Feminist history hotspots in Colorado

by Patty Templeton

“The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers,” said Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts. There are plenty of female makers of Colorado history. Here are six historic locales you can visit on your next vacay that are in honor of or created by women.

Black American West Museum3091 California St., DenverLearn about Justina Ford, the first female African American doctor in Denver, in the very house she used to live in. Additional displays cover the lives of black pioneers who made the West their home.

The Colorado TrailThe Colorado Trail is a 567-mile route that leads from slightly southwest of Denver to Durango. It passes through historic mining towns, near Native American trails, past spectacular wildflowers, and in sight of gorgeous vistas. The trail was created due to the passion of Gudy Gaskill, who corralled over 10,000 volunteers to help create the trail and then spent the next 30 years of her life polishing it into a Colorado gem.

Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum215 S. Tejon St., Colorado SpringsHelen Hunt Jackson was a 19th century poet, writer, and activist most known for her nonfiction work, “A Century of Dishonor,” and her novel, “Ramona.” Both works depicted the U.S. government’s mistreatment of Native American people. Jackson’s home with its original furnishings is on view at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum.

Denver Botanic Gardens1007 York St., DenverThe herb and scripture areas of the Denver Botanic Gardens were designed by Jane Silverstein Ries, the first woman in Colorado who worked as a licensed landscape architect. Ries was a ringleader in rehabbing the grounds of the Colorado Governor’s Mansion, 400 E. 8th Ave. in Denver, and the grounds of the Molly Brown House Museum.

Forney Museum of Transportation4303 Brighton Blvd., DenverOK. So this is a gorgeous car museum that has almost nothing to do with women’s history, but they have Amelia Earhart’s 1923 Kissel “Gold Bug.” If you wanna see what the queen of the air drove when landlocked, head here.

Matchless MineLeadvilleArguably the most depressing site you can see is the Matchless Mine. This silver mine, purchased in 1879 by Horace Tabor, was the site of Baby Doe Tabor’s death. In 1893, the price of silver crashed, leaving the once fabulously wealthy Tabor family destitute. After her husband’s death, Baby Doe Tabor lived off and on at the Matchless Mine until she died during a lonely winter in 1935. It’s the perfect spot to get your macabre ghost mining on.

Molly Brown House Museum1340 Pennsylvania St., DenverMolly Brown, a survivor of the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, was a brash and bold woman best known for demanding her lifeboat return to the wreckage to attempt to save more passengers. Brown’s Queen Anne home is the perfect follow-up visit after watching the movie “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”

Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine9388 Colorado Highway 67, Cripple CreekMollie Kathleen was a miner who staked a claim in 1891, which became a vertical shaft gold mine that would eventually descend 1,000 feet into the mountain. For comparison, 1,000 feet is roughly the height of the Empire State Building. You can tour 100 stories of the mine shaft, learn about the evolution of mining, view gold veins in their natural state, and, of course, visit the gift shop.

Patty TempletonDGO Staff Writer


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