Rio Grande County Museum shines a light on historical preservation

Photos by Lyndsie Ferrell The Rio Grande County Museum hosted its Holiday Affair this past weekend on Nov. 12. The event brought 60 diners to the historic Windsor Hotel for a five-course meal in support of the preservation and restoration of the Barlow and Sanderson Stage Office.

DEL NORTE — The banquet room inside the Windsor Hotel was packed to the brim on Saturday, Nov. 12, for the Rio Grande County Museum’s Holiday Affair, a gala to support the preservation and restoration of the Barlow and Sanderson Stage Office. 

Built in the summer of 1874, the office is still standing but is in dire need of repair and those who participated in the event came out in style. Several guests dressed in period-correct clothing and laughed the night away as event planners Rio Grande County Museum Director Lyndsie Ferrell and Assistant Director Kathy Ellithorpe shared stories of the past. 

“The real heroes of this project are Patti Kelley and Suzanne Off who have worked countless hours to raise funding for the preservation and restoration of the Barlow and Sanderson Stage Office. You are now part of history as benefactors for this wonderful project,” said Ferrell. “The Barlow and Sanderson Stage played an integral in how we all came to be here tonight, and it needs to be protected.”

The Windsor Hotel served a five-course meal for guests reflective of the 1800s with locally sourced ingredients. Over the course of the evening, the Windsor Hotel staff helped shine a light on the preservation project through a partnership with the museum.

“We cannot thank the Windsor Hotel and their staff enough for their efforts and their help with this event. Everything went so well, and everyone had a wonderful time thanks to their professionalism, good humor, and welcoming atmosphere,” said Ferrell.

The small banquet room in the hotel was packed with artifacts from the museum and a slideshow that depicted the visual story of the Barlow and Sanderson Stage in the San Luis Valley. One significant artifact on display was the 1882 Windsor Hotel registry book that was turned to Nov. 14, 1882. On the page, intricate handwriting showed that the Windsor Hotel welcomed some special guests that evening 140 years ago which included Buffalo Bill Cody and his companions.

The Creede Repertory Theatre also attended the event in costume. Actors Amanda Relaford and Andy Brown portrayed infamous characters of Del Norte from 1874 — Moly Brown and Tom Bowen — and interacted with guests in character throughout the evening.

The museum is now working toward its annual arts and craft fair which will kick off on Dec. 7 and run through Dec. 23. An open house will take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Dec. 10. There will be local art, homemade gifts, and light refreshments.

For more information, to become a member or for a full schedule of events, call the Rio Grande County Museum at 719-657-2847 or visit their Facebook page under Rio Grande County Museum and Cultural Center.