Getting in the spirit of Colorado City history
A mostly light-hearted, partly impromptu skit kicked off the 150th anniversary of Colorado City's founding Jan. 9.
More than 100 people in the Old Colorado City History Center saw five costumed individuals act out some of the early highlights from the town.
Narrated by Dave Hughes, the show included an autobiographical account by Paul Shepard as Colorado Springs co-founder Anthony Bott, a dramatization of Colorado City's losing the honor of being the territorial capital in 1861 (thanks to the likes of “Denver Dan,” played by Tom Hendrix), and an autobiographical account of military leader John Chivington (played by Curt Neeley).
The territorial capital piece also featured Kathy McBride, playing Lucy Maggard, who ran a boarding house where the out-of-town politicians stayed and (history says) offended some of the Denver-area politicians by telling them they had to cut their own wood and fetch their own water.
Neeley recalled Chivington as an anti-slavery minister who later led a key Union victory - with the help of recruits from Colorado City - over Confederate troops in the 1862 Battle of Glorieta Pass.
In a controversial turn, Neeley and Hughes also defended Chivington's conduct at the 1864 Battle of Sand Creek, which some historians have described as a “massacre” of mostly Arapaho and Cheyenne women and children - as opposed to Neeley's description of it as an attack on warriors who had been violently raiding white settlements.
A member of the audience objected to what Neeley said, but he replied that Chivington's accusers afterward were led by an officer over whom Chivington had been promoted, and noted that if it had just been women and children it was unlikely that 24 Colorado soldiers would have been killed and 51 wounded.
The Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), a volunteer non-profit that owns and operates the History Center, is planning a number of other events for the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) this year, according to President Joanne Karlson.
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