It’s About Time column: If you care about history, get your checkbook out |

It’s About Time column: If you care about history, get your checkbook out

Bill Kight
It’s About Time
Bill Kight

A few months have gone by, along with another year, since the Nov. 7 election in which the mill levy for all the historical societies in Garfield County failed to pass.

This span of time has given me a chance to reflect on our effort to fund historic preservation at more than survival rations. As a result there are a few things that are on my mind.

First I want to say to those people who voted no on ballot issue 1A, I respect the fact that you exercised our American right to cast our ballot as part of the freedom we enjoy as Americans. Though we didn’t agree on this particular issue, thank you for voting.

I especially understand that you may not have voted against history, you simply didn’t want your taxes raised.

Next, there are 5,237 of you in Garfield County that deserve a big thanks for voting for the 1A ballot initiative. That figure includes those 1,558 of you in Glenwood Springs who voted yes. Allow me and the Glenwood Springs Historical Society to say publicly, thank you.

Now comes the hard part. What about those of you who didn’t vote? Was there a particular reason for not being an active, caring citizen?

Frankly it astonishes me that only 45 percent of registered voters in Garfield County exercised their right to participate in our democratic process.

Perhaps this indifference is due to simply not caring about history and historic preservation. Maybe you’ve never visited the now defunct Railroad Museum or any of the other historical society museums in the county. Such lack of exposure can result in apathy.

Come to think of it it’s not an easy thing to figure out why some people like history and are involved in preserving the past and other folks could care less.

There doesn’t seem to be any age or gender issue with who likes history. At our annual ghost walk you can see the excitement in school age kids or octogenarians when they say how much they appreciate what we do.

Could it be some teacher in school turned you against history because all they fed you were dry facts and dates that you were supposed to memorize but could never remember?

Let me challenge anyone reading this who didn’t vote to come see me at the Frontier Museum at 1001 Colorado Ave. in Glenwood Springs. Let’s have a respectful dialogue about why you didn’t vote.

Convince me that your vote wouldn’t have made any difference, not that I haven’t heard that argument before. Help me understand why historic preservation doesn’t turn your crank enough for you to cast a ballot.

It wouldn’t be fair to say that if lots of people (say 2,000-3,000) who didn’t vote would have voted they could have turned the tide in favor of 1A.

We are working off the assumption that if you cared enough about history you would have voted. We especially shouldn’t expect nonvoters to have voted yes had they voted.

So where do we go from here?

Here’s a proposal. If you voted no to 1A but still care about history get your checkbook out. And if you voted yes on 1A, since it didn’t pass you can get your checkbook out, too.

Memberships start at only $30 a year, and you’re a member of the Glenwood Springs Historical Society for 2018. Aside from preserving Glenwood Springs and our region’s history you get among other things free admittance to the Frontier Museum and Doc’s Collection in Bullock’s basement on the corner of Eighth and Grand.

Members also get discounted tickets to the annual Linwood Cemetery Ghost Walk.

If you’re not a member or haven’t sent your dues in for 2018, the address is 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs, CO 81601.

Bill Kight is the executive director of the Glenwood Springs Historical Society and writes a column about history monthly. He does ask that you wait a few weeks until he recovers from surgery before visiting him at the museum.