William Jackson Palmer's historic trash on display, plus more events this week

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Selections from the CSPM Palmer Manuscript & Photograph Collection - COURTESY CSPM
  • Courtesy CSPM
  • Selections from the CSPM Palmer Manuscript & Photograph Collection

Evidence: Finding the Facts About William Jackson Palmer, Opening Day

Sept. 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on display indefinitely, Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, 215 S. Tejon St., free, cspm.org

Was General William Jackson Palmer really a teetotaler, or did he like a drink or two?
Check the whiskey bottles in his trash.

People tend to think Palmer didn’t drink because he famously established Colorado Springs as a dry community, Matt Mayberry says, but his trash tells a different story.

PUBLIC DOMAIN
  • Public Domain
“There were wine bottles, whiskey bottles, beer bottles in the trash,” says Mayberry, director of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. “We got to the point where we could identify some specific alcohol that he had — even types of wine.”



Not many museum directors get the chance to dig through a city founding father’s garbage, but in 2014 flood mitigation crews stumbled upon a trove of relics from Palmer’s life in Garden of the Gods — in what was once a trash dump on his land.

Palmer lived just up the hill from the site, where last fall archaeologists excavated about 60,000 objects from the trash zone. The haul included plate fragments, clothing remnants, fish bones, peach pits, bricks, light bulbs, batteries — and of course those bottles.
Every piece helps tell a story.

“They took those artifacts to the lab,” Mayberry says, “and they’re using them to analyze and test a number of questions that we have about what Palmer’s life was like, what the estate life was like — and a number of those never-before-seen thrown-away objects will be on exhibit as part of Evidence: Finding the Facts About William Jackson Palmer.”

The exhibit, which opens Sept. 14. as part of the city’s sesquicentennial celebration, is “a really exciting project,” he says. “We’re looking at the myths related to Palmer and trying to test those — so we’re going to let visitors become historians and evaluate the evidence that’s available to us and determine whether the myths are true, or are they not.”



The museum’s collection began growing in 1896, and today CSPM documents and interprets the tales of the once-quaint resort town Palmer championed. The upcoming exhibit is just one of the ways CSPM is working to bring the city’s history to life, connecting people with ideas and questions and groups they haven’t explored before.

“We want to engage the public, we want them to examine their life relative to the history of the community, and we want to tell new stories,” Mayberry says. “We’re constantly trying to mine our collection, evaluate our collection, for new stories that can be told, engaging new audiences.”


Thespiana

Sept. 13-14, 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 15, 2 p.m., Millibo Art Theatre, 1626 S. Tejon St., $15, thespiana.com

One of our favorite one-act play festivals is returning for 2019, featuring seven new plays by local playwrights, performed as staged readings by local actors. It’s an annual celebration of theatrical talent right here in the Pikes Peak region, and this year’s lineup features plays by Sue Bachman, Mark Arnest, Warren Epstein and more. “A reluctant hitman, an ambitious, amateur pianist who might be too good for his own good, and a giant from [a] futuristic freak show are among the amazing characters you’ll meet in the fourth annual outing of Thespiana,” the show’s website says.

JAKEERAN
  • JAKeeran

Van Briggle Pottery Festival

Sept. 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Van Briggle Pottery, 1125 Glen Ave., free, fac.coloradocollege.edu/van-briggle-pottery-festival

One of the region’s most famous and enduring artists, Artus Van Briggle, is still known more than a century later for his unique designs: functional or aesthetic pieces of pottery, and unique tiles. The building that once housed Van Briggle’s salesroom, kilns, workshops and more is now a historic landmark, and this is your annual opportunity to take advantage of an hour-long tour of its unique features. Join the Woman’s Educational Society and the FAC’s Bemis School of Art for free clay sculpting and wheel throwing, tours and more pottery festivities.

Book Signing With Ceil Horowitz

Sept. 18, 6-8 p.m., Front Range Barbeque, 2330 W. Colorado Ave., free, frbbq.com

Colorado painter Ceil Horowitz has embarked on, in her words, a “six-and-a-half-year painting quest,” and now has finally released the fruits of her labor in a book of 100 still-life paintings. But these paintings aren’t your typical fruit-in-a-bowl still lifes. Each piece in Take One Down Pass It Around depicts, and was inspired by, a unique Colorado beer and the brewery that produced it. Meet Horowitz tonight where her quest started, at Front Range Barbeque in Old Colorado City. She’ll be signing copies of her book.

Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival

Sept. 20, 3 p.m. to midnight, Sept. 21, 10 a.m. to midnight, and Sept. 22, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Union Avenue Historic District, Pueblo, $5, festival.pueblochamber.org

This year marks a big milestone for one of the region’s favorite festivals. For 25 years now, foodies from Pueblo and beyond have gathered to celebrate the end of summer and the harvest of the region’s most beloved export: Pueblo chiles. While we wouldn’t blame you for attending the festival to breathe in the aroma of roasting chiles alone, you’ll have plenty more to do at this weekend’s big event. Enjoy live entertainment, vendors, cooking competitions and more.

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