Hayden heritage comes to life at event | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden heritage comes to life at event

New weekend event to feature author, historic tour

Nicole Inglis

— Ever since Dorothy Wickenden's historical book "Nothing Daunted" hit the shelves and The New York Times best-seller list last year, Hayden Heritage Center curator Laurel Watson said she's been flooded with questions from visitors about the book and its Northwest Colorado roots.

The visitors' curiosity was piqued by Wickenden's story, which re-creates the Western pilgrimage of her grandmother and grandmother's friend as they set out to be teachers in a small, progressive schoolhouse in the Elkhead community north of Hayden.

In response to the buzz, a group of local community leaders has joined together to offer the first Hayden Heritage Weekend, a several-day event organized by the Hayden Heritage Center, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Yampa Valley Feeds and the Nature Conservancy.

All of the organizers are looking to the spirit of the book's central characters, Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood, for inspiration.

"It's that spirit of community that's highlighting this legacy," said Betsy Blakeslee, facility manager of the Nature Conservancy's Carpenter Ranch. "That sense of community is what's putting this all back together."

The event began as a book signing with Wickenden and took on a life of its own, expanding into a weekend of celebrating Hayden's history.

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The book signing will be July 5 at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, coinciding with a "Writing History" workshop with Wickenden and two local historical authors.

On July 6, Carpenter Ranch will host a Horse Heritage evening with dinner and an exhibit on the deep roots of quarter horses in the community.

July 7 will mark an exclusive opportunity to tour the now privately owned Elkhead Schoolhouse featured prominently in "Nothing Daunted."

Wickenden, executive editor of the New Yorker, will be on hand for the tour as will Hayden historical expert Belle Zars.

"The throbbing heart is really that schoolhouse," Zars said about Hayden Heritage Weekend. "And just to be able to sit inside it — it's a beacon to the aspirations for young people in Routt County. It's a big deal.

"This is the first time the schoolhouse has been open for a public tour."

There will be a traditional barn dance at the Hayden Granary on Saturday night complete with an art auction to benefit the Heritage Center.

The art will come from local plein air painters who are creating work during the week.

July 8 is another Wickenden book signing at the Museum of Northwest Colorado in Craig.

Preregistration for the events ends Friday.

The organizers said they already are looking ahead and hope to plan another Hayden Heritage Weekend in 2013.

If you go

Hayden Heritage Weekend:

July 5

■ “Writing History” workshop with Dorothy Wickenden, Harriet Freiberger and Dan Tyler ($15 to $20, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, 6 p.m.)

July 6

■ Horse Heritage evening, including dinner, bird watching and quarter horse history exhibit ($60 to $75, Carpenter Ranch, 5 p.m.)

July 7

■ Elkhead ranch and schoolhouse tour ($125, meet at Hayden Granary, 9 a.m.)

■ Barn dance ($10 to $30, Hayden Granary, 6 p.m.)

July 8

■ Book signing with Dorothy Wickenden at Museum of Northwest Colorado, 1 to 3 p.m.

Online

Register by Friday at http://www.welovehayden.com/heritage.

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