines thinks Playing with the Past is a perfect opportunity for the Frontier Historical Society to fulfill its mission.

“It kind of goes to our mission of reaching out to the community and teaching them about the past,” Hines said. “They’ll learn the games first, and then they’ll spend the evening playing. It’ll teach, but it’ll also be entertaining.”

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