The Lights are Going In!


The new lights are going in this week! After all the fundraising, planning and boxing up artifacts, things are hopping. Ben Sineath from Sineath Electric is zipping right through the retrofit and comes with an awesome playlist! But then, of course, when he’s all done, we have to put everything back together.

Needless to say, we’ll be closed this weekend as we recover from the happy chaos. Please check here, our Facebook page or call ahead in the coming weeks to see when we’ll be back open for our normal weekend hours.

Christmas, 1806


Did you know that on Christmas Day, 1806, Zebulon Pike’s party camped near Salida?

In May of 1806, Zebulon Pike had been given orders for his second expedition to explore the westernmost borders of the Louisiana Purchase including the unknown upper reaches of the Arkansas River. From there he was to head to the Red River to determine the southwestern perimeter of Louisiana.

By December they had found a branch of the South Platte River in South Park. Turning southwest, they discovered a passage at Trout Creek pass and followed it down to the mouth of the canyon near today’s Johnson Village. Heading south, they set up camp at Squaw Creek, north of Poncha Springs. Exploring the extent of the Arkansas, scouting parties returned to the camp after battling snow, and facing scarce game and starvation. On Christmas Eve, the group managed to kill eight buffalo.

Pike wrote, “Dec. 25th. It being stormy weather and having meat to dry, I concluded to lie by this day. Here I must take the liberty of observing that, in this situation, the hardships and privations we underwent were on this day brought more fully to our mind, having been accustomed to some degree of relaxation, and extra enjoyments. But here, 800 miles from the frontiers of our country, in the most inclement season of the year – not one person clothed for the winter – many without blankets, having been obliged to cut them up for socks, etc., and now lying down at night on the snow or wet ground, one side burning whilst the other was pierced with the cold wind – such was in part the situation of the party, whilst some were endeavoring to make a miserable substitute of raw buffalo hide for shoes, etc. … We spent the day as agreeably as could be expected from men in our situation.”

On December 26, they broke camp and arrived at the junction of the Arkansas and South Arkansas Rivers near Salida. A modern day marker of the Christmas campsite can be found off Highway 285 just north of Poncha Springs.

Wishing you all a much more cozy Christmas, filled with warmth, good food, family and friends.

December 1892 Roundhouse Fire


At 8:45 am December 11, 1892, a watchman walking through the roundhouse discovered flames shooting up from Engine 174. He blew the whistle of Engine 529 and all hands scrambled to fight the fire. Within 2 minutes the flames had ignited the tar paper roof and the smoke was so bad that the men had to retreat. They turned their attention to getting the engines out. They were able to save 20 engines, quite a feat given the need to move the turntable for each one. This photo shows the final damage.


Come on by the Museum this weekend to hear more stories, or maybe pick up a 2017 calendar as a last minute gift for the history buff in your life. We’ll be open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday (December 17-18) from 1-5:00. We will be closed Christmas and New Year’s weekends to allow our valued volunteers to enjoy time with family and friends.

Halloween and the 2nd graders

Every Halloween, Salida Museum volunteers host the 2nd grade classes to learn more about Salida and it’s history. We’re always impressed by how smart these kids are – I mean, would you have answered that boiling water produces “water vapor” when you were in the 2nd grade?!? Anyway, here are two photos from their visit.

20161031-classvisit-3            20161031-classvisit-10

You never know who will visit…

clayjenkinsonClay Jenkinson visited the Salida Museum October 15 during his visit to Salida to perform his historic interpretation of Teddy Roosevelt for a fundraiser for Browns Canyon. Jenkinson, a scholar, writer, and creator of the Thomas Jefferson Hour, enjoyed our Teddy Roosevelt display.

Teddy Roosevelt visited Salida in 1905 while changing trains and gave a speech to 800 schoolchildren and several thousand citizens who had assembled at the depot. The Scenic Line Band played patriotic music while waiting for his train to appear, and Mayor Wenz greeted Roosevelt and extended a “hearty welcome” on behalf of all the citizens of Salida. After a short speech, Roosevelt ended by saying, “I wish I could stay with you a week.”

Thank you for your support!

Great success in our fundraiser to match the $2500 Lighting Fund Challenge Grant from High Country Bank. We raised $2771 by the end of June. Many thanks to all of you who donated and help us meet the match. We are currently getting bids for the lighting replacement and plan to do the work this winter. Please do watch for announcements about museum closures while this important work happens.

Thanks again!!!

Double Your Donation Today!

Hard to believe, but 2016 is the 40th year of museum operations in the current building! Built by the City with help from funds donated by Harriet Alexander, our founder, and a state grant from the 1976 Centennial Commission, it was constructed with salvaged brick from an old bottling plant near the Monarch Spur Trail and 1st Street. With it’s age, comes challenges, including fluorescent lights, which are taking a toll on our artifacts.

We have a generous Challenge Grant of $2,500 from High Country Bank to replace our lights with artifact-friendly LED lights. Double your donation for any amount up to $100. To find out more and to donate…

2016 Open House

Signature quilt

One of two museum signature quilts

You are invited to our 2016 Open House on May 14. Admission is free!

We have greats speakers and activities for both kids and adults.

If you are a quilting fan, you will definitely want to come see our antique quilt collection and hear from local Candy Droz, a nationally accredited quilting judge, about quilt design and construction. We will be displaying several of the museum’s antique quilts, including the signature quilt in the photo.

Candy’s talks will be at 11:00 am and 11:30 am. Doors will open at 10:45 so you can grab a seat for her talk.

All day long, you will have the opportunity to help the museum and the Hutchinson Homestead Ranch create a signature quilt representing a snapshot of people living in 2016 Salida. This activity is for both kids and adults – just add your name on a quilt block, and you’ll learn how to do a quick outline stitch to finish the block for the quilt. When all the signature blocks are completed, volunteers will be piecing the blocks into a new heritage quilt that will be displayed in the museum.

At 2:00 pm, Wayne Iverson will be talking about Chipeta, the wife of Chief Ouray of the Utes. He will also talk about his efforts to move the name Chipeta Mountain to the highest point on the mountain.

And of course, you can just come grab a cookie and check out the new displays created for the 2016 summer season.

Special thanks to our sponsor, the Salida Sunrise Rotary.

We hope to see you there!



Vandalism. It seems to be a common theme at remote historic sites these days, and we are no exception. Since last fall we have been fighting a losing battle with vandals at the Smokestack, including tagging on the brick and damage to the adjacent building. In March, they succeeded in pulling down a long run of chain link fence. 

We’re asking the community to keep an eye out at the smokestack and report any unusual activity to the Sheriff. Read on for photos and more information…

From Depot Sam

Howdy Folks, Depot Sam here. The good people at the SalidaMuseum have decided to let me stop by from time to time and tell you a little about Salida and the surrounding area. We’ll see what we can dig up about the Arkansas Valley and some of the mountain mining towns, people and stories. So, check out some of my stories for some fun facts. Oh, and be sure to visit the museum every chance you can and make sure you join the association, heck, it’s only ten dollars a year.