History Happy Hours
By Alesha Damerville
Photo from the Tread of Pioneers
On the first Tuesday of each month, October through April, the Tread of Pioneers presents the "History Happy Hour" series at 5:30pm at the Butcherknife Brewery. Attendees will receive one free craft beer to sip while they are immersed into the rowdy and raucous Routt County. “The focus of the talks will be the mysteries, legends, lore, debauchery, conflicts, wars, crimes, lawless, and lawmen of the Wild West,” said the event’s organizer and museum Executive Director Candice Bannister. “The event has been extremely popular due to the perfect pairing of fine local beer and fascinating local history.”
This series kicks off Oct. 3 author and Hayden Heritage Center Curator Laurel Watson will discuss “Brooklyn: Steamboat’s Red Light District.” Watson will unveil the stories, characters, and shenanigans of the whisky crowd that congregated in Brooklyn just across the river from Steamboat Springs.
On Nov. 7, nationally renowned author and historian Peter Decker will present Ute Indian history and conflicts, including the death of Nathan Meeker. “Make no mistake, this was nothing less than a land grab by the U.S. government,” Decker said when describing the U.S. government’s broken promises and land treaties with the Utes and other tribes.
On Dec. 5, local historian Paul Bonnifield returns to the series with “Routt County Murders and Kidnappings.” Bonnifield is well known locally for his in-depth research and broad knowledge of Routt County history.
On Jan. 2, Museum of Northwest Colorado Assistant Director Paul Knowles will present “Routt County Gold: From First Strikes to Still-Lost Treasures.” Knowles, who completed much of his research for a recent exhibition at the Craig museum, is also an amateur gold miner himself.
Local Olympian, outfitter, and rancher, Ray Heid shares his “Stories from the Trail” on Feb. 6. Heid has become famous locally for his storytelling while leading guests on trail rides for Del’s Triangle 3 Ranch.
The March 6 talk will be “The KKK in Routt County.” “It is almost unbelievable that such an organization could spread beyond the south into Colorado, even more so to the rural areas of the West,” wrote the late Oak Creek historian Mike Yurich.
Local historian and esteemed author, Sureva Towler will close the series on April 3 with “Stories from Boys at the Bar,” Towler’s 2006 book about the “vanishing breed of cowboys and hellions.”
The History Happy Hour events are examples of the museum’s outreach efforts to partner with local organizations and bring unique history programs and events out into the community—to bars, coffees shops, the Chief Theater, Bud Werner Library, churches, community centers, schools, and more.
Tread of Pioneers Museum’s History Happy Hours:
-First Tuesday of each month at 5:30pm (October 2017 through April 2018)
-Butcherknife Brewery- 2875 Elk River Rd.
-FREE event and one free craft beer for all who attend; donations appreciated. Space is limited.