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Local photographer works on historic photography exhibit to be part of Colorado Springs’ sesquicentennial

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Mike Pach has been drawing unemployment after losing much of photography business during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he had earlier volunteered for a big job that keeps him busy.

Pach is creating the Then & Now photo exhibit that will be part of the events during this year's 150th anniversary of the city's founding.

Pach chose 75 historic photos and will compare them to 75 photos he has snapped during the past two years to show how the city has changed.

As Pach wraps up his camera work, he spent Friday taking pictures at Rock Ledge Ranch to recreate a photo from the late 1800s.

He also scheduled a shoot on Walnut Street to show descendants of the Stroud family --- one of the city's first African-American families who arrived in the early 1900s.

The founding members were Kimball Stroud, the son of a slave, and his wife, LuLu; the couple eventually raised 11 children.

"They were a pioneering black family, but the main thing is that they achieved distinction in scholarship and science and education," said grandson Percy Pellerin, Jr.

"As black people at that time, they didn't have many opportunities," said granddaughter Juanita Stroud Martin. "But they didn't stop doing. That's what I love about them and that's an example that people can take from the Stroud story. If something is blocked, you just open another door."

The house serving as a backdrop for the Stroud session was owned by the Hagerman family, and was located a block north of the Stroud home. The families became friends, and the Hagerman home and estate were recently purchased and restored by a Stroud descendant.

Pach said he's not being paid for his work, but he has enjoyed the experience and the people he's met -- so much so that he's also writing a book about the upcoming exhibit, and is seeking donations to cover printing costs.

"The Strouds made a significant donation today to ensure that the book gets printed because they see the value of how it will help preserve their history and the city's history," he said.

If you'd like to help with getting the book printed, visit: http://kck.st/3dnV45A.

Then & Now opens July 8 at Library 21C, and later will later be on display at the Pioneers Museum.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

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