By Caitlin Walker
Special to the Herald Times

September 22, 2016  Revised  December 12, 2019 by TR Reed

RBC | For aficionados of the past, there’s not much more thrilling than making history of their own. The chance to be remembered, commemorated, and rediscovered long after your stint on planet Earth is through is both motivation and reward for the long and difficult work of keeping the past alive.

The Rio Blanco County Historical Society was formed 67 years ago with that express purpose. They not only preserve the past, but have accomplished several history-making feats, including an impressive list of completed goals in the past five years including:

– Paying off the debt attained from printing the This Is What I Remember series and commissioning iron gates for the Milk Creek Battlefield Park.
– Developing the Milk Creek Battlefield Park with construction of a gazebo and signage as well as events and tours.
– Completing a lighting projection in five rooms in the museum, installing new solar tubes in one room, and cleaning and reorganizing all exhibits.
– Adding new exhibits and lighting to the Garrison and refurbishing the outdoor exhibit.
– Participating in community events including Range Call, the Meeker Classic, Community Appreciation Day, Meekerpalooza, Wagon Wheel OHV Rendezvous, Fall Festival and Meeker Classic Cattledog Trials.
– Creating a Rural School Story complete with research, brochures, and tour loops of 37 area schools.
– Continuation of the Rural School Story through the Coal Creek School Historic Preservation project with an expected completion date of 2017.
– Expanding oral history with the video series “Capturing Our Culture”,which shares stories from pioneers and their descendants.
– Sponsored special exhibits with the White River Forest Service 50th Wilderness Anniversary Exhibition at the White River Museum and the Heritage Rendezvous exhibit in conjunction with the Museums of Western Colorado in Grand Junction, Colo.
– Starting History Camps in partnership with the ERBM Recreation & Park District, providing historical presentations at all quarterly meetings, acquiring a building for a heritage culture center in partnership with Rio Blanco County and creating the Heritage Culture Center Committee with a Heritage Tourism Task Force to promote heritage education and heritage tourism.
– Creating a new website with multiple pages as well as setting up an open source data base with potential to connect archived artifacts, stories, photos and brochures.

These history-making achievements were completed through the hard work and dedication of many local residents. Five standing committees of the historical society meet separately on their own time to set goals, raise funds, apply for grants and report back to the board.

They are:
– Milk Creek Battlefield Park Committee, chaired by Joe Sullivan for the continued care and development of the historic site and promotion of Ute and Calvary history
– Rural School Committee, often called the RRR (Rio Blanco County Rural School Research)—with Marge Rogers, Janet Clark, Martha Cole and Ellen Reichert—researching, preserving and promoting our rural schools.
– WACC (Website-Archiving-Computer Committee) with Bob Amick, to develop, maintain and update the website, archiving and computers.
– Accession Committee with Patty Anderson and Kay Bivens to approve artifact donations with the guidelines provided by the board.
– HCCC (Heritage Culture Center Committee) with Teresia Reed, and the expanding Heritage Tourism Task Force, to promote heritage education and heritage tourism and operate the Old West Heritage Culture Center within the museum complex block in downtown Meeker.

Members of the Board of Directors include Niki Turner (secretary), Jay Sullivan, Dierdre McNab, and Kay Bivens (directors), as well as President Teresia Reed.

Make a little history of your own and help change the future by preserving the past. If you are interested in serving on the board as president, on one of the committees, or in another capacity, email or call 970-878-9982 for more information on how to get involved.

“There is so much potential in this small rural community, so much rich heritage to share and so many wonderful people who want to be a part. Our future is bright for Rio Blanco County Historical Society!