Don Allan: A Volunteer With a Purpose
Don Allan and the Historical Society of Idaho Springs were totally dependent on each other in recording history and providing many services to the public because they worked hand in hand.
Don came to the Historical Society over 20 years ago, looking for an opportunity to volunteer with a purpose. He brought with him a life history of serving a variety of communities – the US Navy, Colorado Mountain College, the Henderson Mine, and local high school sports teams, coaching baseball and basketball, to name a few. His expertise in public speaking was a huge asset to the Historical Society, but his interest in the vintage photo collection piqued his dedication to the mission of the Historical Society of Idaho Springs. He began working with Alan Cole, reviewing Alan’s expertise in photo restoration and the organization of the hundreds of photos in the inventory. Don was particularly adept at restoring old photos with the use of computer programs. As the programs advanced, Don was quick to gain new knowledge. Don also had years of experience as a photographer that he shared. He used his talent in seeing various angles and shades of light and dark. Don had a calling in viewing the big picture, not just the day-to-day operation. He would leave the photo lab occasionally for a half hour or several hours to take photos in order to record the town’s history for future generations to enjoy. Sometimes it may have been a particular incident such as a fire or taking pictures of all the buildings in town “to create a record of how Idaho Springs was that year”. Don valued the work of fellow photographers, knowing the names of every professional photographer in Idaho Springs’ history as well as a few in Central City and understanding the style of each. When Don was working in the building, he was always available to lend a helping hand in setting up exhibits. His height was appreciated on many occasions!
Don was a great asset to Idaho Springs and the Historical Society. His knowledge and skill contributed greatly to the organization and to the record of history for future generations.
Don sat down with Laurie Beckel recently for an interview. Check it out here!