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Vignettes of History

Over the years the Ouray County Historical Society has offered special events called "Vignettes of History" to illustrate important events in the history of Ouray. Below are some examples.

Also visit our Past Special Events Page to see additional past events.

Vignettes of History 2015  - Featured Susan Atwood's portrayal of a "Harvey Girl".  The Harvey Girls waited tables Fred Harvey restaurants along the Santa Fe Railroad's route from Chicago to Los Angeles.  The event took place at Ouray's Historic Western Hotel.   The meal included  authentic recipes from the Fred Harvey Cookbook.  The event began with a cash bar followed by dinner, performance and dessert. $75.00 per person.


Vignettes of History 2011: A Evening with Otto Mears. Steve Lee used his gift for storytelling and connecting with audiences to bring to life Otto Mears: the man whose influence transformed the San Juan Mountains in the late 1800s. Steve is a former teacher in the Denver area schools, and is now Operations Manager of the Rio Golden Railroad at Heritage Square. The program began in the Ouray Community center with a Happy Hour followed by a delicious Miner's Dinner catered by Colby's Bar and Grill. Following dinner Steve portrayed Otto Mears sitting in the Marland Hotel in Pasadena California, where he and Cora had retired, reminiscing about his life in Colorado.


Vignettes of History 2010: Velvet Secrets. The Legendary Ladies returned to Ouray for an entertaining and educational performance which highlighted the fifth annual Vignettes of History fund-raising event. After hors d'oeuvres at Venue Roscoe Fox and dinner at the historic Beaumont Hotel, attendees convened at the Wright Opera House. The L.L. had transformed the stage into a nineteenth century Bordello. Their well-researched, historically accurate presentation told the story of the lives of the desperate ladies who inhabited Colorado's red-light districts.


Vignettes of History 2009: Legendary ladies. The Ouray County Historical Society presents the "Legendary Ladies" for their fourth annual Vignettes of History 2009 fund raising event. This award winning, dedicated troupe of women performs across the state promoting the history of famous and unique women of the West. The L. L. are under the artistic direction of Kyle Neidt  P.H. D. Neidt is the academic advisor for theater and dance at the University of Colorado. Each Legendary Lady selects her character, does her own research, writes her script, and designs and constructs her costume. On the 22nd, the women portrayed include such celebrated figures as Marie Scott (Ridgway rancher), Hariett Fish Backus (author of the Tomboy Bride), and Kathryn Lee Bates (author of "America the Beautiful").


Vignettes of History 2008: An Evening with Tom Walsh, Evalyn and Friends featured Denver author John Stewart as Thomas Walsh. His newly published book "Thomas F. Walsh" chronicles the life of this business tycoon who discovered the fabulously rich and world famous Camp Bird Mine located south of Ouray. Sue Hillhouse portrayed his daughter Evalyn, a Washington D.C. socialite famous for her extravagant parties. Evalyn loved jewels and purchased the Hope Diamond. Her life was punctuated with tragedy and legend says that her diamond was cursed.


This event started at 4:45 p.m. with appetizers at an historic home in Ouray. Then, participants gathered at the Beaumont Hotel for dinner. The production started at 8 p.m. at the Wright Opera House. A book signing and coffee and chocolate with John Stewart followed the performance.

Left is a photo of Sue Hillhouse portraying Evalyn Walsh McLean


Above is shown a scene with Joan Chismire

portraying Babe Didrikson from the

2006 production of Vignettes.

Vignettes of History: Reflections of Colorado Women, a fund raiser for the Ouray County Historical Society was presented at the Wright Opera house in Ouray in the Fall of 2006 and at the Magic Circle Theater in Montrose in the Fall of 2007. A cast of eighteen local area women, wearing period costumes many from the museum's collection, represented notable women in Colorado's history. The legends of Baby Doe Tabor, Margaret "Molly" Brown, and Mary Scott, a local rancher, were told. Audiences learned the story of Dr. Florence Sabin, health reformer and Mildred "Babe" Didrikson who was named Female Athlete of the Half Century by the Associated Press. They relived the tale of Evalyn Walsh McLean and her fabulous Hope Diamond. The stories of these outstanding women traced Colorado's history from Chipeta to the present time. We have a bibliography (pdf file) of all of the women represented in the show.

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