CANCELLED

2020 PROGRAMS

– Perviously recorded stories may be viewed below –

Durango Native Stories are living history personal stories told by locals who have called the area home for generations. Each presentation includes first-hand recollections and historic family photographs, many more than a century old.

Hosted at the historic Henry Strater Theatre, the 2020 series features a variety of personalities that contributed greatly to the heritage of Durango and La Plata County.

2020 DURANGO NATIVE STORIES

THURSDAY, MAY 28TH

Ward & Wardine Lee

The Lees are Durango’s ultimate baseball family and pioneer stock. The family moved to “The Dry Side” (Redmesa area) in the early 1900’s after a multi-year migration from Utah through Arizona. Ward Lee and his daughter Wardine will recount family stories about the early days as well as decades teaching and coaching in local schools and youth programs.

JoAnne Pearce Brennan

Brennan family matriarch JoAnne and her six children (Judy, Dennis, Kelly, Kevin, Charlie, and Kegan) have roots that run deep in La Plata County for five generations. Brennan Oil, now 102 years old, was a dealer for “The Texas Company” before the name changed to Texaco (now a family-owned Exxon franchise). Jo Anne’s grandfather, Joseph Bryce, was an engineer for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in the early 1900’s.

JoAnne Pearce Brennan

Brennan family matriarch JoAnne and her six children (Judy, Dennis, Kelly, Kevin, Charlie, and Kegan) have roots that run deep in La Plata County for five generations. Brennan Oil, now 102 years old, was a dealer for “The Texas Company” before the name changed to Texaco (now a family-owned Exxon franchise). Jo Anne’s grandfather, Joseph Bryce, was an engineer for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in the early 1900’s.

THURSDAY, JUNE 11

Davin & Theresa Montoya

Pioneers, sheepherders, and cattlemen, the Montoya family traces its family for thirteen generation in Colorado and New Mexico. Davin’s wife, Theresa, is a descendent of the Sponsel and Eppich families, pioneers in the Thompson Park and Mancos areas. She’s also a better horseback rider than her husband.

Frank, Jim & Greg Anesi

The Anesi brothers are 5th generation descendants of gamblers, miners, bootleggers, and pioneer entrepreneurs that impacted SW Colorado from Ouray to Durango. They are now semi-reformed, respectable stalwarts of the community according to some sources.

Frank, Jim & Greg Anesi

The Anesi brothers are 5th generation descendants of gamblers, miners, bootleggers, and pioneer entrepreneurs that impacted SW Colorado from Ouray to Durango. They are now semi-reformed, respectable stalwarts of the community according to some sources.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22ND

Duane, Jean and Alita Fiorini

Duane and Jean’s grandfather, Giovanni (John) Fiorini, was a third generation Italian stone cutter and sculptor. He arrived in Durango by train in 1906 from his home in France. He founded the Durango Monument Works (now Family Craft Memorials) in south Durango in 1917. Duane Fiorini and his cousin, Jean, along with Alita Fiorini, Jean’s sister-in-law, will tell stories about growing up on Durango’s “South Side” and their family’s heritage.

Bob Lechner

The Lechner family immigrated from Austria in the 1890 and homesteaded in the valleys where Electra Lake is today. They still operate in summer on their ranch due west and across the highway from Haviland Lake north of Durango. Bob, Judy, and Michael Lechner will share stories and photos from 5 generations of ranching in SW Colorado and New Mexico.

Bob Lechner

The Lechner family immigrated from Austria in the 1890 and homesteaded in the valleys where Electra Lake is today. They still operate in summer on their ranch due west and across the highway from Haviland Lake north of Durango. Bob, Judy, and Michael Lechner will share stories and photos from 5 generations of ranching in SW Colorado and New Mexico.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH

Leo Lloyd II

The name “Dr. Lloyd” is legendary in SW Colorado medical community. Some credit him as being the first person that most people met if they were born locally from the 1940’s-70’s (he delivered a lot of babies). His son Leo II (DHS Class of 1956) and grandson, Joe Lloyd (Durango Joe’s Coffee) will share photos and stories of Lloyd family contributions from the 1940’s until today.

Virginia Serroni Royce

In the 1930’s Virginia Serroni and her family lived in an apartment above their small market, Public Cash & Carry, at 658 Main Ave. Her father, Otto, was an immigrant coal miner turned entrepreneur and a pillar of Durango’s Italian community. Virginia’s children, Ron and Mary Jo, will share stories and photos from five generations of their family’s contribution to local history.

Virginia Serroni Roycer

In the 1930’s Virginia Serroni and her family lived in an apartment above their small market, Public Cash & Carry, at 658 Main Ave. Her father, Otto, was an immigrant coal miner turned entrepreneur and a pillar of Durango’s Italian community. Virginia’s children, Ron and Mary Jo, will share stories and photos from five generations of their family’s contribution to local history.

