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OCCHS plans new event: ‘Haunted Histories’

       The Cemetery Crawl is dead, but will rise from the grave with new life.

At the conclusion of the "Legendary Ladies" show - individual presentations of stand-out female characters from the West - the reenactors took a group bow before the audience in the Old Colorado City History Center Aug. 8. The group was the featured act for the celebration of the 156th annual Colorado City Founders Day, sponsored by the Old Colorado City Historical Society.
Westside Pioneer photo

       That's the hope of the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS). The volunteer nonprofit has announced a new event Saturday, Sept. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. Titled “Haunted Histories of Old Colorado City,” it will replace the Crawl but still be held in Fairview Cemetery and feature historical figures.
       According to OCCHS lead organizer Susie Schorsch, Haunted Histories will be styled after a modern format, successful elsewhere in the region, in which activities take place at night and actors at gravestones portray the characters as ghosts rather than live people being reenacted.
       The event is a fundraiser to help cover the OCCHS' costs in operating the Old Colorado City History Center at 1 S. 24th St. The annual Cemetery Crawl had also been a fundraiser, but after 17 years it was becoming less popular and OCCHS figured it was time for something new. Haunted Histories “could be a very good way to learn history, if we do it right,” Schorsch said.
       Tickets are $20 in advance at the History Center (open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) or by calling 636-1225.
       Three other OCCHS events, all at the History Center with a $5 cost for non-society members, are scheduled through November. No reservations are required, but seating is limited. The events are:
  • Friday, Sept. 11 at 11 a.m., “Ice Production: the Storage and Delivery in Tri-Lakes, Monument and Ute Pass Regions.” Local historian Tom VanWormer will discuss how ice used to be made, stored and delivered in cooler locations of the region from the 1880s to the 1940s. “The introduction of natural ice in the late 1800's allowed a broadening diversity to the American diet,” a press release states.
  • Saturday, Oct. 10 at 11 a.m., “First Person Portrayal of a Civil War Soldier.” In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, reenactor Benny Nasser will “become” Darius Minier, who signed up to fight for the Union.
           Nasser is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, as well as the 21st Michigan Volunteer Infantry and the 2nd Colorado Volunteer Infantry, a Civil War reenacting unit. He will take up Minier's story through his recollections after the war, when he was living in Denver, a press release release states.
  • Saturday, Nov. 14 at 11 a.m., “World War II Stories: Pearl Harbor and the Dolittle Raid.” Ken Valles, who has researched World War II for 30 years, will use video clips and a graphic display to explain the events that brought America into the war.
           “This is a great event to help us remember Veterans Day,” an OCCHS press release states.
           Tunnel Tales, a new event in July, was a successful fundraiser for the society. Schorsch said that about 200 people bought tickets
           Featured were five Old Colorado City locations that are everyday businesses now, but research has shown that in bygone days they had basement tunnels that could have allowed secret passage for “proper” men who wanted to hide their nightlife shenanigans.

    Westside Pioneer article