This year marks the 150th anniversary of the "Rush to the Rockies." As rumors of the May 1859 gold find echoed back east, hordes of fortune-hunters started the arduous trek across the plains to the confluence of the Platte and Cherry Creek. Many never made it to what was then the Kansas Territory; others labored in the camps for a few months, then headed back home. But some settled right here, helping to grow the tiny town of Denver.
Tonight at 6:30 p.m, you can take a look back at Colorado's very colorful past when the finalists in the 2009 Colorado Book Awards history category read from their works at the Colorado Historical Society, 1300 Broadway. Appearing at this free program:
Thomas Andrews, assistant professor of history at the University of Colorado Denver, whose Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War, which puts the 1914 Ludlow Massacre in perspective, has already won a slew of awards this year, including the prestigious 2009 Bancroft Prize.
Annette Stott, director of the School of Art and Art History at the University of Denver, and the author of Pioneer Cemeteries: Sculpture Gardens of the Old West, which supplements solid history with 83 photographs of tombstones and monuments that really qualify as public sculpture -- and cultural commentary.
John Monnett, professor of Native American history at Metro State, who wrote Where a Hundred Soldiers Were Killed: The Struggle for the Powder River County in 1866 and the Making of the Fetterman Myth. Yes, it's set in Wyoming, but history in the old West crossed state lines.
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The Colorado Book Award winners will be announced in Aspen on June 22, at the 33rd annual Aspen Summer Words Liberary Festival. In another bit of history, this year's contest is the first since the Colorado Book Awards program merged with the Aspen event. For more information, go to www.coloradohumanities.org.