We gathered in the dark at 12th Street and Bennett, lanterns in hand, preparing to embark on a walk to Glenwood’s pioneer graveyard, Linwood Cemetery. It was a brisk October evening, and the chill in the air helped quicken our pace up the rocky hillside toward the final resting places of many of the valley’s first European settlers. What during the daytime would have been a cheery jaunt up one of the town’s most popular hiking paths had, at night, turned eerie and tinged with the supernatural.
Our group, a large late-night round of Ghost Walkers led by a Glenwood Springs Historical Society volunteer on the Saturday evening before Halloween, was giddy with anticipation. Who would we encounter on this tour of the past? As we entered the cemetery and gathered around to hear the tales of each of the “ghosts,” or costumed locals portraying certain graveyard residents amongst the tombstones, I was reminded: there is no better or more effective route to learning about history than to engage with it in such a living, breathing way. Under the timeless cast of autumn moonlight, I left Linwood that night feeling I’d had a meaningful connection with the people and stories of our community’s past.
Before the little ghouls and goblins haunt the valley’s streets in search of candy later this month, we thought it would be fun to take a look at several of the area’s opportunities for a living history connection. Start in New Castle with a glimpse of the Vulcan Mine explosion and other regional coal mining tales, and move on to Glenwood to read about a walking, talking Doc Holliday and a marvelous 1920s Wurlitzer photoplayer that treats its listeners to remnants of the silent film era. Then take a jaunt to Marble to see how contemporary artists are sculpting the town’s famous namesake, and continue back up the Roaring Fork along the Rio Grande Trail to learn about not only its important historical roots but its multifaceted role in connecting the entire valley today.
This is local history repeating itself—but in the best way possible.