As a granddaughter of Katie Sartore, I feel compelled to respond to the article about the Silverton cemetery and the murder of her fiancé, Peter Dalla, in 1904 (Herald, June 1). This enchanting romantic story remained a mystery that haunted the town of Silverton until I wrote my book, Salone Italiano, published in 2005 by Western Reflections. I can attest to the fact that the murder was not a simple case of “relationship drama,” as was expressed in the article.
For the family of Katie Sartore, this was not a storybound fictional event. The murder of Peter Dalla brought her great sorrow and created circumstances that clearly affected the future. Katie went on to marry John Baudino, and together they built a saloon and boarding house across from the train depot at 552 Main Avenue in Durango. When Prohibition closed all Colorado saloons in 1916, they owned and operated the Morning Star Coal Mine located six miles west of Durango.
I am thankful to the members of the San Juan County Historical Society for placing the headstone to mark the gravesite of Peter Dalla. I am also thankful to The Durango Herald and Silverton Standard for keeping the story alive. I know my grandmother would be happy that we honor and remember Peter. Because this tragic love story continues to captivate, it will live forever as part of Silverton’s history.
Westlake Village, Calif.