Zebulon Pike bicentennial: Rock Ledge event follows OCCHS talk

       Fresh from portrayals for the Lewis & Clark bicentennial, a six-member Core of Engineers reenactment group from Leavenworth, Kan., will set up a camp depicting the Zebulon Pike expedition Sunday, Jan. 22 at Rock Ledge Ranch.
       Going from 1 to 4 p.m., the free event will also involve American Indian historian Alden Naranjo from Ignacio, as well as local Indians and other history buffs in appropriate costume. The camp, including Indian lodges, horses and various gear from that time, “will simulate what a hypothetical meeting between Pike and the Indians in the area might have been like,” according to Gene Smith of Colorado Springs Parks.
       The exhibition will be the latest in an ongoing series of Pike-related events in the region. The Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) featured Pioneers Museum docent Diana Francese in a presentation about Pike, his career and his wife, Clara. After Pike died in the War of 1812, Clara faithfully retained many of his valuables, including his manuscripts, his letters, his sword and the flag that had draped his coffin. Sadly, Francese recounted, a fire swept through Clara's residence in 1845, destroying these and other mementoes of his life.
       Lieutenant Pike and his soldiers never actually came to the current Westside area, Ranch Manager Andy Morris noted. Any meeting with the Indians would probably have been somewhere east of Pueblo, he said.
       Although the Colorado region was largely unmapped at that time (1806), people from the United States were not unknown to its Indians. “It wasn't a big deal to see a white man,” Morris said. “They'd been trading with them for years.”
       The transition for the Leavenworth group will not be too complicated. The Lewis & Clark expedition took place in the same era (the years 1803-06), so the weapons, military uniforms and other outfitting will be about the same.
       A working ranch in the style of the 1880s, Rock Ledge Ranch is a city-owned historic site.
       OCCHS, as well as Rock Ledge, plans to have other Pike-related events and activities in 2006. “This (the Pike camp reenactment) “is a neat way to start the new year and find out more about the man whose name is on the peak,” Morris said.

Westside Pioneer article