‘Gypsum Days’: Local author celebrates newest release at the Bookworm

Special to the Daily
Kathy Heicher
Courtesy photo

Most think that the Eagle Valley got its start with the opening of Vail Mountain, and some even call it the Vail Valley. Author and President of the Eagle Historical Society, Kathy Heicher, reveals in her collection of local history books that our area has a rich history well before the ski mountains opened.

Come to the Bookworm to celebrate the newest history release, Gypsum Days, from local author, Kathy Heicher, that reveals how the farming community of Gypsum became the mountain town it is today. As an awarded local history authority, Heicher will deliver a presentation on the history of Gypsum, which will be followed by a Q&A session and a book signing.

Heicher has been a journalist in the Eagle Valley for over 40 years, which has inspired much of her research. “When I got my first newspaper job in Eagle County in 1972, there were many life-long residents who would stop by the office and share the county’s history,” Heicher recalls. “The stories were always fun; the rowdy Red Cliff mining camp, the war between the sheep and cattle ranchers, the women’s organizations. As a writer, I have always been aware of the need to get some of these stories written down before they disappear forever.”

Now as the President of the Eagle Historical Society, Heicher gets many opportunities to dive into our valley’s history, and more specifically Gypsum’s. “I am always researching in the archives, reading historic manuscripts, studying old photographs, and listening to people share memories of days past,” Heicher recalls. “Often, I start researching one topic and another interesting subject will pop up. Or maybe an artifact in the museum will catch my eye.”

Cover of “Gypsum Days” by Kathy Heicher
Courtesy image

One topic that intrigued Heicher was the story of the wily pioneer Ed Slaughter. “Ed operated on both sides of the law. He often flaunted the rules if doing so would benefit him,” Heicher states. “He was illiterate yet extremely smart, and had influential friends like sheriffs, governors, and senators. He was obnoxious enough to make some people dislike him, but many also loved him because he was such a maverick, and cared about the community enough to work hard to make it better.”

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Heicher believes that people can be inspired like Ed was to work on improving their community if they learn more about its history. “History helps people to discover their place within their families, community, state and country,” Heicher says. “Knowing local history helps with understanding of how the communities of today took shape, which gives people a sense of belonging and of responsibility.”

Come listen to Heicher discuss Gypsum Days and learn more about the rich history of our area, and how it became the bustling mountain valley it is today. “Eagle County’s history didn’t start with the development of the Vail ski resort. Rather, it is a rich story that has been developing since the time the Utes occupied these mountains,” Hiecher states. “This county was built through the efforts of stalwart pioneers who weren’t afraid to follow their dreams. Maybe that is a good lesson for all of us.”

If you go…

What: Gypsum Days with Kathy Heicher

When: Tuesday, May 31, 6 p.m.

Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., Unit C101 Edwards, CO 81632

Cost: $10, purchase online or at the Bookworm of Edwards

More Info: Call 970-926-READ or visit



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