Back in February when we visited the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, I learned about their adult lecture series, Colorado Rails & Cocktails. I headed over for my first one tonight, Ghost Towns of the Rockies.
I really like what they’re doing at this museum. The Rocky Flats Museum is of course on a much smaller scale given its youth (and is now closed pending a move to a different Olde Town Arvada location), but they should look to the Colorado Railroad Museum for programming ideas. There was a sold out crowd tonight, maybe 75 people, 3/4 of whom were over age 60. $15 for entry and two drinks.
The speaker tonight was Preethi Burkholder, author of Ghost Towns of the Rockies. Of course, autographed copies of the book were available for purchase. I hate to be critical, but seeing on the pamphlet that she also authored “Start Your Own Day Spa” and “Start Your Own Grant Writing Business,” it just disappointed me a little, made me question her historical expertise I guess. The 45 minute speech was fine, a bit more general than I would’ve liked, jumping around for a quick 5 minute bit about this ghost town, 5 minutes about that one, 5 minutes about another, etc.
Anyways, the next one is August 16, Stone and Steel at the Top of the World.
Join us as professors Pete Seel and Jason LaBelle screen their documentary on the human story of Rollins Pass, located high on the Continental Divide in Colorado. Thousands of years ago, Native American hunters stalked big game along the alpine divide. Euro-American settlement followed and construction of the Moffat railroad across the summit in the early 20th century. This engineering marvel took passengers to the Top of the World in sometimes brutal weather conditions. Today, the Moffat Tunnel safely guides rail traffic under the Continental Divide and Rollins Pass is now a place of quiet reflection.
I looked, couldn’t find a trailer, or even a webpage. I’m planning to go though.
Later in the year, the rest of the line-up reads:
October 18 – Railroad Stories: Hiram Wheeler
December 6 – The American Hobo
I’m of course really looking forward to the hobo lecture. I’m really fascinated by hobo culture, and curious if it still exists today and to what extent. A few months back Adventure Journal posted something about someone who rode the rails in the 90s, beginning at age 19. He was a self-taught photographer and turned his collection into a coffee table book (and I of course can’t find the link to that article). So that culture existed as recently as the 90s, but what about now? And here’s my idea for adventure – I won’t do it, but wish that I would. I want to drive downtown, park at the office, walk over to the rail yards, hop the first train going east (can’t go west for fear of the Moffat Tunnel), ride the train for 6-8 hours or so, jump off somewhere in Kansas, Nebraska, or maybe even Wyoming, and then hitchhike back, hopefully with a good story and maybe a little bit of knowledge of present-day hobo culture.