It never hurts to brush up on some regional history before the back to school season rolls around, and touring historical sites helps bring history to life. If you want to spend time touring some of Western Colorado’s most historic buildings and ancient sites, here are four of our favorite regional historical monuments.
339 South 1st Street
Grand Junction, CO 81501
Grand Junction’s historic Railroad Depot opened on September 18, the same day a tragic earthquake hit San Francisco. Due to the tragedy, the Depot’s first passengers were, “refugees fleeing the nearly destroyed city.” The building morphed into a refugee camp, with doctors attending to the injured, volunteers serving food, and clothing handouts.
At the time, the Depot was, “considered to be the finest depot of its size in the West.” When it opened, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported that it was, “…a credit to a city five times as large. The putting into service of this splendid railroad building marks an important era of local history.” Efforts to restore the historic building are underway, but you can still see the building’s facade.
See the Fremonts’ ancient carvings (petroglyphs) and pictographs (paintings) on the red rocks of Dinosaur National Monument. Colorado’s remnants of this ancient history are located at Pool Creek, approximately 37 miles from the Canyon Visitor Center along the Harpers Corner Scenic Drive.
If you want to plan a trip to Dinosaur National Monument, this resource has everything you need to know.
The entire downtown core of Silverton is a history lover’s dream. The town was once the site of several mining camps, and the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad connection from nearby Durango added to the area’s regional relevance.
By 1883, Silverton had 2,000 inhabitants and 400 buildings, which included 2 banks, 5 laundries, 29 saloons, hotels, and a, “bawdy red light district – Notorious Blair Street.” Visiting provides a true glimpse into life in the West during this period of U.S. history.
In the southwestern Colorado town of Creede, both the mining museum and City Hall are located underground. It’s a very fitting testament to the town’s rich mining history. The museum in particular offers an intriguing and insightful glimpse into this incredibly important part of Colorado’s history. Retired miners even lead the tours.
If you’d rather soak in your history above-ground, try the 17-mile Bachelor Loop. The road snakes up and around abandoned ghost towns (that were once larger than Creede), former mining sites, and some seriously stunning and jagged mountain terrain. When you begin the loop, take a moment to appreciate the engineering behind these historic mining monuments. Many sites are located up sheer cliff sides, and it’s amazing they were even built in the first place!