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Letter: Real history

I recently was tasked with writing two feature stories that required some digging into the history of the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys. One was about the Rio Grande railroad corridor; the other about Theodore Roosevelt’s 1905 bear and lion hunt in the Divide Creek area.

If you know what you’re looking for and can discern between fluff and valid news, the internet is a great tool. But there is nothing like strolling in the doors of a local museum, historical society or library to gather information. The Glenwood Springs Historical Society, Silt Historical Park and Mount Sopris Historical Society were invaluable resources for my research. Through these entities, I was able to learn things about our valley that I never would have found on the worldwide web.

First off, the people: George and Alice are two of the volunteer docents at the Silt Historical Park, and they have many stories to share about their experiences, families and neighbors who have been in the area for generations. The Silt Historical Park is a garden oasis just north of the main drag, protected by old train cars and restored cabins dating back to the early 1900s.

The day I visited the Glenwood Springs Historical Society, I followed archivist Patsy Stark into the basement where one volunteer was packaging two fancy dresses dated to around 1925. One silk dress had a plunging back line with intricate beadwork, and the silk was so old, it was like tissue paper. After admiring the careful handling of the dress by this volunteer, I got down to business, sifting through old Avalanche Echo newspapers and firsthand accounts of Roosevelt’s visit to the area.

As a journalist who relied on these historical societies for work, I will vote yes on Garfield County 1A, the ballot measure that asks voters to support museums and cultural heritage with a new property tax. But I also cast that vote in support of the continued work of these historical societies to preserve and share the stories of the people and places that have contributed to what we call home.

Trina Ortega

Carbondale


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