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Big Year Colorado is a multi-faceted community history project using oral history, photography, and education. Read more

Lochbuie, CO Photography
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This project was successfully funded on January 8, 2014.

Big Year Colorado is a multi-faceted community history project using oral history, photography, and education.

Lochbuie, CO Photography
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About this project

Hello friends and history lovers!

My name is Jennifer Goodland. Two years ago I started Big Year Colorado as a love letter to the cultures and communities of Colorado. To date I have been to and photographed over 700 different cities, towns, and ghost towns in this state alone.

While photography is the most obvious product, I also have built the Big Year Colorado Collection: thousands of artifacts, interviews, memoirs, and other items recording the widest possible diversity of Colorado life, all of it slated to go to the Auraria Library Archives & Special Collections Department so that future generations and scholars may learn about vanishing cultures and towns. Many of these items are one-of-a-kind, gathered with the help of local contacts. Far more valuable is the intangible benefit: a project that fosters a sense of historical importance for each town and community without requiring a building or a large population.

In far too many cases, I have visited and photographed a town... and the next year, the next month, or the next week, the town has disappeared due to fire or flood. Towns also experience a different kind of death before my eyes: the children move out, the schools and museums consolidate or vanish, the cultural institutions leave for lack of funding or patrons or both. The one holdout still left on Main Street dies, and his house crumbles from lack of attention. This is the kind of history that vanishes all too rapidly, and it is not the kind of history that can find a dollar amount to match its significance. It is my mission to ensure that every town has someone with the ability to research, document, and most importantly, ensure that they will be remembered. Where I cannot train local historians, I try to fill that role as best I can.

It has been important for me to self-fund this project from the beginning, even as the expenses reach more than $30,000 every year. I travel in a small camper and truck that lets me stay anywhere. I spend months away from my family - and, let's face it, any hope of a real job - every single year. I have been surrounded by tornadoes and stared down the most concerning end of a rifle (to be fair, by a very nice gentleman who just says hello that way). But I also hear people aching to have their histories recorded by someone, anyone, so that the towns their ancestors built won't be just a dot on an old map nobody knows anything about.

Right now this project is in serious jeopardy. Sixteen months ago, my husband of 18 years, David, started acting impulsively and out-of-character. He progressed to double, and then triple, vision. Eventually he could no longer stand, walk, drive, or exist without excruciating pain. He was forced to take disability from his job, reducing his pay. He was bounced from one specialist to another while also needing round-the-clock care. Our savings and investments vanished.

Eventually Swedish Hospital in Englewood, Colorado, determined that he had a very rare condition known as a Spontaneous Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Syndrome. He had a large hole in the sheath that protects his spinal cord, and the fluid that cushions and pressurizes his brain as well as his spinal system leaked out throughout his body. His brain was sagging and resting on his spine.

Unfortunately the size and position of the hole left us with two possible specialists, none of whom worked in Colorado. We would have to drive to Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles where Dr. Wouter Schievink, director of Microvascular Neurosurgery, consented to operate. He found that the cause was a calcified disk from when David broke his back as a ten-year-old.

Awesome: David had the operation in late October. He is well on his way to a full, permanent recovery, and will return to work on December 9th. We are dealing well with lingering brain injury issues.

Not-so-Awesome: Between the reduced income, needing a caregiver, the expenses of three weeks on the road and staying close to Cedars-Sinai during hospitalization, and our prior financial commitments to Big Year, David and I are now at risk of losing everything we have worked to build: our house, the truck and camper I need for my work - and Big Year Colorado itself.

But you can help.

Risks and challenges

Your support, whether you decide to buy Big Year Colorado photos through Facebook or eBay, or support this Kickstarter, will mean that recovering from this crisis will take us months and not years.

I have built in a late delivery date for most reward levels to allow room for careful scheduling. I anticipate September as the latest date for delivery of all reward levels requiring travel or reshoots, March for anything requiring writing, research, and existing photography, and all prints will be sent out as soon as the project achieves full funding.

Should this project exceed funding, all money will be used to continue Big Year Colorado's mission.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    8 backers

    Get two beautiful Big Year Colorado letter-sized prints! Check the Big Year Colorado Facebook and choose your two favorites!

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    2 backers

    Two beautiful, breathtaking 13"x19" prints from any selection in the Big Year Colorado catalog!

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $125 or more

    0 backers

    You get a custom researched post on Big Year Colorado's Facebook about a Colorado town of your choosing, along with a 10-page expanded booklet and 5 4"x6" prints! Delivery by March if your town is one of the over 700 places in the catalog; otherwise, this can be produced by September at the latest.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    1 backer

    Do you have a favorite relative? Preserve his or her memories forever with an oral history interview! Whether over the phone or in person, I will provide a personalized two-hour recorded interview, written transcripts, and a five-page history excerpt expanding on your relative's place in history. This makes a priceless gift for any family!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    0 backers Limited (20 left of 20)

    Go on a day's shooting with Big Year Colorado to a location of your choice! (Within 2 hours of your pickup location works best.) This includes a photography tutorial with your camera or mine, and a complete set of up to 25 4x6 prints mailed to you within one week of your trip.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $300 or more

    1 backer

    Do you have a small town in your history? Big Year will produce a researched, well-written, 20-page history, with contemporary photos, of a Colorado town of your choosing. You will get 10 printed booklets, plus the digital file so you can print out more copies.

    But wait, there's more! You will get a personal dedication in the booklet, which will be included in the Big Year Colorado collection when it is transferred to the Auraria Library. Any future Big Year projects that reuse or reprint this research will include you in acknowledgements. Leave your own legacy and fund badly-needed local history with this level!

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    Ever wanted to write an autobiography, but don't know where to start? Let me share the prepwork! You get five hours or more of oral history work, written transcripts, coaching and recommendations for improving your oral history technique, research pointers and assistance, and a ten-page written booklet produced from the interviews. This also makes for a great gift in case you have an older relative who's been meaning to tell her life story...

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,500 or more

    1 backer Limited (7 left of 8)

    For one week, Big Year Colorado will come to a Colorado town of your choosing. Your community gets a dedicated week of research, photography, and oral history interviews, directed by you or your community organization! I will appear to give a talk, lecture, presentation, or other event. You also receive the $300 reward level AND a copy of all prints produced during the week's shooting!

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)