You have been asked to schedule a presentation for your group or you need a local guide for your motor coach tour of Rocky Mountain National Park?
You have come to the right place!
I partner with you to offer your group historical programs at your location or I will be your Step-On tour guide. You and your group will be entertained while discovering the ordinary people from the past who lived extraordinary lives. I'm easy to reach through the contact tab. Let's work together to meet your schedule.
Dave Lively is a dynamic speaker who specializes in shining light on hidden narratives. He creates programs about local history for groups large and small. His stories of remarkable characters from the past bring deeper understanding and appreciation for where we are today.
He is a well-known local historian, and appears in “The Living Dream: 100 Years of Rocky Mountain National Park” a documentary appearing on PBS stations nationwide. He conducts historic seminars and tours for Rocky Mountain National Park, Rocky Mountain Conservancy, Trail River Ranch education center and History Colorado.
He is Past President of Grand Lake Area Historical Society, Past Vice Chair and West Slope Representative of Colorado Preservation, Inc., and Past Chairman of the Grand County Historic Preservation Board.
Dave is a Certified Interpretive Guide and a Certified Tour Guide.
“It’s about the people.”
Subscribe to Dave Lively's YouTube channel to stay informed of new programs and excerpts from presentations.
Background & Affiliations:
Ice saws may have been used in the Grand Lake area as early as the mid 1880’s when the founder of Grand Lake Village, James Cairns, had a small icehouse near his first home. Rob Harbison with his father, Andrew, cut blocks of ice sometimes measuring 2 feet x 2 feet from the winter waters of Grand Lake as early as the winter of 1898-1899. They built an icehouse at the Harbison Dairy Ranch to store the ice and sell with their milk deliveries the following summers. The ice was covered with up to 18 inches of sawdust to insulate if from melting over the summer. Often Rob Harbison would deliver ice into September.
The ice saw is just over 7 feet long and weighs about 14 pounds. Unlike most “2 man” wood saws the blade tapers from 7 inches across to 4 inches across. The “set” of the teeth differs from a wood saw in that the teeth do not have to have a wide separation of angle to cut and clean the debris from the teeth.
In 1911 GE introduced a household refrigeration unit that was powered by gas. In 1927 GE released the Monitor Top, the first electric refrigerator.
A Railroad lantern with red lens usually hung on rear of the caboose to indicate the train was stopping or already stopped. Andrew Harbison was an Engineer on the Pennsylvania Railroad before joining the Union Army in 1864 during the Civil War. This kerosene lantern is a Harbison family heirloom. The lantern signifies my desire to shine light on hidden narratives.
Andrew Harbison kept this diary between January 1 and October 2, 1893. Nothing was written until he began again January 16, 1897. It was kept intermittently through April 22, 1900. He wrote primarily in the evenings and rarely in the busy summer time.
Sunday January 16 1897 “I arrived at Grand Lake July 15th 1896. Annie and Katie (daughter Kittie sometimes written as Katie) arrived here Sep 11th Mary and Robert arrived Nov 1st Since coming here we have done considerable work on the girls homesteads. Built a cabin and moved into it on January 8th 1897. The first snow fell the 28th of October and we have snow frequently since. The snow at present is about twenty inches deep. We have all had good health since coming here. The winter so far has been moderate. Harry’s lake closed about November 10th.”
This 5-gallon milk can was used at the Harbison Dairy Ranch in Grand Lake by Rob Harbison to deliver milk to homes and hotels. After delivering to his customers in town, he would load two of these cans in a boat and row ¾ miles across Grand Lake to deliver to homes on the south shore. Milk would be poured from this into a smaller container to be sold for 10 cents per quart. After you purchased 10 quarts the 11th quart was free. These cans were stored in the Harbison ditch to keep the milk cool until delivered.
What people are saying about Dave...
“This was the best historic tour I have ever attended. RMNP is lucky to have Dave Lively as a volunteer, and we hope the program continues for many years.”
– T. Pickett, Texas
“A true lover of Rocky and the many wonderful stories of the park and it’s people!”
– Mary Taylor Young, author,
“Rocky Mountain National Park-The First 100 Years”
“Dave Lively’s presentation “People of the Kawuneeche Valley” is superb. Probably no one knows more or tells the story of the valley so well. Dave’s own family has deep roots in that gorgeous mountain valley on the headwaters of the Colorado River, known by the Arapaho as Kawuneeche or Coyote Creek. Dave provides a unique mix of family history, hos own scholarship and his experience leading tours of that fabled valley noted for its dude ranches, spectacular scenery, trout fishing and moose galore.”
- Tom “Dr. Colorado” Noel,
Professor of History and Director of Public History,
Preservation and Colorado Studies at University of Colorado Denver.
"An engaging and informative storyteller, Mr. Lively shared a great deal of intriguing information about the Native Americans and early settlers in the valley.”
- Christopher R.
Overland Park, Kansas
"The Denver Westerners express appreciation to Dave Lively for an important contribution to western history."
“Dave Lively knows his stuff. He's a consummate storyteller who has done deep and admirable research to bring tangible life to true stories surrounding Colorado landscapes that we all love. His words and images create enlightening history lessons, engaging stories and a memorable experience.”
- Jennie Lay
Bud Werner Memorial Library
“The wonderful stories you tell give all of us so much appreciation for this wonderful valley in which we live.
Thank you ever so much, Dave.”
- Donna L.
Very Interesting – very fluid – very knowledgeable
Dave is a good, enthusiastic speaker & spoke w/o notes. He’s very entertaining and he has wonderful photos which he showed on the large screen.
Wonderful presentation! Great story, great photos, great history. You have inspired me to work more on our family history.
Wonderful, informative and entertaining presentation. Thank you!
Dave’s passionate presentation had me sitting on the edge of my seat! He brought Colorado history to life.
The program given last night by Dave Lively on the Harbison family was excellent! We thoroughly enjoyed it.
Ken and Carol S.
I just want to comment on how much I enjoyed your Sisters of Courage program again yesterday. Your delivery was spot on and really stayed with me – even when I already knew the story!
…we immensely enjoyed your lecture. It was absolutely delightful, thorough and informative. I enjoyed the story so much and want to share it with others.
Dave Lively gives the best rendition of any I have heard in any of the National Parks. Thank You.
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