Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Moonshine Murder Takes a Field Trip

A local homeschool group studied Moonshine Murder using the free teaching guide accompanying the novel. Their end-of-unit reward and last day of school celebration was a Moonshine Murder Field Trip. I was blessed to be able to lead the group, and would like to share some of our adventures with you.

We had a packed agenda, starting at 9am in Silverton, Colorado. Each student was given an agenda with questions to answer throughout the day.

Our first stop of the day was the Old Hundred Gold Mine tour where we rode in ore carts deep into the same mine the main character, Lenora explored in the novel.

We then panned for gold before heading to the base of the mine--where the old mill was located--to enjoy a sack lunch.

This is a view of the Old Hundred boarding house located 2,000 feet above the mill and main mine entrance.

The next stop on the tour was the Grand Imperial Hotel located downtown Silverton. The photograph above is a view of a hidden tunnel leading from the Grand Imperial Hotel to Blaire Street, several blocks east. Men would walk through the tunnel to Blaire Street where brothels were legal. It was also used as a place to smuggle moonshine during Prohibition. We were very lucky to see this tunnel. They don't give tours and they don't advertise that it exists. We all smiled very nicely to receive this honor!

Here is a picture of the two homeschool gals, Kaleena and Alexx, wearing flapper dresses they made in home economics class (how cool is that)!

After our private tour to the hidden tunnel, the group made their way over the mountains back to Durango where we met at the swinging bridge. Yes, the same swinging bridge mentioned in the novel. Here the students answered their questions and received their awards.

Kaleena and Alexx each earned a signed copy of Sirens, another 1920's YA Fiction, written by Janet Fox. They were thrilled!

The last stop of the day was at the mural of Jack Dempsey boxing at the Gem Theatre. Alexx, pictured here, chose boxing as her research topic, and was extra excited to see this amazing painting.

The Moonshine Murder Field Trip was a wonderful experience. This group was amazing and what fantastic homeschool parents, Gayle Early and Melissa Hackett, for going above and beyond in educating these young students. I hope to lead many more trips in the future, so parents, teachers, and grandparents, plan your trip soon!


  1. That is really neat!! How fun for the kids and educational too. As you know I have Moonshine Murder. It's now at the top of my "to read" stack.

  2. Thanks, Eunice. They are a great group of kids, and I had a blast!

  3. A wonderful trip for the kids and you. You've widened their horizons and brought history alive. Good for you, Erin.