How the Museum Started
In 1953, Harriet Alexander ran for the Salida City Council, and she was elected – the first woman to serve on council. She served from 1953 to 1963. During her tenure, she became chairman of the committee to establish a museum. With the help of Byrd Fuqua, they opened the museum in the front part of the Salida Hot Springs Building in 1954 and included items from Harriet’s personal collection, Byrd’s artifact collection and loans and donations from the public.
Harriet accomplished many things in her life. When her father died, and instead of going to college, she took over her father’s work: City Treasurer, treasurer of the Fire Department and bookkeeping for the family grocery business, while she was still in her teens. In 1905, her family became concerned that she had taken on too much, and sent her to Salida to rest. After “puttering around” for a few months, Harriet applied for a job at Alexander’s Pharmacy and Jewelry Store. Two years later, she and William Alexander married. Harriet later joked, “Mine is a typical success story. I married the boss.”
Harriet and William ran Alexander’s Pharmacy and Jewelry Store for many years. She was named one of three Colorado Women of Achievement in 1966. In 1968, she donated a ground-to-air communications system to the airport. In 1971, she was recognized by the Red Cross for 50 years of service and in July, she was feted by the city for paying off the debt on the terminal at the airfield. Harriet died a few days later, on August 3, 1971 of a stroke, having left a large impact on the history of Salida. But, she had one last good cause outlined in her will. She bequeathed $10,000 to build a permanent home for the museum, which was completed by the City with additional funds from the Colorado Centennial-Bicentennial Commission, Chaffee County and public subscriptions. That building, at 406 1/2 W. Highway 50, still houses the museum today.
The Salida Museum preserves, safeguards and displays significant artifacts of the region so our community and visitors will better understand and appreciate the area’s rich history through exhibits, story telling and research services.
Our Mission is carried out through our stewardship of the museum and area heritage sites including the Maysville School and Salida Smelter Smokestack.
Salida Museum Association Board
Susan Jesuroga, President
Bob Campbell, Vice President
Larry Kovacic, Treasurer
Earle Kittleman, Secretary