Tag Archives: Saguache County

SLV Museum Hosts Speaker

On Thursday, Oct. 17 the San Luis Valley Museum Association will be hosting guest speaker Jillian Allison from History Colorado to talk about the Women’s Vote Centennial Colorado (WVCC) which will commemorate the Centennial of the 19th Amendment in 2020.  The presentation will be held at the Transportation of the West Museum at 916 First Ave. in  Monte Vista at 11 a.m. The WVCC program is a comprehensive statewide effort to examine the importance of voting in our democracy.

The Women’s Vote Centennial Colorado program kicked off at the State Capitol last August. Photo: History Colorado

Last August 26 on Women’s Equality Day, the Colorado Governor, representatives of History Colorado, and the newly formed WVCC program made history on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol when they kicked off the commemoration of the 19th Amendment which happened on August 26, 1920. On the anniversary of the largest voting-rights expansion in U.S. history, August’s event launched a full year of educational programming, community engagement, and partnerships in all 64 Colorado counties.  And next Thursday the Centennial celebration is coming to the San Luis Valley!

Allison will also discuss how local residents, groups, or organizations interested in organizing an event or exhibit can get involved. History Colorado, the state agency leading the initiative, announced inclusive, historic opportunities for Coloradans to participate, join grassroots efforts, and honor the bold individuals who fought for female voting rights. These events will take place in 2020.

“We want this work to live on and to create a buzz within every Colorado community. It is only through partnerships and collaboration that we can reach individuals statewide with messages, programs, and experiences that explore the journey and struggle to achieve voting rights,” said Dawn DiPrince, chief operating officer of History Colorado. “We want to provide educational touchpoints and help tell these untold stories that bridge history with modern-day Colorado.”

In 1893, Colorado was the first state to outlaw, via referendum, denying citizens the right to vote based on their sex. The national women’s suffrage act would take another 25 years!

History Colorado invites interested organizations and individuals across the state to collaborate together to create space and events for civic engagement, commemoration, impact, and support. Statewide partnerships between local museums, libraries, clubs, schools, arts organizations and individuals in communities will provide settings for suffrage-related events and dialogue. 

In 1893, Colorado was the first state to outlaw, via state referendum, denying citizens the right to vote based on their sex. This took place more than 25 years before the national women’s suffrage act was signed into law on Aug. 26, 1920. The trailblazing collaborative fight for women’s voting rights changed the course of history in Colorado and continues to inspire social, economic, political and cultural advancements today. 

“As the first state to give women the right to vote by popular referendum, Colorado has a lot to be proud of and a lot to commemorate,” said Cathey M. Finlon, chair of the Colorado Women’s Vote Centennial Commission. “We also have the opportunity to understand what brought this vote to pass — the coalitions, the economic anxieties, the societal situations that came together to achieve this momentous result. We will call attention to Colorado’s important role in the national movement for the women’s vote while inspiring new action and research.” 

Last August 26 on Women’s Equality Day, the Colorado Governor, representatives of History Colorado, and the newly formed WVCC program made history on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol when they kicked off the commemoration of the 19th Amendment which happened on August 26, 1920. Photo: History Colorado.

About History Colorado

History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. The charitable organization and historical agency serves as the state’s memory, preserving the places, stories and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, a public research library, collections, and outreach to Colorado communities. History Colorado has become a force for finding new and inclusive ways to serve Coloradans.

With eight museums around the state, History Colorado shares the cultures and stories that define Colorado’s past and present, including History Colorado Center (Denver); Center for Colorado Women’s History at Byers-Evans House (Denver); El Pueblo History Museum (Pueblo); Trinidad History Museum (Trinidad); Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center (Fort Garland); Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin (Leadville); Ute Indian Museum (Montrose); and Fort Vasquez (Platteville). Visit HistoryColorado.org or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.

Centennial celebrations being planned across Colorado for the 19th Amendment in 2020. Get involved in Saguache Today.
The 19th Amendment marks 100 years of the Women’s Vote in 2020. Photo: History Colorado.

