APISHAPA VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Newsletter - 2015 Review

Officers at end of year:  Lucy (Jill) Tamburelli, President, Patricia Romero, Vice President, Ellen Larson, Treasurer, and Judy Morgan, Secretary.  These loyal volunteers and members of this organization have pledged to save the history of the Apishapa River Valley, the Town of Aguilar and the surrounding area.  Our regular meetings are held the second Thursday of the month at the Aguilar Community Center at 1:00 PM unless otherwise posted.

In May the Apishapa Valley Heritage Center at 151 Main St. in Aguilar opened for the summer months.  Our main focus was the announcement of the designation of the Foster Stage Station and Hotel to the National Register of Historic Places in March of 2015.  Longtime member, William Tilley, began the nomination process for this listing several years earlier.  In 2011, the AVHS received a grant from the Colorado State Historical Fund to conduct an archaeological assessment of this mid-19th century stage station site.   This was completed with the help of students from UCCS, W. Arbogast, Principal Investigator and Mr. Tilley, Project Archaeologist.  This included an area of 2.5 acres located along the Apishapa River with one of the earliest cemeteries in the area.  The two story adobe structure is in a deteriorated condition with only parts of the walls and chimney still standing.  This site is on private property and not visible from any public roads.  For more information on this historic site, go to our “Stories” link on this site.  We wish to thank Mr. Tilley for all his hard work and the owner of this historical site for letting us pursue this project.   Our goal in the future will be an information kiosk or sign in the area, or the first steps toward restoration.

In June we successfully presented a one woman play featuring the true story of Mary Thomas, a young Welsh singer and wife of a young miner at the Delagua Mine south of Aguilar.  It was presented in commemoration of the miners’ strike which led to the infamous massacre of thirteen women and children at the Ludlow tent colony.   The play, written by Barbara Yule, was performed at the Mt. Carmel Chapel Theatre in Trinidad by Denver actress, Tanya Kaye Perkins.  Many thanks to the generous sponsors and the hard work of members for the success of this event.

Several members hosted our summer meetings.  In July we met at the Dotson Centennial Farm for our annual “summer potluck” meeting. The Dotson family was an important part of the earliest history involving the Foster Stagecoach Station.  In August we were invited to the mountain home of Mike Kernor, noted blacksmith in this area. Mike showed us some of the Native American artifacts found on his property such as a “metate” and “mano”.  In September, hosts, Arvin and Karol Lyon, opened their “straw bale” home to us and shared the beautiful view of the East Spanish Peak and the distinctive Fishers Peak to the south.  Sadly, later in the month of November of this year, Arvin lost his battle with Parkinsons disease.  He will be sadly missed.

This year our annual fall fundraiser was a first ever “chili cook off”.   It was a great success and we will surely continue this event in the coming year.  It was well attended and great fun.  Proceeds from this event will be used for upkeep and costs of keeping our local history museum, the Apishapa Valley Heritage Center, which houses our collection of local historical pictures, documents, newspapers, family stories and our unique diorama showing the location of past businesses on Aguilar’s Main Street.  Appointments can be made to visit our Heritage Center by contacting us at apishipahistorical@gmail.com  or calling 719-680-1393 or 680-0528.

2016 has been declared as “The Year of the Stagecoach” for our organization.  We will research the history of the use of the stagecoach in the area.   One of the stagecoaches used to ferry passengers from the Lynn Depot Station to Aguilar was owned by the Baudino Livery Stable and is currently housed at the Bloom Museum in Trinidad.   A group of local citizens hope to revive the “Aguilar Days” reunion in the month of July and the parade usually scheduled would be a fun time to bring in a stagecoach entry.   Watch for confirmation and more info on this much anticipated event.