Colorado's Museums of the San Luis Valley and Southern Colorado

The has 23 museum members that include the six counties of the San Luis Valley (Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache, Alamosa, Costilla, and Conejos) as well as our neighbors in Hinsdale and Huerfano counties. The trail also includes a couple of “outdoor museums” through the La Vereda del Norte Chapter of the Old Spanish Trail and in the Denver and Rio Grande Engine No. 169 that sits

majestically by Cole Park in Alamosa. The trail is an actual trail of 3 scenic byways - the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway; the Silver Thread National Scenic and Historic Byway; and the Highway of Legends National Scenic and Historic Byway. The area also includes the Pike National Historic Trail , and two scenic railroads for you to enjoy - the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad and the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. We hope to you enjoy all the history, heritage, culture, and stunning scenery Southern Colorado has to offer.


Good Morning Sunshines..with well over 30 vendors this is going to be amazing!!.come out and get your Christmas shopping done..we will have music 🎶..prizes..Santa will be visiting and taking your Christmas lists..our very first annual Biscochito contest..don't miss it! 10-4PM December 10th...also admission to museum is FREE and the gift shop will be offering 10% off. Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center


Join us on Saturday & Sunday, October 22-23 for Local Appreciation Weekend!

Residents of the San Luis Valley & Huerfano county will enjoy FREE admission and 10% off Gift Shop purchases all weekend long!

This is the final weekend to view award-winning artist Gregg Deal's exhibit 'Merciless Indian Savages'. Also on display is 'Cruzando los Traques' about the 1914 Maestas school desegregation case, the Dia de los Mu***os Community Ofrenda, and more!

Museum hours are 9am-5pm.


SdCNHA’s Scary Stories, Folklores, and Legends, no. 7

-A Horse Named Snippy-

One of the biggest unsolved mysteries to ever take place in the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area is a true story that happened in Alamosa on September 7, 1967. On that day a three-year-old Appaloosa named Snippy did not return home to the fence behind a ranch owner, Harry King’s home for her usual water and treat. Two days later Mr. King went out looking for the horse, he sadly ended up finding her remains around a quarter mile away from the ranch house. What he saw next was bone chilling and unexplainable. According to Mr. King, Snippy’s neck and head had been completely stripped of their flesh, leaving nothing but bare bone visible. However, the rest of Snippy’s body had remained unscathed. No blood was found around the body, and the flesh had been removed with extreme precision. Around one hundred yards away from the body there were a series of six small, round indentions in the ground that had flattened shrubbery. There were other strange reports surrounding the body, such as reports of a “sickly-sweet smell” around the body, and the exposed bones appearing bright pink to one person. With these strange reports and the incident itself being unexplainable at the time, including rumors of unexplained lights in the sky of the area during that time, amateur mystery solvers began to attribute Snippy’s death to aliens. Such an event shocked the agricultural communities of the Valley, and many newspaper articles were published around this time period with different reports of what may have happened to Snippy. While today, we cannot be sure what happened to Snippy, UFO believers and enthusiasts alike are drawn to this local story that no one can seem to explain.

For more information visit:


SdCNHA’s Spooky Stories, Folklores, and Legends, no. 1

-The Story of La Llorona-

The story of La Llorona is one that has been told for generations in many Hispanic households, and very often from older generations to younger children so that they do not wander outdoors after dark or stay awake after lights out. The story is thought to have originated in New Spain during the sixteenth century, eventually being told into the Mexican period, and later the American period by generations of family story tellers. While the story has had many variations throughout centuries of southwestern and Mexican history, one version is as follows:

La Llorona, or “the weeping woman,” is a story about a woman named Maria, whose startling beauty captivated the residents of her humble Mexican village. Even though being born into a peasant family, her beauty attracted the admiration of both men rich and poor. In time, Maria captured the heart of a wealthy gentleman, and the two were wed and later welcomed two children. The family was happy for many years until the gentleman began to lose interest in his stunning bride, leaving her to raise their two young ones alone. One evening, Maria and her children were walking along the road which ran alongside the river when suddenly a carriage passed by the three. Maria caught sight of her husband, flanked on both sides by attractive young women. In a fit of jealous rage she grabbed both of her children, flung them into the river, and proceeded to drown them in the bleak, dark water. Upon her emotions subsiding, Maria came to terms with what she had done and succumbed to her grief, weeping and sobbing, her cries heard throughout the dark night. She would go on to spend the rest of her days wailing along the river’s edge in search of her two innocent children.

