Closed for the next few weeks!

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.

John Skinner

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of former board member and fellow volunteer, John Skinner. What a wonderful man, who always had a story, a poem, or a joke to tell! He loved talking with visitors and most enjoyed talking about Sheriff Baxter Stingley.
He was always willing to help with anything that needed to be done, from painting the walls, moving exhibits, to raking the leaves out front. We will miss his smile, his laugh and great service to the Museum. Rest in peace, John.
For more, see

Pints for a Purpose

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!

2017 Second Grade Visit

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.

Porter Engine Gets a New Home

September 11 was a big morning for the Museum, with the move of the Porter Engine from the west side to the front of our building. We’re tickled to have it out front to showcase such a great piece of Salida History. This little guy (or “goat” as it was called) was used at the Koppers creosote plant located at the old smelter.

Check out the video if you want to see the whole process. Very impressive given the size of this engine!

Smokestack Celebration, August 26, 2017

Author and historian, Robert Autobee provided an entertaining and informative talk about the smokestack’s history. We have uploaded Robert’s talk (click the link) if you want to check some facts or were unable to attend. And we have a video available on Facebook.

We’d like to thank the Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board for engaging and supporting Mr. Autobee, along with Elevation Beer, for hosting our fundraiser following the talk.

A special thanks to the Columbine Gem and Mineral Society for bringing their informative displays about the minerals of Chaffee County. Thanks also to Settings Event Rental for the tents and chairs, Yummy Cake Creations and CP’s Portables.We’d also like to thank The Mountain Mail for their advertising support and pre- and post-coverage of the event. And last, to our Smokestack neighbor, Lex Johnson, who helped with cleanup preps.

A great day, and thanks to everyone who attended!

And you can see more photos in the smokestack photo gallery.                                                                           

Birthday CakeListening to the speech


Salida Smokestack Centennial Celebration

Ohio-Colorado Smelting and Refining Company Smokestack, 2002


You’re invited!

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.

Smelter smokestack video


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!



Memorial Day, May 30, 1904

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.

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.