Twenty-one years ago, Charlotte Graham traveled over McClure Pass into the Crystal River Valley with her artist/musician husband Doug Whitney, who was invited to do a weekend art show. They haven’t left yet! Since that fateful 4th of July weekend in Marble, Charlotte found out she has a real fondness and heartfelt connection towards this valley’s history and its people.
She opened a coffeebar their first winter in Marble and between serving hot cocoa and fresh pastries by a local baker, she was reading all she could about the area and curious about that “special feeling” she had here. She began to seek out and write down stories she’d hear from some of the local elders at the time.
She became steward of a 21st Century grant for rural remote charter schools to integrate with the general community when hired by Marble Charter School in 2000. She established summer and after school classes and programs for both children and adults, and social interactions at the Millsite Park with nature hikes, movie nights and seasonally-themed dances and parties.
Charlotte has served on three local historical society boards and started two Marble newspapers, one of which was the seed that later became the now 15-year-old Crystal Valley Echo. And it turns out, the same newspaper in which Charlotte wrote the original history columns for several years that became chapters for Memoirs, Volume One!
Charlotte also helped initiate preservation efforts for two historic buildings that are now National Historic Sites: the Marble City State Bank building in Marble and the Holland-Thompson House in Carbondale.
She created a Ute-educational program with Northern Ute spiritual elder Clifford Duncan called “Brothers of the Bear…Colorado’s First People” for more than 1200 elementary school children from Meeker, Rifle, Carbondale, Basalt, Aspen, Marble and Gunnison, with adult programs afterwards.
In 2010, Charlotte received on behalf of Marble $25,000 from the Laura Jane Musser Fund, a private philanthropist grant with which to create, design, organize and market a rural community economic development project and community center called The Marble Hub at the aforementioned Marble City State Bank building. She is happy to see that it is now in its 8th year.