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Tesoro's Historic Lecture Series 2024 - 2025

All good things must come to an end, and such is the case with the 2023 -2024 season.  A wonderful lineup of presenters is coming for the 2024-2025 season!

The new schedule should be posted in August, so check back then.

Ticket sales will be posted after the series is on the website.






















a person standing in front of a building

The Night The Stars Fell

Presenter: Mr. Ron Hranac

Former Denver Astronomical Society President, Ron Hranac, will discuss “What is a meteor?” His lecture comes at the same time as the early meteor shower appeared at Bent’s Fort during the Leonid meteor shower. Thousands of meteors blazed through the night and into the morning of November 12, 1833, as the entire world watched one of the most spectacular sights of human history. The event had a significant impact on the Plains Indians who believed this might signal the end of the world. After dinner, enjoy looking at the stars through 19th century and modern telescopes in the Fort’s Courtyard, courtesy of the Denver Astronomical Society.

a man smiling for the camera

Hawaiians and the Fur Trade

Presenter: Mr. William Gwaltney

This lecture tells the larger story of the American Fur Trade that connects it not only to the Fur Trade of the Pacific Northwest, but also to suggest that the Fur Trade was part of a larger commerce that was international on so many levels.

Given the volume and tenor that Popular Culture related to the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade, it is easy for history students to forget that the Fur Trade was, in the end,…about making profits. The Fur Trade allowed substantial amounts of money to be made, had regular financial dangers for investors and managers, and real physical dangers for the on-the-ground trappers, hunters, voyageurs. Post employees were ready to accept anyone willing to take the job, the able to do the job, and having the “Savoir Faire” to improve on performing in ways that preserved their lives and enhanced long-term Fur Trade company revenues.

The Fur Trade was ramping up while political upheavals, the Maritime Trade, and the arrival of Protestant Missionaries arrived in the Hawaiian Islands.

Making use of Native Americans as mentors, assistants, protectors and customers, the Fur Trade employed East Coast American Indians, Mexicans, Spaniards, Canadians, Europeans, Americans of all stripes, and, as we will see, the little known and often forgotten people of the Hawaiian Islands as well.

a person wearing a hat

Colorado and the Civil War

Presenter: Mr. John Steinle

Colorado troops were vitally important for the Union in the quest to win the Civil War. They served throughout the American West from Missouri to Utah, and their enemies were not only ordinary Confederate troops but also fearsome guerrillas under William Quantrill and “Blood Bill” Anderson. Vital Western transportation routes—like the Santa Fe, Oregon, Smoky Hill, and Cherokee Trails—were guarded by the Coloradans. Tragically, actions by Colorado soldiers, including the horrific Sand Creek Massacre, ignited decades of warfare with Native American tribes. This presentation features vintage images that chronicle Colorado’s Civil War soldiers, where they served, and who they fought.

a man wearing glasses

Colorado: The Highest State

Presenter: Dr. Tom Noel

Tom “Dr. Colorado” Noel’s new talk, “Colorado: The Highest State” is a lighthearted look at the ups and downs of our state, focusing on a few favorite characters, places and happenings.

a man wearing a suit and tie

A Tribute to Howard Lamar

Presenter: Dr. Jay Gitlin

Howard Lamar was a great historian, an amazing teacher and mentor, and a most wonderful human being. As a historian, he emphasized, on the one hand, the vastness of the West that encouraged big ideas. On the other hand, he reminded us that the West had to be read at the local level. And at that level, our histories must include the experiences and perspectives of all participants. Howard, long before diversity and inclusion became popular, insisted that we see the multicultural past and present of the West. We will look at Howard’s legacy—in the field of Western history and at Yale as well. And because Howard always told stories, I will tell a few of my favorites.  Especially relevant for being at The Fort: Howard’s book: The Trader on the American Frontier: Myth’s Victim.

Kit Carson – Mountain Man

Presenter: Dr. Paul Andrew Hutton

“Kit Carson and the Mountain Men” looks at the history of the Rocky Mountain fur trade and the role Kit Carson played in it. Carson is perhaps the best known of all the Mountain Men, but was he really a leader in the trade?

More Work Than Glory: Buffalo Soldiers in the United States Army, 1866-1916-An Overview

Presenter: Dr. John P. Langellier

Before the 1960s, the term “buffalo soldier” was an obscure one. Then, a trickle of titles became a torrent of books, articles, novels, monuments, and expanding numbers of historic sites along with museums, which changed the image. Even television and motion pictures occasionally took inspiration from these once relatively little-known Black U.S. Army troops, who eventually emerged as familiar figures and took their place in a mythic past.

Despite this significant shift, numerous efforts treating this aspect of the vital, complex story of the post-Civil War U.S. Army frequently repeated earlier studies rather than adding fresh perspectives. Also, the narrative typically ended with the so-called Indian Wars or Spanish American War. Many authors likewise focused on military operations rather than other relevant contributions and activities of these men who played a notable role in the nation’s complicated story during the half century after the American Civil War to WWI.

Historian and author will share highlights from his new book adding to the previously published body of work, explore new insights, and challenge some myths and misconceptions.

The Fall of Bent’s Fort – 175 Years Later

Presenter: Mr. Jake Koch

175 years ago, Bent’s Old Fort was on the verge of being abandoned. What caused that to occur? How did the heart of a business that previously had arguably the largest economic presence on the Southern Plains come to this? Over the course of this lecture, we will look into all of the events that resulted in the decline and dissolution of Bent, St. Vrain & Company, and the abandonment of Bent’s Old Fort in 1849.