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Winter lecture showcases Glenwood in the 1880s

Picture yourself living in Glenwood in the 1880s.

That is what author and longtime local Angela Parkison asked the audience to do at the Winter Lecture Series on Thursday, Feb. 19, at the Glenwood Springs Branch Library. The lecture drew 81 people and was sponsored by the Friends of the Glenwood Springs Library and the Frontier Historical Society.

Parkison, who is married to fourth generation Glenwood native Don Parkison, used five years of research, family memoirs, clips from Glenwood’s first newspaper, The Glenwood Echo, and vintage photos to give a lecture entitled “Assuming the Risk in the 1880s,” which investigated the challenges the first pioneers faced when John Landis, John Blake and a party of prospectors arrived here in 1879.



Landis lived here first when the land was Ute Indian territory, abounding with hot springs and wide-open spaces, but in less than a decade the little town located on the edge of a canyon would have 20 saloons and a diverse demographic in which one of every five people was an immigrant. Speaking of the grand vision of the early pioneers Parkison said, “They made their own luck and they shared it.”

Isaac Cooper came in 1882, built the Hotel Glenwood, and enticed the railroads to come. Others who came to the west were searching for riches or a new start in life. The area was an attraction to those seeking the Rocky Mountain air and the healing waters of the hot springs to cure themselves of tuberculosis and other ailments.



By 1887, the town sprung into notice as trains barreled in, which made Glenwood more accessible and gave Cooper the idea to not only beautify Glenwood but to make it safe and upstanding so that more people would come. This was the biggest risk pioneer ancestors took ” staking everything they had on hoping others would follow. Their vision flourishes to this day.

However, one thing has not changed, as one woman pointed out during the question and answer period at the end of the lecture. She referred to Parkison’s story of how there were so few women and a plethora of bachelors in the area at the time. She said, “It’s like I always used to say, the odds are good and the goods are odd!”

Wishing to remain anonymous shows that she is a good history buff. She knows that some things are better left a mystery.

Joan and Phil Anderson of Glenwood came to see their daughter Angela give her lecture.

Cheryl Warder, left, of New Castle, works at Bank of Colorado and is secretary of Friends of the Library, and Peg Railsback of Glenwood.

Jane Seglem, left, of New Castle, teaches watercolors at Colorado Mountain College and Joanne Clements of New Castle teaches dyslexic people.

Home schooolers from left, Kerry Honan, 12, of Carbondale, Hanica LaGiglia, 5, and Dania LaGiglia, 10, of Glenwood.

Gary Miller, left, of Rifle, with his wife, Monica Miller, who is Angela’s sister, own Miller Dry Goods in Rifle and Anderson’s Clothing in Glenwood Springs.

Cindy Hines of Glenwood is the director of the Frontier Historical Museum and Pat Conway of Marble is branch manager at the Glenwood Springs Library.

Ercole and Ruth Petrocco of Glenwood said they really enjoyed the talk.

Jeanne Herrell and Corrine Batzel of Glenwood.


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