2017 Open House on May 13

The third annual Open House at the Salida Museum will be Saturday, May 13, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.  It will feature new exhibits (check out Elmo Bevington), our new LED lighting, and a special presentation on railroad history saluting the smelter smokestack, Chaffee County’s tallest landmark constructed 100 years ago.

At 1:00 pm, John McCarthy, local railroad historian, will discuss the smelter smokestack as one of the few remaining reminders of Salida’s industrial era, which included hundreds of mines and the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, which helped shape the County we see today. 

The Open House also features local author Dick Dixon who will be available to sign copies of his book, Smokestack: The Story of the Salida Smelter, and answer questions. 

Admission will be FREE all day! Hope to see you there.

Salida Historical Bike Tour

Salida Historical Town Tour with GARNA and Absolute Bikes Adventures

The Salida Museum is pleased to be a stop on the upcoming town tour, April 23 @ 1:00 pm3:00 pm.

On the Salida Town Tour, participants will ride bikes through the historic district and along the interpretive bike trail. The tour will include lively stories about the legends and history of the area. This ride follows the city streets and bike path and is great for individuals of all ages.  

For more information and to sign up, visit GARNA. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

We’ve Reopened!

We’re open again after the lighting installation and putting everything back together. Stop by and check out all the updated cabinet exhibits including military and Native American. And see what a difference these lights make! Saturday and Sunday afternoons, from 1-5:00 pm.

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 … Continue reading

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.

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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.

This challenge grant has ended. But if you still want to donate to the Museum, please visit our donation page for more information.