Eagle County Historical Society hosts event at Bonfire about the ‘fun’ parts of local history | VailDaily.com

Eagle County Historical Society hosts event at Bonfire about the ‘fun’ parts of local history

Cowboy Bill Rogers, who worked on a Brush Creek ranch, brought his bottle to a formal photo-taking session. Guests at the event will learn about alcohol in Eagle County over Bonfire beers.
ECHS and Eagle Valley Library District | Special to the Daily

If you’re into the history of prohibition and bootlegging, the Eagle County Historical Society has crafted the perfect event at the perfect venue.

Bonfire Brewing is hosting the historical society for a History Happy Hour event at the brewery on Sunday, Jan. 26 from 4:30-6 p.m. The group’s President, Kathy Heicher, will be giving a lecture and local actor Cooter Overcash will portray a successful bootlegger from Gore Creek.

“History gets a lot more interesting if you have a beer,” Heicher said.

And that’s precisely the historical society’s goal for this event. They wanted to put together a story that’s fun and engaging. History, for many people, is that class in high school that’s just a never-ending quest to memorize dates, remember names and regurgitate cause and effect of historical events.

Heicher thinks all history is fun because she loves it, but recognizes that not everyone feels that way. Her presentation will focus mainly on the Munchers, a group of brothers that lived in Red Cliff and whose life revolved around practical jokes. They would go so far as to kidnap brides the night before their wedding day.

“Rather than just a lecture in library room where you have cookies and punch, you make it fun,” she said.

This isn’t the first time the historical society has put together an event like this. About a year ago, Heicher said, she and Bonfire owner Andy Jessen hosted one about the first female judge in Colorado. The judge was from Red Cliff, and Heicher prepared a presentation and an actress portrayed the judge. After the event, she realized that the event helped bring new faces to the historical society.

“It drew to Bonfire a different crowd from what they typically get,” she said. “We’re just tickled to death with it, we’re really pleased.”

Some of the guests in attendance at that first event wanted to purchase a membership to the historical society, and many said that they’d love to see another in the future.

After an apparently successful outing in the late 1800s with Brush Creek hunting guide Alfred Borah, client George P. Ryan posed with this taxidermy display. The event will talk about the fun parts of Eagle County history, and one dollar of every pint will be donated to the historical society.
ECHS and Eagle Valley Library District | Special to the Daily

Other topics Heicher would love to explore in possible future events after this weekend include murder, hunting and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

Aside from providing an opportunity to learn more about the community’s history, the event is also raising money to replace the roof on the historical society’s museum. The museum space is a century-old barn in Eagle, and while the inside is in good working order, the roof needs replacing. One dollar of each pint purchased at Bonfire will be donated to the historical society’s Raise the Roof fundraiser to replace the museum roof. The society will also have a donation box shaped like a wooden barn: fitting with the fundraiser name, anyone who wishes to donate can lift the rooftop off the box and deposit their contribution.

Surely raising money to preserve the museum is a big goal for the historical society, but beyond that, Heicher believes that a sense of history is integral to a strong society.

“Our museum is important because it protects artifacts. If you don’t preserve it, you’re going to lose that chunk of your history. It tells people how their community developed and it gives them a sense of belonging if they know the community,” she said.

If you go …

What: History Happy Hour

When: Sunday, Jan. 26, 4:30-6 p.m.

Where: Bonfire Brewing, Eagle

Cost: Free, $1 of every pint donated to ECHS

More information: Visit eaglecountyhistoricalsociety.com.