Does it feel like 150 years to you?
Monument dedication Aug. 8 highlights sesquicentennial Colorado City anniversary event

       The 150th year since Colorado City became a town will be celebrated Saturday, Aug. 8 by the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) with several free activities in Bancroft Park between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Flagstone improvements and a new concrete pad have been laid in (through work donated by Ideal-Concrete) next to the historic cabin in Bancroft Park in preparation for the monument that will be installed for the sesquicentennial Founders' Day celebration Saturday, Aug. 8.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The featured attraction of the sesquicentennial Founders' Day will be the dedication at 12:30 p.m. of a new granite monument that identifies eight key aspects of the town's history through etched pictures and text. Funded by donations over the past winter, the six-foot-high monument will be installed in Bancroft Park next to the 150-year-old Garvin Cabin as the OCCHS' gift to the city.
       Before the dedication will be a performance at noon by the 70-member New Horizons Symphonic Band - climaxed at 12:25 p.m. (just before the monument dedication ceremony) by the playing of a march that was originally written in 1899 for the Colorado Midland Railway's Midland Band.
       Here is a chronological list of all activities:
  • 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Civil War encampment by reenactors of Capt. Theodore Dodd's Union company that fought against the Confederates at Val Verde in 1862 (before the pivotal Glorieta Pass battle).
  • 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., craft fair.
  • 10:30 a.m., Victorian Society Dancers, providing 19th century dance demonstrations.
  • Noon, concert by the New Horizons Symphonic Band.
  • 12:30 to 1 p.m., monument dedication.
  • 1 to 1:30 p.m., continued performance by New Horizons.
  • 2 to 3 p.m., Old West reenactments by the Rocky Mountain Gunslingers, including an original dramatization of Colorado City's deadly 1860 shootout between Pat Devlin and Jim Laughlin.
           The OCCHS is a volunteer non-profit organization that owns and operates the History Center in a converted church across the street from Bancroft Park and seeks to preserve Westside history. Both the center, 1 S. 24th St., and the cabin will be open during Founders' Day.
           Throughout this year, the OCCHS has been organizing events in commemoration of the sesquicentennial. Founders' Day will be “a true highlight of our sesquicentennial year,” OCCHS President Joanne Karlson said.
           She praised the support of local merchants, as well as the the Old Colorado City Library's simultaneous-but-synchronized Carnegie Day activities the same day. “We're sharing this celebration with the businesses and the library,” Karlson said. “We're all in on it.”
           The event will also be spiced by visitors from at least two other states whose “fathers and forefathers lived in Colorado City,” she added. “So this is momentous, and so is the monument.”
           According to Dave Hughes, who helped organize Founders' Day, the reenactors will set up their tent the night before, sleeping in the park overnight. For the encampment, they will dress in authentic uniforms (“they'll even take their wristwatches off,” he said) and fire their weapons in controlled military fashion at different times in the morning of Aug. 8. “People can drop by the tent and be educated,” Hughes said.
           Historically Dodd's Company was raised in the Canon City area. Hughes said there are no reenactors (at least at this time) of the 1st Colorado Volunteers, which had been recruited in the Colorado City area and later fought at the Glorieta battle.
           The Devlin-Laughlin script was written by Dave Johnson of the Rocky Mountain Gunslingers, recounting how Laughlin shot Devlin after a quarrel when Devlin failed to pay off a large debt to his former partner. Laughlin was tried (and acquitted) the same day by the Claims Club, the town's only law at that time. Hughes said he likes the script's interactive nature -in which the crowd at Founders' Day, after watching the Claims Club trial, will be polled as a modern “jury” to determine Laughlin's guilt or innocence.
           Hughes' assistance in Founders' Day included helping to draft the text on the monument and to find specialists to get the work done. He also helped with the Midland March by finding the long-lost music (with the help of a musical cousin in another state), then talking to New Horizons leader Ed Nuccio about having his band learn to play it.

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