Weekend celebrates history
Historical figures play part in both Founders’, Cemetery Crawl events

       An experienced re-enactor and a first-timer will be among the historical speakers at this weekend's Founders' Day and Cemetery Crawl.
       Larry Blasgen, who has been playing historic figures for the past 11 years, will present a different character at each of the events, while Phil MacDonald will make his inaugural portrayal at the Crawl - carrying the very medical bag that belonged to the doctor he will be enacting.
       Sponsored by the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), Founders' Day (Saturday, Aug. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) is a free event at Bancroft Park including three bands, a crafts fair and four 15-minute historical vignettes, while the Cemetery Crawl (Sunday, Aug. 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) is a fund-raiser at Fairview Cemetery in which individuals in period dress act out the stories of noteworthy people from the past beside their respective tombstones. This year there will be seven such “ghosts,” in addition to McDonald's Dr. Issac Adler Winternitz, the turn-of-the-century Colorado City town physician who was shot by an enraged saloonkeeper when the doctor, for public health reasons, ruled that he could not obtain a burial permit for his daughter after she died of diptheria.
       For Founder's Day - which commemorates the 1859 founding of Colorado City - Blasgen will portray John Nelson, who in 1844 (at age 17) was adopted into the Lakota nation. It wasn't a result of being captured. “He stayed behind after going with traders, and a Sioux chief adopted him.” Blasgen explained. “It took a lot of guts.” Later in his life, Nelson became friends with Buffalo Bill Cody and actually taught him how to be a cavalry scout, added Blasgen, who has been playing Nelson for about five years.
       His Crawl character will be John Peck, who had “the last great horse corral” in downtown Colorado Springs during the first part of the 20th century. Blasgen said he finds it ironic that the corral location, just north of present-day Pioneers' Museum, is now a parking garage.
       McDonald, a retired schoolteacher, was asked by OCCHS' event organizers to portray Dr. Winternitz. Asked how he felt before his debut performance, McDonald said he had “a mixture of trepidation and, to some degree, I'm pumped about it.” Of the character, he said, “I didn't know anything about him before, but I think the story is interesting. Getting shot doesn't happen to most people.”
       The Founders' Day schedule of activities follows:
       10:30 a.m., Serendipity Peak Dulcimers (an area string group)
       11:30 a.m., Blasgen, vignette - “John Nelson: A White Man Adopted by the Lakota”
       11 a.m.-2 p.m. - bake sale in the OCCHS' Old Colorado City History Center, 1 S. 24th St.
       11:45 a.m., Lisa Beatty, West Virginia country/ gospel music
       12:30 p.m., Dave Hughes, vignette - “History of the Garvin Cabin”
       12:45 p.m., Old Barn Road (a Black Rose Acoustic Society band)
       1:30 p.m., Liz Duckworth, vignette - “Polly Pride: A Denver Post Reporter”
       1:45 p.m., Dragonfly (a Black Rose Acoustic Society band)
       2:30 p.m., Nadine Keaney, vignette - “Julia Holmes, climbing a Fourteener.”
       2:45 p.m., Jackie Acker, vignette - “Bob Womack, A Tale of Gold”
       This is the first year that the OCCHS has combined its two annual historic events on the same weekend in this manner. Advance tickets for the Cemetery Crawl will be available during Founders' Day or at the History Center.
       Here are the historical figures and their actors for the Cemetery Crawl.
       Laura Belle McDaniel (Jennifer Clark)
       Anthony Bott (Dave Hughes)
       Martin Luther McKnight (Don Ellis)
       Katherine Lamont (Nadine Keaney)
       Dr. Issac Adler Winternits (Phil McDonald)
       John Peck (Larry Blasgen)
       QM Sargent John Ingersoll (Rod Cooley)
       Hattie Trout (Britney Furlong)

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