In honor of Longmont’s 150th birthday next year, Longmont Museum’s curator of history penned a book of the city’s history since its founding.
Erik Mason’s “Longmont: The First 150 Years” gives readers a glance at life as the city’s origin as the Chicago-Colorado Colony, and its evolution to the Longmont known today. Throughout his research process, Mason found parallels to present day and life lessons embedded in the story of Longmont.
“I think every community needs to understand its history,” Mason said. “So much of what we are experiencing today has reflections and roots in our community’s history.”
The book looks at how the city has evolved and the positive aspects of its history as well as the challenges faced. Adding to the story is the incorporation of nearly 300 photographs taken from the 1860s to the 2010s.
Inside the pages of the book, readers can also find a comprehensive look at the history of the St. Vrain Valley and the city’s growth into an agricultural hub, which included flour mills, a sugar factory and a vegetable factory, according to a museum news release. Fast forward a few years and people can delve into the city’s technological industry advances. .
Mason said what surprised him about his research of the city’s history was that Longmont experienced roughly five floods in 150 years.
“That really shows that we do live right in the middle of a flood plain,” Mason said.
Another interesting facet to his research, he said, was looking at how the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic compares to today. From October to December 1918, Longmont shut down, Mason said, with cases of the flu continuing into 1919.
“Things do come around again and a lot of the same issues were seen,” he said. “People resisted the shutdown orders in 1918, just like they have today and a lot of the same arguments back and forth.”
Mason spent about two years creating the book, but said the pages are a reflection of about 25 years worth of work with the Longmont Museum. It is his first published book. In addition to research, Mason’s job includes preserving the museum’s historic object and archival collections, numbering nearly 16,000 objects, according to the release.
The first copies of “Longmont: The First 150 Years” were shipped to Longmont on Monday. Kim Manajek, museum director, said the museum was “proud to be part of the publication.”
“As curator of history for the museum, Erik Mason is the best resource for a comprehensive approach to the city’s stories,” she wrote in a text message. “And what better way to commemorate this auspicious milestone!”
Reflecting on his work on the book, Mason said he hopes readers learn from it that history has an important relevance.
“I hope that they will take away from it that history is not something in the past that we don’t need to think about it anymore,” Mason said. “We have in our community, both solutions to struggles we have faced and also great stories and inspiration ideas that we can learn from.”
The book is available for $39.95 online at longmontmuseum.org or in the Museum’s Gift Shop at 400 Quail Road. The book can also be found at Barbed Wire Books, 504 Main St. Book proceeds will benefit the Longmont Museum. People can also check out the book to borrow at the Longmont Public Library.
“I’m delighted with how it looks and hopefully people will really enjoy it,” Mason said. “I want to express my appreciation to the museum for making it possible to write this book.”