Durango, Colorado

The interior of St. Columba’s
The interior of St. Columba’s

Heritage is a tricky thing to nail down. Sometimes it can be nearly intangible, yet we feel its presence when we make a critical decision, or spend time with family, or travel away from home. It stays with us. My family has a tangible representation of this heritage, however—though it isn’t a thing so much as it is a place: Durango, Colorado. My summer vacation belongs to this sleepy western town, and with it, the history of much of my family. One Catholic Church uses stained glass windows bearing the last names of the families who helped build it, including my own. The bank a couple blocks away bears the symbols of the peoples who constructed it: the English rose, Irish shamrock, and Scottish thistle. Like the stained glass, the shamrock captures my Irish heritage—my ancestors who arrived there in 1882, started families, worked, died, and left their mark upon Durango. The final representation of this is about an hour out of Durango itself (though I’ve always mentally associated the two) in Vallecito, where my family owns a cabin. Built by my paternal grandfather as he was working on the Vallecito dam, the cabin exists as a sort of home base for much of my family. It exists as a staple of my childhood as well my family history, and will forever be, to me, the best representation of my heritage and the family that came before me.

Place(s): Colorado
Year: 1882

– DC.

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more