John Bronn honored for preserving Eagle County History
Vail CO, Colorado
EAGLE, Colorado ” There’s no doubt that John Bronn of Eagle is a history buff.
His family once “abandoned” him at the Donner Museum near Lake Tahoe when he lingered too long, studying each exhibit.
“My wife says I ‘read’ every museum we go to, instead of just strolling through and looking,” Bronn said.
So, it’s no surprise that his interest in history and his talent for organizing led him to a position as the unofficial curator of the Eagle County Historical Society museum in Eagle. Bronn and a team of volunteers have spent dozens of hours updating accession records and organizing the collection. He was also the driving force behind a traveling historical exhibit, “From Cow Trails to Contrails” that was displayed at the Eagle County Airport during ski season.
Bronn will be honored by the Eagle Valley Library District and the Eagle County Historical Society Friday with the Nimon-Walker award. The award, initiated in 2001, recognizes individuals whose work has helped to preserve the history of the county.
“We can’t overstate the value of John’s interest and organizational skills,” says ECHS President Kathy Heicher. “His work has already helped ensure that future generations will have an opportunity to learn that the Eagle Valley got its start long before ski runs were developed at Vail.”
Bronn, his wife, Earline, and their family moved to Colorado from California in 1980. They were familiar with the valley from a series of annual ski trips.
The Bronns lived in Edwards for several years, then moved to Eagle. He is now retired from his work as a project management consultant.
Bronn recalls that his connection with the Historical Society began several years ago at a Nimon-Walker award ceremony honoring Frank Doll (recently deceased). The Bronns were friends with the Doll family.
At the ceremony, Bronn filled out a form indicating his willingness to volunteer for the group. That led to his first project, the documentation of the properties within the original boundaries of the town of Eagle. Bronn photographed properties, block by block. His research yielded valuable details. The end result is a two-volume documentary survey and a digitized record.
“My work with the Historical Society kind of grew from there,” Bronn said.
He’s organized a group of ECHS volunteers into a museum committee, which began the facility’s first comprehensive inventory. The group is digitizing records, double-checking the artifact descriptions and working at identifying some “mystery” items in the collection.
Last year, Bronn was a force in re-vamping the ECHS’s Walking Tour of Eagle. First organized more than a decade ago, the tour was a one-time hit with local residents.
Bronn figured the project could be reorganized into a self-guided walking tour. ECHS volunteer Marion Laughlin helped produce an updated brochure that guides visitors and locals through the town’s historic sites. The popular brochures are available at various businesses throughout town, and also at the Eagle Information Center.
Bronn says the Nimon-Walker award is a “great honor.”
“When I look at the people who have won it before me, I don’t feel like I’ve made that kind of contribution yet … but I’m not done,” he said.
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