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Alamosa County celebrates 100 years

Posted: Thursday, Mar 14th, 2013


Longtime resident Ralph Outcalt, seated, was on hand Wednesday to celebrate Alamosa County’s centennial alongside Commissioners Marianne Dunne, left, Darius Allen, center, and Michael Yohn, right. Outcalt was born in 1913, the same year that the county took shape. Courier photo by Rudy Herndon


ALAMOSA — Happy Birthday, Alamosa County!

On March 8, the county turned 100 years old, and to celebrate the occasion, commissioners began planning this week for a day of fun on the Fourth of July.

In one of their biggest coups of the day, the board nabbed eclectic Los Angeles band Ozomatli to headline a Fourth of July concert at Cole Park. The self-described culture mashers, who play a blend of hip hop, salsa, funk and other styles, will be joined by Indian Nickel, the San Luis Valley Big Band, the Haunted Windchimes and the Rifters.

Commissioners are not asking taxpayers to foot the bill for the festivities. Instead, they’re tapping into the county’s solar projects fund.

“We’re excited about what’s coming up for Alamosa County,” Commission Chair Darius Allen said Wednesday.

“We have a lot of wonderful things planned,” Commissioner Marianne Dunne added.

No offense to the City and County of Broomfield, but Allen and other locals consider Alamosa County to be the youngest in the state.

It was carved out of the old northwestern corner of Costilla County on March 8, 1913. Today, it covers nearly 725 square miles of territory that includes some of Colorado’s most spectacular sights. It’s also an integral part of the region’s economy and culture.

Many of those sights are on display courtesy of the San Luis Valley Quilt Guild, which designed a massive coverlet to celebrate the county’s centennial.

One of the county’s most prominent citizens has been around throughout its official history, and he was there yesterday as Alamosa County Attorney Jason Kelly read a proclamation celebrating the historic date.

Susan Foster shared longtime resident, business owner and centenarian Ralph Outcalt’s memories of a long life that was marked early on by tragedy, but later defined by success.

His father died during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, and their mother supported the children by running a boarding house. Outcalt himself worked during the day at a bakery to help the family get by.

During World War II, he spent three years in Italy as the head engineer of his section. Eventually, he owned and operated Sorum Tractor Co., and he later went on to become a successful banker.

Alamosa Mayor Kathy Rogers said it was an honor to celebrate the day alongside Outcalt.

“We appreciate all that you’ve given to this community,” she said.












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