Courtesy of the Lyons History Video Project
Thirteen years ago, Kathleen Spring took on a project to record on videotape the life stories of Lyons pioneer families. Little did she know that it would take over a decade to complete. Her talent, persistence, and loyalty to Lyons history preservation were rewarded by the
Boulder Heritage Roundtable at its annual Boulder County Archaeology and Historic Preservation Month Awards Ceremony, presented by the City of Boulder and Boulder County. The event honors people who have preserved the county’s history by renovating historic homes, publishing historic books, or working on long-term history preservation projects. Kathleen Spring was given the prestigious Square Nail award for her work on the Lyons History Video Project.
In 1997, the Lyons Area Advisory Council on Aging received a grant to buy a video camera to use in recording the life stories of Lyons seniors. Coordinator Ruth Major assisted the group in conducting interviews of the LAACA members. When it came time to interview members of the public, Ruth sought out professional videographer Kathleen Spring to train the group in videotaping and interview techniques.
As new director, Kathleen saw the potential for a larger archival goal. In 1998, she amicably split from LAACA and formed an independent Lyons History Video Project. She not only did sixty interviews of families over the years, but she preserved on tape a dozen special events in town, such as grand openings and anniversaries. She produced a two-hour documentary on Lyons sandstone history, made out of segments of interviews of quarry pioneer families. Next came a video on the geology of Lyons and the Front Range. Both are available for purchase or viewing at the Redstone Museum and the Visitor Center. She ran fundraisers, including annual Community History Parties and garage sales, and wrote grants to keep the project progressing.
Her initial board consisted of Maxine Harkalis, Joyce Cox, Al Pace, and D. W. King. Al Pace assisted in researching the quarry histories. Pioneers Maxine and LaVern Johnson guided Kathleen in whom should be sought out for interviewing. The next project will be to transcribe the tapes into a book format.
Grants were received from SCFD (Scientific and Cultural Facilities District) to complete the two video documentaries. The Blue Mountain Foundation grant purchased a special fireproof safe to protect the tapes. Lyons Community Foundation helped pay for transferring the tapes to DVDs and making archival copies. It also helped complete the interviews in 2011 and begin the transcribing process. The Wyoming-Colorado Association paid for the expenses of setting up an Oral History corner in the Redstone Museum. People can sit at a desk and view on a TV the interviews or do genealogy research. Loukonen Brothers, Blue Mountain Stone, Western Stone, Lyons Historical Society and the Town of Lyons, plus numerous individuals helped pay for the expenses of conducting the interviews. Plus, a number of history-loving volunteers have helped over the years.
“Learning things like who planted the apples on Apple Valley Road, and meeting all the wonderful people who made Lyons what it is today, is enough reward for me,” said Kathleen. “It takes a lot of fundraising and good support. I especially want to thank Max Harkalis, who has been a steady board member and friend for thirteen years; and supporter LaVern Johnson, who lifted my spirits these past few struggling years.”
For more information on the videos, call (303) 823-0997 or go to www.rockymtretreats.com/lyons-v.htm. Past and future generations of Lyons congratulate Kathleen Spring for a job well done!