The Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Museum will be closed on June 10 in order to have a booth at Pioneer Days in Crawford.
The book committee of Marilyn Tate, Karen Martin and Inez Pottorff have worked to curate current local history titles and have an inventory of over 90 books. While they won't have all the titles at the booth, they will have plenty to choose from. Titles will include favorites such as "North Fork Valley, Long Horns and Short Tales," "In the Footsteps of the Hotchkiss Brothers" and "The Mesas-How They Were Named." New titles have also been added.
The books provide income for the museum to pay bills through the year and for the museum to stay open. Summer hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. The museum is located at 180 S. 2nd St. in Hotchkiss.
Two recent local history books will available at the Pioneer Days booth.
The first booklet was recently compiled by 1964 graduate Connie Van Oort Rector. Connie was valedictorian of her class and went to Adams State College with plans to major in English. After receiving her degree, she married and lived in Ohio. Years passed and when Connie retired from teaching she began to research her family history.
She has corresponded extensively with president Chuck Farmer of the Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society. He has aided her in her research as well as other relatives and research sites. In the beginning of her research, Connie wrote and visited with Myles McMillan who copied pictures of the Van Oorts that her Aunt Lena had written names on. She found a Sioux County site on the USGenWeb that provided her with a start, knowing that the Van Oort family had traveled from Holland to Sioux County, Iowa.
In 2009, an email from a Dutchman in Germany named Frans Van Oort asked her if she needed help with the Van Oort history. He had done 20 years of researching the Van Oorts. She happened to mention to him that her great-grandmother, Aagje Van Oort, had written Dutch articles about people in Colorado in the newspaper, De Volksvriend, in Orange City, Sioux County, Iowa. He found articles that he had translated into English and wondered if they might be the same. Then he found one that had been signed and Connie knew it belonged to Aagje Van Oort. He sent her instructions on how to find the newspaper through a Dutch site. After using key words such as "Hotchkiss" and "Crawford", Connie began translating the articles through Google Translate. In all this she found out what had happened to a missing member of the Van Oorts named Hattie, which was an emotional time in her research.
The second booklet, "Hotchkiss-Crawford, The Early Years" is a reprint of the edition first printed in 1976 by the Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society. Organized in 1975, the newly formed group led by Kathleen Wheeler needed to raise funds. An idea formed to publish a booklet with pictures and a short history. Kathleen wrote the text, June Taylor typed and Mary Farmer provided many sketches. They ordered 2,500 copies and sold them for one dollar! In 1979 they still had 500 copies and decided to give them to new families moving into the valley. They donated many to the Hotchkiss Methodist Church and the Baptist Church. In 1980 they gave them away at the annual meeting and soon in March they were "free."
The booklet, called a brochure at times, was reprinted in 1993 and was a poor replication of the original. In 2015 it was decided to reprint and update the original booklet. Pictures were researched and rescanned if available, the layout was improved by doing away with pictures that were displayed sideways. There were not many Crawford pictures so more were added. A section called "And That's the Way It Was," a short history of the area, was updated, expanded and corrected as needed. The captions were also redone. The original cover sketches remained as did the back cover of local brands. The inside front cover tells the story of the original group of the historical society and has a picture of Kathleen Wheeler.
This booklet is a wonderful story of the history of the area with nice photos. It is perfect for tourists, family members living away from the area or newcomers wondering about the local history. The historical society wishes to thank the community for supporting it so that they can continue to preserve history.