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Jack Turner

All programs are hosted by Jack Turner, a 5th generation local and creator of Durango Native Stories. He is the author of the award winning book “Landscapes On Glass” with foreword by President Bill Clinton.

Location & Time

Henry Strater Theatre (699 Main Ave; Durango, Colorado 81301).  Doors open at 5:45, programs start at 6:30 PM.  Beverage service available.

Tickets

Tickets are $10 each and available at the two weeks before each performance at the Strater Hotel Front Desk (699 Main Ave) or Maria’s Bookshop (960 Main Ave). Remaining tickets will be sold the night of the performance at Strater Box office only.

Cash or checks only, credit card and online purchase not available.

WATCH DURANGO 2019 NATIVE STORIES

ROD TURNER (b. 1931)

Recorded June 8, 2017

Rod Turner’s great grandfather, John C. Turner, was a member of the Baker Expedition that first explored the area in 1860-61. Six generations of the Turner family are from Durango. Assisted by his daughter, Laurel, Rod’s stories are told with his unique perspective and sense of humor.

MARY JANE CLARK

Recorded June 20, 2019

MARY JANE CLARK

Recorded June 20, 2019

Mary Jane Clark is a founder of Toh-Atin Gallery (est. 1957) focusing on Native American and Southwestern artworks, jewelry, and rugs.  Mary Jane was born at home in Blanco, NM (about 40 miles from Durango) where her parents owned the Blanco Mercantile trading post. Mary Jane lived in Durango in 1944, as a nursing student, and settled here permanently, working at Mercy Hospital, in 1945.

Mary Jane Clark is a founder of Toh-Atin Gallery (est. 1957) focusing on Native American and Southwestern artworks, jewelry, and rugs.  Mary Jane was born at home in Blanco, NM (about 40 miles from Durango) where her parents owned the Blanco Mercantile trading post. Mary Jane lived in Durango in 1944, as a nursing student, and settled here permanently, working at Mercy Hospital, in 1945.

TOM & PENNI COMPTON (b. 1942 & 1943)

Recorded June 20, 2019

Tom & Penni Compton focused their lives on family, agriculture, and education.  Penni was born into the Lemon family, pioneer ranchers and the namesake for Lemon Reservoir.  In addition to operating their ranch in the Hesperus area, Tom taught biology at Fort Lewis College and served many community organizations including 9R School Board, LaPlata Open Space Conservancy and helped start Leadership LaPlata.

REY & CLAIR MARTINEZ (b. 1931 & 1933)

Recorded July 18, 2019

REY & CLAIR MARTINEZ (b. 1931 & 1933)

Recorded July 18, 2019

Rey & Clair Martinez are brothers, two of seven children born at home in Durango. Both men played football for Durango High School and then at Adams State College. Ray served in the Marine Corps and Clair was a Forest Service interpreter.  Both brothers taught in the local schools and coached sports for decades.

Rey & Clair Martinez are brothers, two of seven children born at home in Durango. Both men played football for Durango High School and then at Adams State College. Ray served in the Marine Corps and Clair was a Forest Service interpreter.  Both brothers taught in the local schools and coached sports for decades.

H. PRESCOTT BLAKE (b. 1932)

Recorded July 18, 2019

Prescott Blake moved to Durango in 1933 at age two when his father was hired as a linotype operator for the Durango Democrat newspaper. Prescott is a colorful jack-of-all-trades, hunter, fishman, and owned a local plumbing company for 30 years in addition to working with other contractors on major projects.

AMANDOR TUSCON (b. 1939)

Recorded August 22, 2019

AMANDOR TUSCON (b. 1939)

Recorded August 22, 2019

Amador Tucson is a descendent member of the Southern Ute Tribe. He’s the founder, musician, and singer for the Latino band, “Tucson y Los Amigos.” Amador is best known as the owner / operator of Tucson’s Barber & Styling (est. 1968) where he and his son Isador provide classic haircuts today.

Amador Tucson is a descendent member of the Southern Ute Tribe. He’s the founder, musician, and singer for the Latino band, “Tucson y Los Amigos.” Amador is best known as the owner / operator of Tucson’s Barber & Styling (est. 1968) where he and his son Isador provide classic haircuts today.

PERYL KELLEY SCHAAF (b. 1924)

Recorded August 22, 2019

The daughter of two homesteading families, Peryl Kelley eloped and married another generational local, Olga Little’s nephew, Ernie Schaaf, at age 15. Peryl’s work career started at age six as a homemaker for her family while her mother was away teaching at remote one room school houses. Peryl transitioned to a gas pump attendant at her father’s station during the war and eventually served as a Bank of Durango vice-president.

Durango Native Stories are recorded and edited by Durango Government TV