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Cover image of Lost Highways: Dispatches from the Shadows of the Rocky Mountains

Lost Highways: Dispatches from the Shadows of the Rocky Mountains

Lost Highways from History Colorado explores stories about Colorado and the American West--overlooked stories about how we got to now and how our region has shaped the world. Hosts Noel Black and Tyler Hill take listeners well beyond the “mountains and marijuana” stereotypes to uncover stories about their home state they can’t believe they never heard. Lost Highways is presented by the Sturm Family Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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The Dearest Field

In the aftermath of the American Civil War, all-Black settlements sprang up throughout the West as formerly enslaved people and their descendants sought to build a better life. In this episode, Noel and Tyler look back at one of those communities in Colorado.

56mins

30 Oct 2019

Rank #1

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The Passion of Alan Berg

Noel and Tyler spin the dial on the talk radio time machine to meet Alan Berg, the loud-mouthed Denver media personality who helped pioneer the “outrage for profit”  business model that drives political media today. Berg was on his way to stardom until his assassination by neo-Nazis in 1984.

49mins

16 Oct 2019

Rank #2

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Snake, Rattle, and Roll

Musician Neyla Pekarek (formerly of the Lumineers), helps tell the legend of Rattlesnake Kate, an early 20th century Western icon who refused to play by the rules. After surviving a rattlesnake attack, Kate earned herself a place in the pantheon of American tall tales.  History Colorado wants to hear from you about how COVID-19 is changing your daily life. More information at https://www.historycolorado.org/covid-19

53mins

28 Apr 2020

Rank #3

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"Maybe They Should Call it the Kansas Flu"

Colorado had both the highest AND lowest death rates in the country when it came to Spanish Flu in 1918. What can Coloradans today learn from that? John Allnutt's memories about the 1918 flu can be heard in their entirety on COauthored, History Colorado's podcast featuring some of the most compelling oral histories from our collection. History Colorado wants to hear from you about how COVID-19 is changing your daily life. More information at https://www.historycolorado.org/covid-19

30mins

14 Apr 2020

Rank #4

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Ride or Die

On July 5th, 1978, nineteen disability rights activists blocked multiple buses at one of Denver's busiest intersections, causing a 24-hour traffic jam. Their actions would revolutionize the way we think about accessibility. _________________________________________________________________ History Colorado wants to hear from you about how COVID-19 is changing your daily life. More information at https://www.historycolorado.org/covid-19

52mins

31 Mar 2020

Rank #5

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Bonus Ep: Game Changers

One hundred years ago, a pitcher with a nasty curveball and a mind for business named Rube Foster formed "the Negro Leagues." In a story that in many ways mirrors American history from Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans in baseball shaped the game and American society beyond the ballfield. It’s a story that runs, surprisingly, straight through Denver and an event that called itself “The Little World Series of the West.”

22mins

25 Feb 2020

Rank #6

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Mascots, Mask Off

There are still more than a thousand public high schools across the country that use stereotypes and caricatures of American Indians as their mascots, and Colorado is no exception. We still have more than 30 of them.  On this episode of Lost Highways, we look at the history of American Indian mascots and the different ways that tribes, teams, governments, and communities have grappled with the controversy. 

58mins

27 Nov 2019

Rank #7

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Rock Around the Bloc

Born and raised in Wheatridge, Colorado, Dean Reed moved to Hollywood at the age of 19 in an attempt to become a star. He was groomed to be a teen pop idol by Capitol Records before becoming a socialist during a tour of South America in the 1960s. He eventually settled in East Germany, where, despite remaining unknown in the United States, he became one of the socialist world's biggest stars. In this episode, Noel and Tyler dig into Reed's archives at History Colorado as they reconsider the legacy of the Red Elvis.

56mins

13 Nov 2019

Rank #8

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Bonsai Behind Barbed Wire

Tyler and Noel set out to investigate an alleged feud between two bickering bonsai clubs. But their quest leads them instead to Amache, a WWII prison camp for people of Japanese ancestry in southeast Colorado.

54mins

2 Oct 2019

Rank #9

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Six Gay Weddings and a Horse

In 1975, a newly-elected Boulder County Clerk named Clela Rorex had just settled into her job when two men walked into the courthouse and asked for a marriage license. Her decision would reverberate across four decades of LGBTQ history, and ultimately help redefine marriage as we know it.

49mins

18 Sep 2019

Rank #10