Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Kim Glasscock
Editorial@lhvc.com 

Niwot coloring pages

 

Photo courtesy of Niwot Historical Society

Lectures, artifact exhibits and publications are the usual methods used by historical societies to preserve the history and culture of a town. But in Niwot, the Niwot Historical Society has created an unusual publication – coloring pages drawn by area artists that feature Niwot landmarks.

The project was sparked last fall by a question to historical society board member Donlyn Arbuthnot from a local realtor. The realtor wanted to know if the historical society had a coloring book that she could use to occupy children while their parents were in her office.

“There was a lot of interest from the board and I had the time to move ahead with the project so we decided to move ahead,” Kathy Koehler said, who was a board member at the time and now serves as Niwot Historical Society president.

Koehler surveyed businesses in Niwot to determine what would be most useful to them. Some businesses wanted the pages to be structured like place mats, while others preferred a smaller size which would not use much space on a table or counter. The final design was a compromise, she said, with a sheet that opens up to place mat size or folds into a 7 by 8.5 inch booklet.

“We had a number of interested businesses,” she said. “It has been received very well.”

The historical society decided to start small, producing a double-sided coloring and activities page. It was released on April 1 at the First Friday Art Walk in Niwot and the open house at the Niwot Fire House Museum. Children had a “very popular” area at the museum to sit and color the pages, according to Koehler.

The society printed about 2,000 copies and distributed them in April to nearly all the businesses in town.

Local artists Ellen Haswell and Jane Langdon drew the designs on the first page, and the layout was done by graphic artist Gail Ludwig. The front features a drawing of Niwot’s Firehouse Museum building sketched by Langdon. Langdon was one of the volunteers who, in 1995, helped dismantle and move the 1910 Fire House that was gifted to the Niwot Historical Society. The tiny firehouse, now the museum, can be seen next to the Left Hand Valley Grange building at 195-A Second Avenue in Niwot.

“She just seemed like the right person to have sketch the Fire House Museum for the first coloring and activity pages,” Koehler said. The historical society also uses a drawing by Langdon on the cover of its walking tour brochure.

Open the page to its place mat size and the art includes a drawing of the current bandstand, depictions of all the flowers around Niwot, and seek-and-find objects. The page also includes historical information about the Niwot bandstand, bands and the Niwot Garden Club that is drawn from work by local historian Anne Dyni.

The place mat page was drawn by Haswell, who said she was inspired by the beautiful flowers in the business areas of the town in the spring, summer and fall. She worked with historical society board members to add the bandstand and scenery, along with the seek-and-find items. There’s also a word scramble based on the historical information.

“I’ve seen adults looking for those things too,” she added. “It’s been fun.”

Haswell’s art, which she says “hangs mostly in her children’s homes,” is also found around town. She drew portions of the underpass mural and helped lead the restoration of the mural when it was vandalized. In addition, Haswell has painted eight of the “Left Hand” chairs scattered through the Second Avenue business area and Cottonwood Square.

The coloring pages were an offbeat project that both Haswell and the historical society members enjoyed putting together. Koehler said the society hopes to produce more pages depicting Niwot scenes in the fall, winter and spring.

 

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