March's History Happy Hours focuses on the seedier side of Colorado |

March’s History Happy Hours focuses on the seedier side of Colorado

A man stands outside a drunk tank on Larimer Street in Denver. The Tread of Pioneers Museum’s History Happy Hours will be led by Colorado author Randi Samuelson-Brown, who will share stories from the seedier side of Colorado’s history. (Photo courtesy of the Denver Public Library)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Colorado in the 1890s was truly the Wild West, filled with whiskey, drugs and even prostitution, and that culture is the focus for the Tread of Pioneers Museum’s March History Happy Hours.

“Hell’s Swift Alley: Sex, Drugs and Questionable Whiskey in Colorado” will feature Golden author Randi Samuelson-Brown sharing stories of bad whiskey recipes, saloons, brothels, drugs and prostitutes. Samuelson-Brown’s book “The Beaten Territory” has been a finalist for multiple literary awards and was even named a Tattered Cover staff pick.

If You Go

What: History Happy Hours: “Hell’s Swift Alley: Sex, Drugs and Questionable Whiskey in Colorado”
When: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 5
Where: Butcherknife Brewing Co., 2875 Elk River Road
Cost: Free

“The overall theme of the History Happy Hours is the rowdy and raucous side of Routt County and Colorado history. We uncover the conflicts, controversies, criminals and carousing that shaped our local and regional history,” Tread of Pioneers Museum Executive Director Candice Bannister wrote in an email. “Randi is a well-known author and speak, and her topic and book hit the bull’s eye of our event focus.”

Samuelson-Brown will bring photos from the Denver Public Library’s collection and fun facts such as ingredients for whiskey back then, which could include tobacco juice, rattlesnake heads and even prune juice. She also discovered something that might surprise people when they think of old-timey prostitutes.

“One of the most surprising things I learned was they didn’t wear fancy plumes and dresses but rather white brothel gowns à la Lanz of Austria (a traditional night gown popular in the 1950s),” Samuelson-Brown wrote in an email.

Prostitutes sit on men’s laps in a Denver brothel. This photo is considered quite lewd for its time. (Photo courtesy of the Denver Public Library)

The free event takes place 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at Butcherknife Brewing Co., 2875 Elk River Road. And, don’t miss the last History Happy Hours focusing on “Forgotten Women of Routt County” with Sureva Taylor on April 2.

To reach Mackenzie Hicks, email, call 970-871-4208 or follow her on Twitter @MackenzieShawna.

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