In 1953, the Koppers Company of Pittsburgh donated a Porter Engine to the Salida Museum following the closure of its railroad tie-treating, creosote plant in Smeltertown near Salida. Built in 1926, the engine moved trams loaded with railroad ties to and from the treating shed. It is a two-foot gauge engine, with saddle tank and 0-4-0 wheel arrangement. This “dinky” was also known as the “Yard Goat” by local workers.
According to records, only 130 of the 24-inch gauge tank engines were made by Porter, compared to a larger number of 36-inch models, a fact, which if true, makes the Salida Museum’s engine quite rare. (From The Porter Locomotive, in Steam Locomotive—April, 1960—Starrucca Valley Publications William S. Young, Editor & Publisher.)
This summer we will be doing preservation work on the engine (primarily painting and replacing some missing parts) to preserve it on static display for future generations because of its historical significance to the area. If you’d like to help out, please visit our donation page.
Great turn out for the Open House! Over 150 people stopped by to say hello, hear Melanie’s talk and check out the new exhibits. If you didn’t get a chance to attend, we’re now open daily from 11-5:00, so stop by!
Our annual Open House will be Saturday, May 12 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.
At 1:00, Melanie Roth, president of Historic St. Elmo & Chalk Creek Canyon, will be our featured speaker, talking about the St. Elmo mining district and some of the preservation work they have been doing. St. Elmo and the mines were such an important component in Chaffee County and Salida’s economy. Along with the talk, you’ll have a chance to look through our new explorer, mining and railroad exhibits, and other updates throughout the museum.
From noon to 3:00, Wallace Ewing and James Barnett will be signing their new book, Focus on Salida. This pocket-sized guide combines photography and narrative to help you find more information about the fascinating architecture and history around Salida.
As usual, the Open House is free! And we’ll have cookies for the kids (and adults, too).
The Salida Museum is the Moonlight Monday non-profit on May 7, so we will benefit from their generous donation of 10% of sales.
Get a pizza, get a calzone, enjoy a brew, buy extras to freeze, but make sure you get to Moonlight Pizza to help our cause.
This year’s project is painting the Porter Engine, so help us get ‘er done!
We are sad to report that the Museum has lost another long-time volunteer. Judy Micklich passed away on March 16. Judy started volunteering at the Museum in the late 1960s, working for our founder, Harriet Alexander and served as president from 1975 – 2014. Through Judy’s tireless dedication to the Museum and preservation of area history, Salidans and history buffs from all over can still explore the museum and learn about the area’s long and colorful history. As Earle Kittleman, our Board Secretary wrote, “She personified the importance of hometown preservation.”
This photo shows Judy at the Smokestack in 2004 with the 2nd grade class for their local history module. Judy and her historical knowledge of Salida will be greatly missed.
Woohoo! We’re reopening this coming weekend and back to our regular Winter hours of Saturday and Sunday from 1-5:00 pm. This week we’re busy putting the final touches on the exhibit changes, dusting and cleaning, but we’ll be ready if you want to come by to see the changes. Hope to see you soon!
Happy New Year!
And that means some new exhibits are being developed at the Museum. So, just a heads up that we will be closed for the next few weeks in order to do some major exhibit moves, painting and patching. We will announce our reopening once all the work is done and we’ve had a chance to tidy up the place.
50 Burger is donating 30% of their beer sales on Thursday, November 9 to the Museum. Funds will be used to help refurbish the Porter Engine, which just moved to the front of the Museum.
50 Burger is located at 445 E. Hwy 50. Hope to see you there!
We get many visitors from all over the world, but few are as fun as when the local second grade classes from Longfellow Elementary visit on Halloween. We tell a few stories about local history, and continue to be amazed at how sharp these kids are, through their questions and answers. Here are a few photos from October 31.