SILVIA PETTEM
THE BOOK LODE, LLC

Historical Research & Writing

ARTICLES

I have been writing for the Boulder Daily Camera since 1977, starting with historical features, as well as a food column. From 1984 to 1988, I wrote historical features for the Longmont Times-Call. From 1996-1998, I wrote a history column for the Boulder Planet. During this time, I also contributed to the Coloradan (the University of Colorado's alumni magazine) and have freelanced for a number of national and international publications from the California Mining Journal and Evidence Technology Magazine to the British magazine Cornish World.

In 1998, I returned to the Camera as history columnist. Compilations of some of my history columns are in my books Only in Boulder: The County’s Colorful Characters and Boulder: A Sense of Time and Place Revisited (see Books page). I still write a history column for the Camera, sharing the position with long-time friend and colleague Carol Taylor.

Below are links to a couple of my recent history columns.

Excavation digs up mysteries: Daguerreotype of unidentified young man found in old well

Camera, May 7, 2017

Drivers on Broadway in Boulder, between Pine Street and Mapleton Avenue, can't miss the new construction in progress in the former parking lot of Trinity Lutheran Church. Eventually, a new church community center, with offices and permanently affordable senior housing, will be on the site…

Tyberg's most prized discovery of all, however, was a daguerreotype. Remarkably, the pre-1860 photographic one-of- a-kind image, on a silver-plated sheet of copper, still (after more than 150 years) clearly shows the head and shoulders of an unidentified young man.… Read more

Excavation

Mary Ellen Goree, photographed in 1992, is the CMF’s longest-serving musician.

Girora Bernstein set tone for Colorado Music Festival’s musicians

Camera, June 4, 2017

This summer, the Colorado Music Festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary. According to longtime Boulder resident Christopher Brauchli, the idea for the festival evolved in the mid-1970s over many evenings of meals, music and wine, when he and Giora Bernstein came up with the idea of starting a professional orchestra in Boulder. Bernstein at the time was a professor at the University of Colorado College of Music. The festival's first concerts were held in the summer of 1977. Said Brauchli, "A big part of the CMF's early success can be attributed to Bernstein hiring wonderfully talented youngsters whom he could afford."

One of those musicians was Mary Ellen Goree who joined in 1987. After 30 consecutive years, she is the festival's longest-serving musician. In addition to jump-starting the CMF, Bernstein's direction benefitted the musicians, as well… Read more

Colorado Music Festival

Rex Lee Douglas was a pastor in Lyons, Colorado.

Rex Lee Douglas –– Missing since 1984

Camera, August 16, 2017

On a Sunday morning in February 1984, a police officer attended the Old Stone Congregational Church in Lyons, in northern Boulder County, where he told the worshippers that their 61-year-old minister, the Rev. Rex Lee Douglas, had not returned as expected from a business trip to Missouri.

"We told them that we were doing everything we possibly could," the officer explained to a newspaper reporter. "They just sat there. Some started crying.” After 33 years, Douglas' whereabouts are still unknown, and his missing person's case is filled with unanswered questions.… Read more

Rex Lee Douglas –– missing

A century ago, oil industry excited the locals

Camera, July 2, 2017
In 1901, Isaac Canfield drilled for oil on the McKenzie farm near today's Boulder airport. Many years later, in 2002, the city of Boulder landmarked the site. The pump jack and tank (from a later date) are still in place in the median of Colo. 119 (the Diagonal) near its intersection with Independence Road.

Until the recent upturn in activity in Boulder County's oil and natural gas production, most residents didn't give the industry a second thought. But, the situation was different in 1902. Canfield had hit "black gold," and the locals could hardly contain their excitement. …. Read more

Oil Industry




Edward Baker’s grave has finally has been recognized, as documented in the Buffalo Soldier story. Below, in the first row, are a few photos from October 11, 2016 when members of the Buffalo Soldier Organization assisted Jack Box in setting the stone.

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

RESEARCH SPECIALTIES:
Long-term missing persons
Unidentified remains
Cold case homicides
Boulder County, Colorado, history