Tuesday, June 14, 2011


On June 2nd, the Telluride Historical Museum greeted the summer with our new exhibit "Layin' Down the Law: Telluride Lawmen, Outlaws, and Crimes." With three years in the making, there was much to celebrate. Artist Rick Unger and musical performer Fred Hargrove worked in collaboration to honor an admired and well remembered sheriff from Telluride's history, San Miguel County Sheriff Guy Warrick. Mr. Unger unveiled his colorful portrait of "Sheriff Guy Warrick, Somewhere in Telluride Time, " for the first time to a host of guests and museum staff. Fred Hargrove wrote "The Ballad of Guy Warrick," which also made it's debut at the exhibit opening. The event packed evening continued on with a Squidshow Theater giving it's captivated audience a show stopping performance of “Cops, Crimes, and Criminals.” Everyone is still talking about it.

The exhibit not only focused on Telluride lawmen and notorious outlaws, but also their outrageous crimes that often gained national attention. The infamous Butch Cassidy pulled his first bank robbery in Telluride, but he wasn’t the only one who looted the banks. Charles D. Waggoner, Bank of Telluride President in 1929, swindled $500,000.00 from the big New York banks to pay off BOT debts in a time of economic downturn. Accounts of his “Robin Hood” crime could be found on front page newspapers throughout the nation.

However, the newspapers withheld all the juicy details that citizens of the time were craving. Debuting on the newsstands in 1924, non-fiction true crime magazines became a popular alternative to newspapers. These magazines gave detailed retellings of murders, swindles and mysterious cases that the papers would not reveal. 

Many early issues of crime magazines are now rare and difficult to find. However, with diligent research we were able to locate and bring into our collection four true crime magazines, all of which highlight some of Telluride’s most notable crimes. Seeing all the museum supporters greatly enjoy the entertainment and new exhibit is delightful, but the excitement of acquiring new artifacts to our collections is, well… exciting! They were a rare find indeed! 

The April 1931 issue of True Detective Magazine features the gripping story of how C.D. Waggoner deceived Wall Street. It is now on display in the "Layin' Down the Law" exhibit with the three additional true crime magazines we recently acquired.

Until next time, blaze a trail... just don't shoot anybody.

Telluride Historical Museum
Exhibits Manager

Listen to the Ballad of Guy Warrick
Written and performed by Fred Hargrove

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