Belle Starr portrayed by Karen Vuranch

Belle Starr, The Bandit Queen By Karen Vuranch The phrase The Wild West describes a unique time and place in American history. There were many people who embodied the spirit of the Old West and one of those larger than life characters is Belle Starr. Known as The Bandit Queen or The Petticoat Terror of the Plains, Belle Starr has taken her place in history among the outlaws and desperados of what was then known as The Wild West. It … Read More

Huey Long Portrayed by Chuck Chalberg

Huey Long, an American original By John (Chuck) Chalberg Huey Pierce Long was an American original. Fascinating and flamboyant, he shot across Louisiana and ultimately across the country before being shot to death in September of 1935. The political machine that he created was far less original. Designed to advance his interests, as well as those of his constituents, it was extraordinarily effective, even if it was shot through with corruption of the very ordinary … Read More

Aimee Semple McPherson portrayed by Doris Dwyer

Aimee Semple McPherson, Hope and Love By Doris Dwyer Aimee Semple McPherson was a singular force in the cultural milieu of the interwar period. Born in Ontario, Canada in 1890. She was consecrated to the Lord at the age of six weeks. Her mother raised Aimee to love Jesus in the tradition of the Salvation Army. Aimee’s rural childhood was transformed when the Pentecostals came to Ingersoll. Ontario. She married Irish evangelist Robert Semple at the age of 17 … Read More

Benedict Arnold portrayed by Frank X. Mullen

Benedict Arnold: American Patriot, American Judas By Frank X. Mullen On the Revolutionary War battlefield at Saratoga, New York, stands a statue of a left boot. The inscription memorializes an American general, the nation’s “most brilliant soldier,” as the hero of the engagement. But the general’s name is not mentioned. That’s one of a handful of ambiguous monuments that Benedict Arnold (Jan. 14, 1741 to June 14, 1801), has to his bravery. Had the musket … Read More

Guess Who’s Coming to Chautauqua? Aimee Semple McPherson


A woman ahead of her time, Aimee Semple McPherson was an itinerant preacher, radio broadcaster and founder of the Foursquare Church. Unfortunately, she is probably best known for her mysterious disappearance involving an alleged/unsubstantiated kidnapping which overshadows the work that was most important to her. An unconventional woman, she did whatever was necessary to reach her audiences in ways that touched a chord with the American people of the 1920s. Aimee’s calling came early in … Read More

Guess Who’s Coming to Chautauqua? Huey Long


Traveling salesman, self-educated lawyer, Louisiana Governor, and U.S. Senate member, Huey Long appeared at a time when people needed someone to champion those who were suffering through the depression and seemed without a political voice. Huey campaigned on issues of economic equality which generated very strong feelings from the populace; the average Louisiana citizen loved him, the unions, big businesses and wealthy hated him.  Fortunate to have been raised in a family that stressed the … Read More

First Automobile Show – Historic Photo

The first automobile show in Grand Junction was in May, 1926. It was in the Lincoln Park Auditorium (later mistakenly called the barn). Some familiar cars are shown. The Ford, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Dodge, and Buick brands are still with us. Hudson, Nash, Studebaker, and Willys were large manufacturers of the time, but exist no more.(Dean Studio Photo)

Guess Who’s Coming to Two Rivers Chautauqua? Benedict Arnold


At this year’s Chautauqua, we’re bringing in the “Rascals and Rogues.” First among them is infamous General Benedict Arnold (V). Druggist, bookseller, smuggler and skillful and courageous general of the American Revolution, he is best known for betraying his country. He was, however, also called the “Greatest General” by George Washington. Who was this general whose name is synonymous with being a traitor? What could change a man so? Knowing his family history makes Benedict … Read More

More Museums than Starbucks-Yea!!!

I have been involved with museums nearly my whole career. In that whole time, finding sufficient resources has always been a challenge. It is easy at times to get discouraged and wonder if the nation really values museums in general. This was the situation recently when I came across an article in the Washington Post (June 13, 2014) that made me stop, ponder and smile. I thought I would share some of its highlights with … Read More

Guess who’s coming to Chautauqua? Rosa Parks

Seamstress, civil rights activist, author, recipient of both the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1996) and the Congressional Gold Medal (1999), and the only woman in American history to lie in state at the Capitol, we are honored to welcome Rosa Parks to the Two Rivers Chautauqua September 19th and 20th. As the secretary of her local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Rosa was the only female officer, yet … Read More