Villa Grove Trade: New Year, New Owners

The Villa Grove Trade stands at the northern gateway to the San Luis Valley.

By Kathy Bedell, © Saguache Today

“We stumbled on this opportunity,” said Allen Plumley who along with his partner Jamie Williams became the new owners of Villa Grove Trade on January 1, 2019. “I don’t think it was something we were looking for when we came to the valley.”

And maybe that’s just how these Old West stories are supposed to go, the less planning the better! Regardless, the pair now steps to the helm of one of the most historic businesses, as well as the established port of entry at the northern end of the San Luis Valley. Villa Grove Trade has been a general store since 1882 and includes a restaurant and retail area that promotes local food, artists and musicians. The business also includes The Inn @ Villa Grove.

The new owners hail from Hutchinson, Kansas and both have restaurant management experience. They have been working on site with the former owners Amber and Jeff Shook since last summer.


Meet Allen Plumley (front) and Jamie Williams (back), new owners of Villa Grove Trade

“Jamie started working here in mid-June, and my sister had worked here before,” said Plumley in an interview with Saguache Today in December. Plumley arrived in late summer after discovering that the place was up for sale, which accelerated the pair’s plans to move west to Colorado. 

“Originally there was somebody else that was going to buy it,” explained Plumley, confirming earlier reports that Villa Grove Trade was going to be bought by a Sous-Chef-from-Boulder.

Yes, for those who may not have heard, it was the tongue-wagging news that the long-time owners of Villa Grove Trade were going to be selling the place to a Sous-Chef-from-Boulder that manifested more than a few puzzling looks.  As expected, there were concerns that things would change, drastically.

“It wasn’t something that a lot of locals weren’t looking forward to,” stated Plumley.

It’s a one-stop-shop at The Villa Grove Trade, from food to lodging, to arts and crafts!

But who could blame the Shooks for wanting to sell the place – to anyone!? Hadn’t they done their time, 15 years in all? Running the only game-in-town for food and lodging can wear on folks. Sure it’s fun when the summer visitors pass through with their tips and tale tall adventures. And no doubt, there’s always time for a visit when the locals pop in for pancakes and coffee. But those 15 years that Amber and Jeff ran The Villa, also included some lean times. You wonder how you’re going to get through February, then March and maybe even as late as June until the money starts to flow again along with the spring run-off. So it’s nice when friends and neighbors see hard-working people like the Shooks get the pay-off in the end.

“I just want to sit and rock my grand babies,” Amber said during an October visit. “But we’re not going anywhere. We’ll still be here in Villa,” she added. That was back when the other buyer was the front-runner.

But the San Luis Valley has a strong spiritual reputation for a reason. So it was a comfort for many to learn that the winds of fate had changed direction and that people with a more congruous vision would be buying the place. For now, it doesn’t seem like there will be too much will change at the northern end of the SLV.

“Our plan and our vision is probably not too different from what Amber and Jeff have;  we plan on keeping it the same,” Plumey confirmed.

New owners (left to right) Jamie and Allen takes the reins from former owners Amber & Jeff.

While regulars can expect to see the same menu, like any new owners the pair will introduce some new items as well and perhaps some extended hours during the summer, including a weekly dinner night. Of course, a good meal is nicely paired with live music, another mainstay regulars can continue to look forward to. Sounds like The Villa will be grooving again come this March, with Jeff agreeing to help set up the local gigs.

As for now, you can find the Villa Grove Trade open with the same hours which are 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Daily, closed on Tuesday.  The establishment is located officially at 34094 Highway 285 in Villa Grove, CO 81155. You can also stay connected through the Villa Grove Trade Facebook Page.

Congratulations to the new owners, Allen and Jamie! And many thanks and best wishes to Amber and Jeff. Much peace and joy to all!

Journalist Kathy Bedell owns The Great Pumpkin, LLC a digital media company in Leadville, Colorado which publishes Leadville Today and Saguache Today. She may be reached at info@saguahcetoday.com