What do you do?
Susan Fletcher

Where do you work and what is your title?
       I am the historian for the Navigators.
What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
       I get to do many interesting things. Most recently I organized a program March 13 at Glen Eyrie to commemorate the 100th anniversary of General William J. Palmer’s death. I care for the archival documents and photographs of the Navigators and answer questions about its history and Glen Eyrie. Eventually I will be writing a book on the history of the organization.
How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
       I got my start in the public history field 10 years ago as a docent at the McAllister House Museum during the summers when I was home from college. I also interned at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry before going to graduate school. While in my master’s program, I worked at several fantastic places in Indianapolis, including Conner Prairie, a living history village; and the Indiana Historical Society. In January of this year I moved back home to Colorado Springs to start my new job at the Navigators.
What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
       I have a unique position that lets me serve the faith community while indulging my interest in local history. I was born and raised here in Colorado Springs, and the history of this region is imminently appealing to me. I have always been particularly fascinated with General William J. Palmer, so working at Glen Eyrie is a delightful fit for me.
If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
       If I could change one thing, I would have a beautiful research facility already in place here, complete with proper climate-controlled storage, space for exhibits, and a reading room for scholars. The Navigators are planning for such a facility sometime in the next few years, but until then I'm making do with what I have.
What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
       Like many liberal arts majors, my education taught me how to be a great scholar but I had to learn simple business skills on the job. In my first job at Lee University, fresh out of grad school, I found myself in charge of budgets and payroll for my department. Historians typically don't like these financial things at all, so it took me some time to come to embrace them.
What makes working on the Westside special?
       Glen Eyrie and Garden of the Gods are two of the most beautiful places in the region! This magnificent land is a wild and wonderful environment in which to work. I go hiking every day at lunchtime and frequently see herds of deer and bighorn sheep. I love taking visitors to Glen Eyrie for the first time and watching their faces as they soak in the beauty of the estate. I also love how close we are to the mountains here on the Westside. From Glen Eyrie, the Pike National Forest is a short hike up Queen's Canyon. Taking a lunch break in a national forest? Definitely special.

“What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you know someone who has an interesting job on the Westside (but doesn’t live here), he/she might be a candidate for this column! If you know someone who might qualify, give us a call at 471-6776.