Special Event 2019

West of the Imagination: Time Travel to 1869 with Explorer John Wesley Powell

Mon Jun 17, 2019
6:00 AM - 7:00 PM
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Journey back in time 150 years ago to August 1869 with the Vail Symposium for an evening of exploration as humanities scholar and historical reenactor Clay S. Jenkinson portrays, in character and costume, the war hero, explorer, scientist and visionary John Wesley Powell.

Famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers that included the first passage through the Grand Canyon (which Powell named), Powell and nine men left Green River, Wyoming in four wooden boats and began their historic journey. The one-armed Civil War veteran climbed cliffs, took scientific measurements and made maps. His expeditions filled in one of the last remaining blank spots on the map of the United States and he is responsible for the geological surveying techniques we use today.

Jenkinson will perform in the true interactive Chautauqua format, opening with a monologue in character then opening the floor to questions from the audience. Finally, Jenkinson will come out of character to take questions as the scholar, Clay Jenkinson.

Enhancing this extraordinary evening is its location at the most distinctive and appropriate venue in the Vail Valley: SaddleRidge restaurant in Beaver Creek. SaddleRidge is currently one of the largest, private collections of American Western artifacts and art in the United States outside of a museum. Guests will have the opportunity to peruse the collection, which includes items like a hat and canteen that belonged to General Custer, Buffalo Bill’s desk and a bear that was the largest bear killed in Eagle County up until 1989.

Guests will be able to peruse the SaddleRidge artifacts while sipping on complimentary beer and wine and enjoying heavy hors d’oeuvres before the program begins. Coffee and dessert will be served after the presentation. 

Click here for a description of the SaddleRidge collection

This program is generously underwritten by Suzie Hill & Eric Noreen

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Clay Jenkinson

Clay Jenkinson


Dakota Sky Education, Inc.