Denver history Western history

Rockslides and Rummage Sales

Glenwood Canyon

Early spring brings new challenges to the Rocky Mountains. Avalanche danger is high, as is danger of rockslides. Fortunately, we did not have plans to visit the West Slope this past week when a giant boulder crashed onto the highway in Glenwood Canyon, closing the interstate highway in both directions. Nobody was hurt, and a long detour through Steamboat Springs diverted traffic for most of the week. In the meantime, Coloradans grow restless for the arrival of spring in the mountains.

Last weekend, the Colorado History Museum was the scene of an amazing indoor frenzy. As they undertake the mammoth task of moving to new facilities, the museum folks decided to offer a rummage sale open to the public. A few hundred people lined up for the opportunity of a lifetime, to enter the museum and take home a piece of history for a small price.

Frustration escalated as those in line watched the reappearance of the first wave allowed inside as they carried out poster size photos of historic Western scenes. A man walking past was heard to say, “Is there always a line like this at the history museum?” Cutout images of pioneers in Victorian clothing appeared as their new owners dealt with long walks to their cars carrying unwieldy objects. Fortunately for them, it was not a windy day.

Inside the museum doors, the scene was hot and noisy, as anxious history buffs nudged and budged their way toward quickly disappearing piles of historic momentos. Some people grabbed stacks of photos to buy without studying them, speculating they contained treasures. An hour into the chaos, the merchandise was gone. People in Colorado love their history, and they especially love it at a bargain price.

Later this year, my next title in the “Now You Know Bio” series will transport the reader to the wild days of the Leadville mining boom and the saga of the Matchless Mine. “Now You Know Bios”, which publishes Colorado and Western history at a great value, contains expertly researched and written text with relevant photographic images and documents contemporary to the subject. To learn more, go to or

Joyce B. Lohse, 3/14/10