Minturn Cemetery Tour set for Saturday, Sept. 6
MINTURN — Contrary to the old adage, dead people do tell tales.
Find out for yourself at the Eagle County Historical Society’s Minturn Cemetery Tour on Saturday. Actors and actresses portraying key pioneers buried in the historic Riverview Cemetery will share facts and anecdotes revealing the rich history of this lively little mountain railroad community.
Expect to hear stories of Minturn’s early days from adventurous miners, hard-working railroaders and a resourceful bootlegger. In those pioneer times, Minturn also served as a sort of home base for homesteaders on Gore Creek and in the Piney country. Although they carved their ranches out of the wilderness, they came to town to buy supplies, educate their children and keep informed about local politics.
“This is the first tour of this type at our cemetery. We’re looking forward to hosting visitors so that they can learn more about the pioneers who are buried here and enjoy touring our beautiful cemetery,” said Riverview Cemetery Administrator Sidney Harrington.
A Historical Mix
Historical Society volunteers have spent weeks researching newspaper archives, local history books and manuscripts and interviewing descendants of Minturn pioneers. The end result is a historical mix of early day people, facts and stories that reveal the diversity of Minturn and the dedication of the pioneers who turned a little railroad stop into a community.
“You have to admire the persistence of these people. They maintained ranches when the snow was five foot deep and spent summers hiking along the divides in search of gold,” says ECHS President Kathy Heicher, “I’m not sure that people today have that same stamina or sense of adventure.”
The research revealed the impact that a single industry such as a railroad can have on a community.
“When there was a labor strike on the railroad or a tragedy such as an accidental death, the entire town was affected,” she notes.
The Minturn event is the third cemetery tour that the ECHS has developed in the Eagle Valley. In recent years, cemetery tours have drawn crowds to the Red Cliff and Gypsum cemeteries. Heicher notes that the Historical Society’s goal is to develop history tours for every working cemetery in the valley.
The tours typically draw about 250 people throughout the day. Advance reservations are recommended, although tickets can be purchased at the gate the day of the tour.
“The great turn-out for our other cemetery tours taught us that people are really eager to learn about the roots of the county, long before it was all about ski resorts,” says Heicher, “We are excited about telling Minturn’s story.”
Paul Cuthbertson set out by himself around 3 p.m. Friday from the trailhead that leads up to the Polar Star Inn, according to his father, Mike, but never made it to the popular backcountry hut as a late-spring snowstorm moved in.