8th season for Magpie Players at Garden

       The Magpie Players are a weekly part of the summer offerings at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center. This year’s Magpie Players cast members are (from left)
Bonnie Frumm, Bette Lamore, Dave Durkee, Suzanne
Jarvinen, Dana Haefner and Lee Tatum. In front is Bret Tennis.
Courtesy of Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center
       Comprised of volunteers and staff from the Visitor Center, various Players have for the past eight years dressed up as famous characters from local history and told their stories in a free half-hour performance summer Thursdays at 4:45 p.m. No reservations are necessary.
       The "Magpie" name stems from the large magpie nest near the Visitor Center. "It's been our mascot since we first opened the building [in 1995]," said Bonnie Frumm, the center director.
       The following character capsules are taken from a Visitor Center press release:
       The man for whom Pikes Peak is named was Zebulon Pike (Bret Tennis), an explorer sent west in 1806 to document territory of the Louisiana Purchase. In November of that year he attempted to climb the mountain he called Grand Peak, but he could not prevail. In 1820, Edwin James did reach the summit, but the maps still called it Pikes Peak.
       Julia Archibald Holmes (Suzanne Jarvinen) was part of a gold-search group that camped near the Garden of the Gods. She became famous as 'the Bloomer Girl" who walked in bloomers and moccasins along with her husband all the way from Kansas. At the age of 20, she climbed Pikes Peak -the first white woman to do so.
       In 1859, Rufus Cable (Dave Durkee) and an associate, Melancthon Beach, had the job of platting out the new town of Colorado City. On the way they wandered through some astonishing rock formations, which Beach suggested would make a "capital place for a beer garden." To this, Cable replied that it was a garden more suitably "fit for the gods." And thus the Garden of the Gods was named.
       Queen Palmer (Dana Haefner) was the wife of Colorado Springs founder William Palmer. However, with heart problems and altitude-related health difficulties, she moved back East and then to England to raise their three daughters. After her death in 1894, her daughters moved back to Colorado Springs.
       Alice Perkins (Bonnie Frumm) was the daughter of Charles Elliott Perkins, a railroad associate of General Palmer, who acquired the Garden of the Gods, but never built on it. He died in 1907, with the wish that the land be given to the City of Colorado Springs for use as a park. In 1909, his six children fulfilled that wish with the biggest "Christmas gift" in the city's history.
       Katharine Lee Bates (Bette Lamore) of Wellesley, Massachusetts and a world traveler, came to Colorado Springs as a visiting professor at Colorado College in 1893. She journeyed up Pikes Peak by mule wagon on a summer afternoon and was inspired to write a poem, "America the Beautiful" which was published in 1895, and later set to music.
       Lee Tatum serves as the Magpie Players narrator.

Westside Pioneer/press release