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'Back in the black': Successful Holiday Tour boosts Historical Society's finances

ABOVE: Inside Lorig's Western Wear during the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) Holiday Tour Dec. 7, OCCHS volunteer Marilyn Lee shows tour attendees a photo of the location's original enterprise: Jacob Schmidt's Saloon, in the early 1900s. She is dressed as Bertha Schmidt, Jacob's wife. Her real-life husband Terry was portraying Jacob. BELOW: Tour attendees walk up the original staircase (over a century old) inside what was originally the home of Colorado City entrepreneur Henry Templeton. It's now the 2South Food and Wine Bar.
Westside Pioneer photos
       Board members of the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) are pleased at the turnout for their 20th annual Holiday Tour Dec. 7.
       A total of 242 tickets were sold, which could be the highest number since the very first year in 1994, when the number was about 300, but is certainly the best in the past five years, according to OCCHS Treasurer Susie Schorsch.
        The tour is a major annual fundraiser for the all-volunteer society, which uses most of the earnings to maintain the Old Colorado City History Center museum/bookstore it owns at 1 S. 24th St.
       Going in, there had been some financial concern because of the lingering impacts of unanticipated costs the past two years (from rain damage and transient issues). As it turned out, the tour “was a resounding success," Schorsch reported. “We will be in the black in our operations
again.”
       She'll have to wait for all the bills to come in before she knows the exact numbers, “but I can tell you that we more than doubled what we anticipated for our profits on the event,” she said.
       Schorsch credited board member/past president Sharon Swint for a “bang-up job” on her promotional effort.
       Other factors appear to have been the mild weather that day (helping lure last-minute ticket-buyers), along with the fact that five of the nine locations were new this year.
       This was the first year that historical commercial sites (three in all) that were not bed&breakfasts have been included, and the public seemed to like them, Schorsch said. The three were the OCCA Welcome Center (originally a grocery store), the 2South Food and Wine Bar (originally the Templeton House) and Lorig's Western Wear (originally Jacob Schmidt's Saloon).
       In previous tours, the society has sought to improve the tour experience by assigning one or more volunteers to each tour location. This year that effort was enhanced by providing those volunteers with scripts - prepared by society historians - that helped them talk knowledgeably about the backgrounds of the season and the houses themselves. Schorsch credited member/past president Bev Disch for lining up the volunteers.
       A handout at one location included the following bit of lore: “During the Puritan reign, Christmas Day celebrations along with carols were banned in England and in the colonies, and only formal hymns were allowed, as carols were too close to pagan festivals. It was the illiterate masses that remembered the carols and customs that the educated chose to forget.”
       “It was a good event,” summed up board member Joanne Karlson, who helped lead the tour's planning. “People enjoyed it.”

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 12/10/14; Community: Old Colorado City History Center)

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