Westside Pioneer Home Page

A group nears the station of the late George Blunt (and others in his family) in Fairview Cemetery during the Old Colorado City Historical Society's Haunted Histories Sept. 15.
Westside Pioneer photo
Old Colorado City Historical Society volunteer Leo Knudson portrayed George Blunt, founder of the Westside's Blunt Mortuary, for the society's annual Haunted Histories Sept. 15 in Fairview Cemetery. He's standing by the Blunt family headstone, with three individual Blunt gravesites in front and three in back.
Westside Pioneer photo

'Spirited' event by Old Colorado City Historical Society at Fairview Cemetery

Sept. 18, 2018
       “Completely sold out, plus.”
       This was how Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) treasurer Susie Schorsch described the success of the volunteer nonprofit's Haunted Histories in
For Haunted Histories, Leiloni Kieffer (left) portrayed a Colorado City "soiled dove" known only as "Goldie" whose life ended sadly. At right is Roberta Hardy, portraying famous madam Laura Bell McDaniel.
Westside Pioneer photo
Fairview Cemetery Sept. 15.
       One of two major OCCHS self-fundraisers this year (Tunnel Tales in July was the other), the fourth annual twilight/night affair again featured the spirits of generally congenial Westside figures from the past. Groups of ticket-purchasers were led around the cemetery by people in “ghost” apparel, visiting eight locations in all.
       The event was already sold out beforehand, but late-comers were allowed to join groups that had initially been capped at 20, Schorsch explained.
       With most tickets sold at $20 a person, she had hoped going in that "Histories" would earn $1,500 to $2,000, as it has in its previous three years. But with the overflow crowd - although she said she hadn't had time (two days after the event) to detail all the receipts - “I know we made over $2,000.”
       Started in 2015, Haunted Histories is a makeover of OCCHS' once-annual Cemetery Crawl, which lasted 17 years. Schorsch said the Crawl had been losing popularity, leading to the change.
Brian Anderson, playing Colorado City co-founder Anthony Bott, tells his story while standing in front of Bott's tombstone in Fairview Cemetery.
Westside Pioneer photo
The biggest difference between it and "Histories" was the timing - people seem to like a nighttime setting. "With a few macabre stories, you've got a whole different event," she observed.
       Among the characters were:
  • George Blunt (played by Leo Knudson), who started what became Blunt Mortuary at 23rd Street and Colorado Avenue and whose son Harry would become a Colorado Springs mayor.
  • Rankin Scott Kelly (Johnie Jackson), a brave early sheriff who also had the distinction of selling what would become the Glen Eyrie property to Colorado Springs founder William Palmer.
  • Goldie (Leiloni Kieffer), a “soiled dove” whose name was probably made up and who jumped to her death from a second-floor window above Colorado
    Johnie Jackson (right) portrayed early El Paso County Sheriff Rankin Scott Kelly for Haunted Histories. Sharing the cemetery station was Sandy Coyne as the mother of Charley Everhart, 17, who was killed by Indians in 1868.
    Westside Pioneer photo
    City's rowdiest tavern's in 1894 - thus dramatizing the shabbier side of the town's “wild west” era.
  • Dr. Isaac Winternitz (Travers Jordan), a Westsider whose son and grandson would also go on to serve as Colorado Springs physicians.
  • Anthony Bott (Brian Anderson), the co-founder of Colorado City (now Old Colorado City), who donated the land for Fairview Cemetery and whose impressive gravestone is at its northeast corner.
           There were also a couple of amusingly unscripted moments. One occurred when Sandy Hanzlian, portraying late-1800s/early 1900s Colorado City resident Mary Nye, remarked to a group in passing that she'd worked as a seamstress. To her surprise, they burst out in laughter. It was only then that one of them told Hanzlian that “Goldie” (encountered earlier in the tour) had revealed that some “doves” would list “seamstress” as their occupation.
           Another surprise came around 8:30 p.m., as the event was winding down, when a couple of Colorado Springs police officers showed up, wondering what was going on. Somehow they hadn't gotten the memo that it was a night for Fairview's spirits to run free. "They were nice about it," Schorsch said.

    Westside Pioneer article
    (Community: Old Colorado City History Center)

    Would you like to respond to this article? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)