April 2019 Monthly Presentation
When: Thursday, April 11 at 7pm
Who: Jeff Norman, Buffalo Bill
Where: Philip S. Miller Library, 100 S. Wilcox, Castle Rock
From Legend to Life
“I longed for the cool air of the mountains, and to the mountains I determined to go.” And so he did. The rest is history, and a lot of it.
William Cody, aka Buffalo Bill, lived a long and storied life, some of it here in Colorado. He is buried on Lookout Mountain near Golden, and his spirit still walks today, in the reenactor Jeff Norman.
Norman will perform the story of Cody’s amazingly diverse life and personality for the Castle Rock Historical Society’s monthly presentation on April 11th. And the audience will be in for a real treat, as well as a real trip back in time to the glory days of the Old West. Not many know Cody the way Norman does, and there are some definite surprises in store about the very self-promoting and colorful character.
It may be coincidence, but Norman actually looks like the legend himself. People would remark on it, and one day, an Abraham Lincoln reenactor suggested that Norman, a former Marine, should look into it. Norman responded that he’d have to research Cody and see if he liked the man. He didn’t just like him, he was fascinated.
“I soon leaned that Bill was in the middle of it all… Bleeding Kansas, the Civil War, Sioux Indian Wars, Manifest Destiny…” And, he knew all the right people. Over the course of his life, he met the most famous mountain men and Native Chiefs of the time, but he also mixed with the likes of Thomas Edison and Susan B. Anthony.
Norman says he worked for months crafting his presentation, finding the anecdotes that made him human, not just a character out of the pages of a book, delving into stories about his penchant for social reform at the time, or how his mother saved his life when he was a teenager. And that’s what makes his presentation so special and exciting.
Norman brings his history alive to the students in Douglas County, teaching them not just about the man, but about the times and the historical events that shaped his life, like the Colorado gold rush, the Civil War, the American West, and the beginnings of the film age (yes, there are about 40 known films in which he appears!).
He is nationally known for his presentation, and says this “second” career has been more rewarding than he could have ever imagined. He says he’s seen “such a hunger for history,” in his travels, and has a passion for others to become reenactors, to research and get inside the minds and spirits of historical figures. He even wrote a book about it called, “Re-enacting: A Guide to the Rewarding and Lucrative Career of Becoming Instantly Famous.”
Join the Castle Rock Historical Society on Thursday evening as Buffalo Bill comes riding into town!
February 2019 Monthly Presentation
Welcome to Wellspring Community!
When: Wednesday, February 13that 7pm (note that this is Wednesday, not Thursday this month)
Who: Mary Lou Fenton, Founder of Wellspring Community
See what’s making history in our community!
History is us, here and now, just as it was for those who came before us. It’s the people who share the same time and space, and what they do with those things. History is not just who we were, it’s also who we are, now. Take a look around and see what will be history going forward, what a future generation might say about who we were and what we did.
A large part of our history, in any age, is the people and the community who are together on this surging journey of life.
A small but vibrant and amazing part of this community that history will smile on is Wellspring. And it all started with a mother, trying to make the best of life for her adult daughter with developmental disabilities, and others like her.
Mary Lou Fenton realized that her daughter Emily would have few opportunities in adulthood; she couldn’t drive and would need her parents’ support for the rest of her life. “We started by talking to a lot of other parents of teens with special needs, researching programs around the country that were doing great things for folks with developmental disabilities and mostly praying for a wildly creative idea to give Emily and her friends a full and wonderful future,” she says.
So she started a weekly cookie-baking class at home for Emily and three high school friends.She had no idea where that would lead. These “classes” became the journey of a lifetime for Fenton, a journey she’s invited others to share. The creativity became contagious.
“Today we serve over 80 adults with special needs,” she says. “We call the folks we serve STARS – Specially Talented Adults Raising Standards – from 5 counties. We operate several special enterprises and offer a wide variety of enrichment classes to give our STARS meaningful, productive activity in a nurturing environment.” We have recently received a 2.7-acre land donation in Castle Rock to build a Wellspring headquarters so we can serve more folks. And this summer, we will be launching our first satellite in Colorado Springs!”
It’s been a life-changing event for Fenton and for all of the families that Wellspring serves. Each individual finds their own talent, whether it’s baking, ceramics, gardening, or one of the many enrichment classes. The long-term goal is for Wellspring to eventually provide lifelong residential services so their STARS can live in safe and loving homes with friends when their parents can no longer provide their care.
These adults show their assurance while working at the cozy Wellspring Café and Bakery in the Emporium, and you can buy their unique pottery there, too.
Wellspring is making history in our time, better for those that follow. “We are seeing the lives of adults with all kinds of special needs transformed as we treat them with dignity and respect and provide opportunities to develop their potential and live life to the fullest,” says Fenton.
Fenton will be presenting her on-going journey to the Castle Rock Historical Society on February 13th. Everyone is welcome to hear the rest of this inspiring story.