Review by Abby Quillen
Salida History – October 2005 – Colorado Central Magazine
Remembering Salida: Stories from Salida’s Oral History Project
Produced in 2005 by the Salida Regional Library,
Historic Salida, Inc., and the City of Salida
IT’S HARD FOR MANY Salidans to imagine a time when passenger trains rumbled in and out of town each day, not to mention a time before most people had cars, television, or radio. Most of us never saw the fish pond that sat on F Street where the senior center is today. We never mailed our letters down at the train depot in boxes marked “East” and “West.” And we have a hard time believing there were lettuce farms across from the baseball park that supplied head-lettuce for consumers as far away as New York.
Fortunately, many old-timers do remember that Salida, and some of them have recorded their stories for the Salida Regional Library’s two-year-old Oral History Project. In honor of Salida’s 125th anniversary, the Salida Regional Library, Historic Salida, Inc., and the City of Salida have released a CD of excerpts from 15 of the 55 oral history interviews that are currently housed in the library’s Local History Archive.
The CD offers no introduction or background; it just jumps right in with the clear voice of Salida native Ted Argys talking about hiking in the hills with his friends as a kid and learning how to swim in the Arkansas River behind the hospital. According to Argys, the discards from surgery used to go into the sewer and right into the river. “A lot of times, someone would dive in there, and they’d come up with an arm or something.”
In many ways, Argys’s interview is indicative of what the rest of the CD is like. It’s fun and entertaining, and depending on how old you are, it might feel like you’re sitting down with a parent or a grandparent. In other words, you’ll hear a lot about how kids today are always getting in trouble compared to the old days. You’ll also learn a little bit about the first FIBArk, old-timey rodeos, the inside of the long-gone Valley View School, the birth of the town’s bowling alley, the history of the Salida Hospital, and the creation of Holman Avenue.
Often the interviewees don’t remember dates or details, and it’s probably safe to presume that some stories have been exaggerated and changed over the years. But, an oral history isn’t the definitive story of a place’s past; it’s the story of how a place is actually remembered by its residents. And for anyone interested in Salida, this collection of memories is priceless.
Remembering Salida is definitely worth the $10 it’s being sold for, especially since the proceeds go back into the Oral History Project. This CD would make a great gift for your favorite Salida local, and it’s the perfect introduction to the wealth of information collected in the Local History Archive at the Salida Regional Library. The complete interviews are available to listen to at the library, and transcripts for nine of the 15 complete interviews are available at
If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself surfing through them after you listen to the colorful stories on this CD.