Questers’ Summer Rose Tea returns!
by Emily Kemme
With a mission to “keep history alive by supporting preservation, restoration, and education,” the Marie Lafitte Chapter of Questers in Fort Collins will host its popular Summer Tea on June 29.
The tea will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, 301 E. Stuart Street, Fort Collins, from 10 AM to 2 PM. Peggy Williams, a Master Rosarian from the Denver Rose Society, will present a program about heirloom roses.
Proceeds from the tea are slated for restoration and preservation of an Arapaho painted buffalo hide women’s ceremonial robe. Joyce Hall, Colorado State President of Questers and a Marie Lafitte Chapter member, said the chapter was very fortunate to get the robe.
“It had been given to a Fort Collins woman by her father and was spread over a pingpong table. The Fort Collins library dated it to 1850-1875 from the Northern Arapaho Tribe.”
Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is providing funds to create a micro-climate display case for the artifact once the restoration is complete. The robe will be on permanent display. It is wrapped in plastic in frozen storage until funds are available to begin restoration. Hall hopes that process will start in September 2019.
The Summer Tea, which offers scones, savory sandwiches — chicken salad, roast beef, and a classic cucumber sandwich — will also feature two dessert tables. Gluten-free options are available with advance reservations. There will be a silent auction — look for old roses from local nurseries.
The Questers is an international organization formed in 1944 —Questers chapters meet monthly from September through May. There are 354 Colorado Questers members statewide.
The Marie Lafitte Chapter came up with the idea to host an annual fundraising tea in 2015 in response to the Colorado State Questers restoration project. That year, chapters focused on raising funds to restore a tapestry at the Boettcher Mansion in Denver.
Marie Lafitte’s teas typically raise $3,000 annually toward the designated state project. Hall estimates restoration costs for the Arapaho robe to be $5,000. This year, the State project requires a twenty percent match of $1,250 to receive a $2,500 state grant. The chapter plans to apply for an International grant for the 2020 year for the remaining restoration costs. The State organization awards grants in odd years; in even years grants are awarded from the International organization. International grants total $90,000 annually to Questers chapters.
The International Convention will be held in Colorado from April 30-May 3, 2020 at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield.
The Marie Lafitte Chapter is celebrating its 15th year. The chapter takes its name from a colorful Fort Collins businesswoman. Lafitte emigrated from France to Pueblo in the late 1890s, setting up a candy shop in Fort Collins on Linden Street. The local legend was known more for her upstairs business — distilling whiskey in a dry town and running a brothel.
“We call her an entrepreneur,” Hall said. “But she owed quite a few people in town money, and there was a lawyer from Pueblo — George Salisbury — who tracked her down in Fort Collins and beat her with his cane to collect debts.” Lafitte also owned property on Jefferson Street, but due to ongoing debt and many arrests for making moonshine, died a pauper in 1914, said chapter member Gail Worman.
Lafitte’s candy shop was most recently a coffee shop, Cafe Adour, 225 Linden Street.
To go: Call Joyce Hall, 970-484-8113 or Carol Hopkins, 970-492-5696
Cost: $30 for adults; $15 for young ladies 12 and under