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The Telluride Historical Museum celebrates the holiday the old fashioned way, at Schmid Ranch.


The Telluride Historical Museum celebrates the holiday the old fashioned way, at Schmid Ranch.


Telluride, Colorado (December  06, 2011) – On Christmas Day, 1908, Harriet Fish Backus, later known as the "Tomboy Bride," awoke to a gift that would certainly turn the most modern San Juan citizen Christmas-colored with envy: “sparkling diamonds,” from the surface of ten-foot deep snow.

Meanwhile, outside her cabin at Tomboy, equipped with snow shoes, a fleece-lined jacket, fur hat, and, of best of all, a sack of toys slung over her back, “The Spirit of Christmas,” labored from shack to shack without discrimination; the annual ritual of Beth Batchellor, Harriet’s best friend.

This Saturday, the Telluride Historical Museum will honor the Spirit of Christmas at the annual celebration at Schmid Ranch from 12-5p.m.

There, at the ranch—a centennial farm that has remained in the Schmid family since the 1880’s—the celebration will include horse-drawn carriage rides, a bonfire, hot chocolate, cowboy coffee, wreath making, Santa Claus and gifts for children. Guests can even cut down their own Blue Spruce tree.

The third annual Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration at Schmid Ranch reads like a Christmas story book. “It’s truly beautiful at the ranch, and the community spirit is palpable,” said Lauren Bloemsma, executive director of the museum.

The event is free, thanks to donations at the event and sponsors like the Visitor’s Bureau, Peaks Resort and Spa, Hotel Telluride, Wilkinson Public Library and New Sheridan Chop House and Hotel.

Bloemsma encourages warm clothes, rope to get your tree home and your own mug for the hot beverages.

It's worth noting the museum isn’t completely ignoring the commercial side of the season. During the entire month of December the museum store will host Noel Month, where shoppers can play old fashioned games to win 10 – 50% discounts.

Gifts exchanged amongst the first Telluriders were likely “gloves, warms stockings hats; home baked breads and treats; paper dolls; balls; and simple games like jacks and marbles,” said Bloemsma.

Today, the museum offers shoppers contemporary items—like beer steins, belt buckles, travel mugs, ceramic tiles and Lisa Issenberg pendants and knobs—that display images from the past, in addition to matted and framed images from museum archives. Have you seen Beth Batcheller skiing on the roof of her Tomboy home, or the elephant in Ophir or, Colorado Ave in 1890?

The museum also carries great books including local titles: Tomboy BrideOne Man’s West and Rudy’s View, and DVDs documenting Telluride’s past: We Skied It! and YX Factor and fictional past: Scrapple.

For more information about Saturday’s event or about Noel Month, visit the museum online or at the top of Fir St.


As for “sparkling diamonds,” this Christmas, museum can’t make any promises, although historically speaking; at least we know chances are good.




Image Caption: Beth Batcheller, circa 1910, pictured here on the roof of her Tomboy home. Batcheller was known to deliver holiday gifts to all the children who lived at Tomboy.