Cemetery Crawl thrills OCCHS to death


Phil McDonald as Dr. Isaac Adler Winternitz tells his story to a group at the Aug. 23 Cemetery Crawl.
Westside Pioneer photo
       The Cemetery Crawl, an annual fundraiser for the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), set a record in its 12th year Aug. 23 by taking in $1,467.
       The total reflected sales of 184 tickets in advance ($7 each) and at the gate ($9), according to Dave Hughes, OCCHS treasurer. The previous high had been $1,200, he said.
       The Crawl involves OCCHS members guiding successive groups of 10 to 15 people to eight long-ago graves in the Fairview Cemetery on South 26th Street - with costumed society members portraying the individuals buried in them. The OCCHS is an all-volunteer nonprofit that owns and operates the Old Colorado City History Center (and museum) at 1 S. 24th St.
       The total number of Cemetery Crawl attendees -about 200, including children who got in free this year -was also probably a record. Precise attendance tallies have not always been kept in the past; however, Hughes commented, “I think it was the most people who have taken the tour over 12 years. Having played Anthony Bott for 10 of them, and getting to sit down between groups, the parade of groups of 10 or more each time they passed my 'Jacob Schmidt' grave [this year] just about wore me out.”
   
New characters and/or portrayers at this year's Cemetery Crawl...
LEFT: Rebecca Clark, wearing a veil to depict famous madam Laura Belle McDaniel after her death in a 1918 car crash
RIGHT: Sharon Swint is gussied up as another well-known Colorado City lady of the night, Blanche Burton.
Westside Pioneer photos

       Adding to the OCCHS' satisfaction, the high numbers were achieved in just four hours on one day, whereas in the earlier years of the tour (until 2005), the event had typically occurred over an entire weekend.
       “People enjoyed it,” said OCCHS President Joanne Karlson. “It was a different way to get a history lesson. There were lots of smiles and lots of good questions.”
       The “brought-to-life” characters this year included a Colorado City bar owner (Schmidt), a Colorado City founder (Bott), two ladies of the night (Laura Belle McDaniel and Blanche Burton), a mayor (Oliver Ingraham), the wife of an early Baptist minister (Katherine Lamont), an early doctor (Isaac Winternitz) and the mother of a boy who drowned here in 1904 (Mrs. Lou Ross).
   
New characters and/or portrayers at this year's Cemetery Crawl...
LEFT: Steve Lebel as 1880s Colorado City Mayor Oliver Ingraham;
RIGHT: Suzanne Schorsch as the mother of Harrell Ross, who famously drowned to death in a pool of water at Red Rock Canyon in 1904 (a century before it became city open space)
Westside Pioneer photos

Westside Pioneer article