Spann to revive great-grandma’s memory again at 8th annual Cemetery Crawl
Amanda Robinson is not a well-known name to many Westsiders. That's something Dottie Spann tries to change every year at
the Cemetery Crawl.
She will be back again this year to play Robinson, her great-grandmother, on Sunday, Aug. 21, the second day of the eighth annual Crawl, sponsored by the Old Colorado City Histor-ical Society (OCCHS). On Saturday, Aug. 20, the early Colorado Springs resident will be portrayed by Maria Madigar.
“It's really just a matter of helping the group at the history museum make it possible for people to know the background of our town,” said Spann, a life-long resident who attended Whittier Elementary and West Junior High before going on to Colorado Springs High School and Colorado College.
The times both days will be 2 to 5 p.m. The cemetery is in the Midland area at 1000 S. 26th St. Tickets are available for $5 in advance at the History Center, 1 S. 24th St., or for $7 at the cemetery the days of the event.
Crawl guides will lead groups of 5 to 10 people through the cemetery to headstones where certain historical figures are buried. At each such headstone will be someone dressed for the part, who will give a brief speech about the person and answer questions.
Other figures (and their impersonators) both days are: Colorado Springs founder Anthony Bott (Dave Hughes), madam Laura Belle McDaniel (Jennifer Clark), 20th century “Renaissance man” Luther McKnight (Don Ellis), early-days Rev. Duncan and Katherine Lamont (Ed Hughes and Nadine Keaney), early resident Hattie Hedges Trout (Britney Furlong), Civil War Q.M. Sgt. John Ingersoll (Rod Cooley) and Colorado City newspaper editor John McCreary (LaRue Ebersole).
The story of Amanda and her husband, Charles Robinson, is part of the book, “Black Pioneers,” published in 1978, in which Dorothy Bass Spann (Dottie Spann's mother), tells the history of her family. According to the book, Charles was a former slave who fought for the North in the Civil War, while Amanda was a runaway slave who had found her way to New Mexico before the war brought black people's freedom.
The two eventually met and married in New Mexico, moving their family to Colorado Springs by the mid-1880s. In the early 1900s, one of their children, Mozie, an accomplished pianist, lived at Glen Eyrie, where her husband, Jesse Bass, trained Gen. William Palmer's horses until the city founder's death in 1909.
Dorothy Bass Spann, born in 1905, actually wrote the story about Amanda Robinson that Dottie Spann uses in her portrayal.
“I wish she was here to talk to you,” Dottie said of her mother, who died in 2001.
Dottie Spann, born in 1935, has mostly pleasant memories of the Colorado Springs of her youth, even though, as she put it, “those were the days when the town was prejudiced.” The bulk of her working career was in civil service at the Air Force Academy, from 1962 until her retirement in 1997.
She never married, so she has no progeny ready to eventually carry on the Amanda and Charles Robinson story at the Cemetery Crawl. However, Dottie is hopeful that one of her nieces or nephews might someday take up those laurels.
Westside Pioneer article