On August 26, the Salida Museum will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the smelter smokestack. It remains one of the most visible symbols of Salida’s colorful history. Join us for talks under the big tent about the 365-foot smokestack’s history. Author and historian Robert Autobee will deliver the keynote address: “Standing for Salida—The Salida Smokestack’s First Hundred Years.” We’ll have drone demonstrations by the Salida High School UAS Club, mineral displays by the Columbine Gem and Mineral Society and Museum mining artifact displays. And like any good celebration, we’ll be cutting the cake, so plan to join us at the Smokestack on the 26th!
To get to the smokestack – from Hwy 291 one mile north of Salida, turn left on to CR 151. Travel 3/10 of a mile turn right on CR 152.
Following the Smokestack Centennial Celebration, we’d like to invite you to Elevation Beer from 1-3:00, to sample a special brew in honor of the day and raise a pint for a good cause – the Museum! We’ll be randomly asking trivia questions about area history for a chance to win prizes, including some awesome museum swag. And a food truck will be just outside if you need something to go with that beer. Come out and support the Museum!
Supported by the Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board and Elevation Beer Company.
Ever wondered what it looked like from the top of the Salida smokestack?
Check out the new smokestack video, courtesy of the Salida High School UAS/Drone class students of 2016/2017. It’s a birds eye view of the smokestack, including a look down the inside from the top.
We asked the class to be a part of our Centennial Smokestack Celebration on August 26, so they created this video, and plan to fly their drone on the 26th. Stay tuned for more details about our celebration!
Did you know there used to be a suspension footbridge across the Arkansas River? It was used mostly railroad workers to get from town to the rail yards more quickly.
On Memorial Day, May 30, 1904, as many as 12 women and children were standing on the bridge, throwing flowers into the river to commemorate those who served in the Civil and Spanish-American War. Sadly, the bridge collapsed, throwing all into the fast moving spring run-off. At least six died and their bodies never were found.
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 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 pm – 3:00 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.