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.

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.