Lecture set on 'Hidden History of the Upper Rio Grande'

ALAMOSA — Home to long-forgotten mining towns, defunct fisheries and neglected cabins, the turbulent headwaters of the Upper Rio Grande conceal a largely unknown history.

Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys brought their legendary Texas swing to Crooked Creek Canyon’s S Lazy U Barn Dance while a comedy of errors unfolded around the ranch’s secret still. Obstetrician Dr. MaryAnn Faunce, the daughter of an abolitionist and suffragette, made house calls as a real-life Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. The silver boomtown Creede had a variety of housing provided to numerous rough and tumble transient miners, but none as enduring as the Creede Hotel.

Upper Rio Grande native Carol Ann Wetherill and author Sandra Wagner preserve and celebrate the pioneering spirit that defined the early days in this relatively unknown corner of southern Colorado.  The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3rd, in Porter Hall, Room 130, on the Adams State University Campus, 208 Edgemont, Alamosa.  

Sandra grew up in northern Colorado, attended college, served two years in the Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa, and worked for many years as a chemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. She currently teaches chemistry part-time at Adams State University and enjoys life training mules and rescuing Dachshunds at Lost Trail Station on the Upper Rio Grande. Her years of working allowed her to accumulate many writing and computer skills, which have been well-utilized in the preparation of this book.

Carol Ann grew up as a fourth generation native in the Upper Rio Grande, and collected many local and family stories in her 85 years. Some say her collection of old newspaper clippings, photographs, letters and miscellaneous pieces of paper are just piles of trash, but what a treasure trove of information they contain. In addition to the history on-hand, Carol Ann also spent many hours on the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection and Heritage Quest websites, teasing out tidbits of supporting information. With photos and information from local historical societies, books, articles and various Internet sites, the pieces and parts are collected and distilled into the stories.

The Colorado Field Institute is a nonprofit corporation organized in 2005 to promote greater stewardship of the natural and cultural resources within the San Luis Valley. For more information on this event, email [email protected] or visit www.coloradofieldinstitute.org