A spy plane made an emergency landing in Cortez in 1959. Now you can color it

Courtesy of Jessica Lykins and City of Cortez

A coloring book might not be the first place you’d turn for a history lesson.

And yet history – along with a deep sense of place – are precisely what’s inside a new coloring book dedicated to Cortez in southwestern Colorado.

The town of 9,000 people is the gateway to Mesa Verde National Park and teems with Indigenous culture.

Twenty-nine locals, including children, provided illustrations.

One in particular depicts the U-2 weather reconnaissance plane that was forced to glide into the Cortez Municipal Airport on Aug. 4, 1959.

Like many, artist Jessica Lykins placed Ute Mountain in the background of her drawing. Lykins is a graduate of the nearby Dolores School District.

What else can I draw?

The new coloring book, which has backing from the rural-minded LOR Foundation, also celebrates long-standing businesses in The Four Corners, like the Burger Boy Drive-In and The Fiesta Theater. Both transport doodlers to another time.

Indigenous life and people are celebrated in illustrations of the Cortez Cultural Center and Cliff Palace.

There is even a drawing of a Spanish-style stucco funeral home on Market Street, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 70-page coloring book can be downloaded for free or purchased for $5 at the Montezuma Heritage Museum and Cortez Cultural Center.

Courtesy of Cynthia Switzer and City of Cortez
Courtesy of Abby J. Fox and City of Cortez
Courtesy of Blake Pirslin, Ashley Nolan and City of Cortez
Courtesy of Aida McDowell and City of Cortez