History to walk Craig’s streets | CraigDailyPress.com

History to walk Craig’s streets

CRAIG — Characters from the past will walk the streets of downtown Craig later this week in a new event that pays homage to the rich history of the community, and cast members guarantee the audience won't be disappointed.

The Craig Historic Ghost Walk will begin Thursday with two seated sneak peek performances — at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. — in the auditorium of Craig Middle School, 915 Yampa Avenue. Discounted tickets are available for $5 at the door, and advanced tickets are available at the Craig Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Books, or the Community Budget Center.

Walking tours leave every 15 minutes beginning at 5 p.m., with the last tour leaving at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 and 6. Walking tours should last 1 1/2 to 2 hours and cover a distance of a little more than a mile. Guided tours will begin and end at the Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave. Tickets are $10, with a $2 discount for seniors, students, first responders, and veterans. They can be purchased in advance or at the Center of Craig.

The production is made possible by a volunteer cast and crew of more than 30 people receiving support from more than 20 businesses.

Guides have maps and are practicing the route, which will lead each tour group to historic locations in the downtown area. They will use Coleman lanterns donated by Walmart to light the route, which has been vetted for safety by Police Chief Jerry DeLong. Craig Police Department officers will provide extra patrols. In addition, Craig Power Sports donated bright-yellow safety vests to be worn by the guides, and the city of Craig will place warning signs to alert drivers of an event in progress.

The notion of a ghost walk references the fact that each of the characters portrayed is a person who was part of Craig's past.

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"We are not going to try to scare people or promote Halloween, but rather tell stories from our history," said Linda Olson, who was inspired to create the event after enjoying similar walks in Pueblo.

Careful research

The scripts for each of the 10 stories to be told during the walk were carefully researched and written by Olson, but she was delighted that cast and crew dug deeper for character background.

"We did a lot of research about it," said Alyssa Miles, who will play the ghost of Lady Cosgriff, namesake of the Cosgriff Motor Hotel. "I would just love to be able to visit this hotel after everything I've learned about it."

Old newspapers preserved online were one of the sources used my Miles and her husband, Elishah Miles, who will play the ghost of area rodeo star Phil Leckenby.

"He was a working cowboy that started doing the rodeo circuit when it first came about. Back then, you rode until the horse stopped bucking or you fell off. There was one horse that had never been ridden, and he road it to a standstill," Elishah said, adding that, as a working cowboy himself, he can relate to Leckenby.

"Linda's writing is amazing," Alyssa said, telling Olson, "You really bring it to life and provide a sense of the flavor."

Having used coloradohistoricnewspapers.org for background research, the Miles were excited to learn some of the proceeds of the event will be donated to put more of Moffat County's newspapers online and support education through Moffat County’s COSI (Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative) matching grant. For every $1 in new donations, the CNCC Foundation will receive $3 towards CNCC scholarships.

'Fire Hits the Heart of Craig'

Mary Wiley Humphry owned a millinery shop in Craig, where she raised two children next door to the first First Christian Church. Her story is told in "Fire in the Heart of Craig."

"She was a witness to when the church caught fire," said Delaine Voloshin, who, along with Remedy Hawke, will share the role of Humphrey's ghost.

Both ladies have wanted to get back into acting and were inspired by the area's history.

"I enjoy acting a lot. I haven't done it for a really long time, and I wanted to challenge myself to do it," Hawke said.

Voloshin recalls staying at the Cosgriff Hotel on her first night in Craig, and she's active in historic preservation as part of the Save the Luttrell Barn Committee.

"I think our people are hungry for our history. … This is one way to portray it," she said.

"I can't believe how many famous people have either been here or drifted through here. I hope they (the audience) would get addicted to learning more about this place," Hawke said.

As for the fire, "you can find out how it got started and more about it at the show," Voloshin said.

'Best-Loved Guy in Town'

When Debbie McLain learned Olson was short of men, she agreed to play the character of Joseph Robert Flack, known as the "best-loved guy in town," according to research materials uncovered by Olson and McLain.

A veteran of the Spanish American War, Flack and his new wife opened the Café de Flack in Craig in 1910 but gave up the venture due to ill health.

"He was very civic minded," McLain said. "Acting was never my thing, but my activities with the Daughters of the American Revolution have given me the opportunity to bring history to life in the classroom."

When Olson called McLain, she was originally thinking of playing another character, but found she could also relate to Flack.

"I wasn't a veteran, but I'm a very civic-minded person," she said.

By bringing Flack back to life, McLain hopes to spark a passion for local history in others, a desire summed up by Alyssa Miles, when she said, "I believe that history is a part of our story. It's important to know where we came from, and it's so worth the walk. And you won't be disappointed."

For more information about the Craig Historic Ghost Walk visit craigghostwalk.wixsite.com.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

Craig Historic Ghost Walk

A storytelling of Craig and Moffat County’s history.

Sneak peek, seated performance
When: 5:30 and 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4,
Where: Craig Middle School auditorium.
Cost: Discounted tickets are $5

Walking tours
When: Walks leave every 15 minutes starting at 5 p.m.,  the last tour leaves at 7 p.m. on Oct. 5 and 6.
Where: Tours begin and end at the Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave.
Cost: Tickets are $10 with a $2 discount for seniors, students, first responders, and veterans.

Additional Information:

  • Tours last 1 1/2 to 2 hours and are a little more than a mile. The walking tour is not recommended for children younger than age 6.
  • The show will go on rain or shine. In the event of rain the Center of Craig will provide the venue for an “indoor tour,” said event organizer Linda Olson.  
  • For advanced tickets and tour time reservations, stop by the Craig Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Books or the Community Budget Center.
  • For more information about the Craig Historic Ghost Walk visit craigghostwalk.wixsite.com.