‘Carnegie’ coming to town for Founders’ Day
Impersonator seeks to bring life to philanthropist who gave Old Town a library in 1904
Doug Mischler can be a lot of different people. At 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, at the seventh annual Founders' Day in Bancroft
Park, he is going to be Andrew Carnegie.
A history professor at the University of Nevada at Reno, Mischler in recent years has made a side career of portraying various historical figures before audiences in what's known as a “chautauqua” style.
“I've been doing chautauquas for 10 years now,” he told the Westside Pioneer in a phone interview. “I like them. It teaches history in ways that essays and conversations don't.”
The Carnegie connection to Founders' Day is the Old Colorado City Library. A century ago, the wealthy industrialist-turned- philanthropist paid for the construction of the library building at 2418 W. Pikes Peak Ave. The structure is still in use today - though undergoing a major restoration.
The Pikes Peak Library District is bringing in Mischler to honor Carnegie's contribution, draw attention to the restoration's fund- raising campaign and give people an insight into who the benefactor was.
After making his fortune, Carnegie became convinced that wealthy people have a debt to society. “He is the father of philanthropy,” Mischler said. Following through on that belief, the industrialist gave money to numerous causes. Among these were libraries. He funded “thousands of them,” Mischler said.
Told about the three Carnegie libraries in the vicinity - including downtown and Manitou Springs - the historian was mildly surprised. “They were usually farther apart,” he said. But he also noted that Carnegie had “no real rules” in giving away his money. People would tell them what they needed, and “he'd send them a check,” Mischler said.
In his show, Mischler will dress as Carnegie and, in effect, become the man. Having researched Carnegie's life and personality extensively, he will welcome interaction with the audience, and answer questions as if he were Carnegie himself.
Other characters Mischler has portrayed include Billy Sunday, Ernie Pyle, Theodore Roosevelt, P.T. Barnum, Capt. William Clark and Thomas Hart Benton.
Organized by the Old Colorado City Historical Society, Founders' Day will be both Aug. 14 and 15 in Bancroft Park. The free event will offer a craft fair and bake sale with live music both days, a puppet show and bagpipes the 14th and an afternoon picnic with kids' games the 15th.
Westside Pioneer Article