This story seems to be the one that sticks most with young Hispanic children, being that many adults tell it to them so that they will not go outside at night, stay away from the windows after dark, and do not stay up past their bedtimes, for if they do, La Llorona one night may mistake them for her own children, and take them away with her into the dark.

Art by Diana Bryer


The Valley's soil was exceedingly rich but totally worthless without water. This wide irrigation canal is being dug across the north end of what was then Costilla County.

Information from: "Colorado's San Luis Valley, a Pictorial History" Leland Feitz


In January of 1807, Zebulon Pike’s expedition arrived in the San Luis Valley. They were weary, hungry, and several were injured, so they used the last of their strength to construct a stockade of logs to provide shelter from the elements. But this crude little structure was only used for about a month before forces from Santa Fe arrived to arrest them.

Pike’s party had crossed into the territory of Santa Fe de Nuevo México, then a territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. To this day it is debated whether Pike was simply lost, or was scouting out Spanish settlement in the region to determine if the U.S. could one day annex the territory.

In 1952 Pike’s Stockade was reconstructed on the original site near the headwaters of Red River, and in 1961 it was declared a National Historic Landmark. The reconstruction is maintained by History Colorado and is open seasonally. This summer, it opens tomorrow (May 28th). If you’re in the valley, it’s definitely worth checking out!

Learn more:

Image: Pike's Stockade reconstruction in the summer. Photo by Eric Carpio.


‼️TODAY ‼️ Join for a wonderful day full of Embroidery knowledge & experience 🧵🪡

Many of you had wished for a Saturday class, so in honoring those needs Sandy Dolak will be offering a
Colcha Embroidery Class on Saturday June 11 th at the Francisco Fort Museum Capps Building (115 W.
Francisco) from 10-3. We will break from noon to 1 for lunch and/or enjoying a free tour of our
wonderful museum. In the morning, it will be mostly a repeat of our introduction to Colcha Embroidery
Class and beginning stitchery. In the afternoon, we will have show and tell and explore the many
options for your ongoing work. We will be joined by one of my favorite Colcheras from San Luis, Donna
Hernandez. She is inspirational! Contact Sandy Dolak at [email protected] or text 719-251-
1271. This is made possible through collaboration with Think Art 360, Huajatolla Heritage Foundation
and Francisco Fort Museum.


Memorial Day is Monday, May 30th! That means that THIS WEEKEND is Fort Garland’s Memorial Day Encampment! Join us for family fun this weekend to learn history of the Victorian time period and Fort Garland!

Buffalo Soldier living history presentation at Fort Garland, Courtesy History Colorado


“Black Sunday” swept through Baca County on April 14, 1935. This was one of the largest storms of the Dust Bowl, causing a seven-state blackout. History Colorado reports that this was the storm that coined the name “dust bowl,” which caused the most damage beginning in 1935. The Black Sunday storm had winds of up to 30 miles an hour, and reduced visibility to 60-300 feet. It was almost as dark as midnight for long stretches during the afternoon. This storm impacted the states of Kansa, Colorado, New Mexico, and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles. This event was categorized as “one of the worst ecological disasters in US history.”

"Black Sunday," Courtesy Colorado Virtual Library


Last week, Colorado celebrated the 58th anniversary of adopting our current state flag! The design of the flag is super specific to the things that Colorodians are proud of.

The blue in the flag is meant to represent Colorado’s expansive blue skies. The middle stripe is white, meant to represent the snowcapped Colorado Rockies. The “c” is the same color as the red in the United States flag, and takes up ⅔ of the length of the flag. This red also represents the color of the soil in many states. The golden circle inside the “c” is meant to represent the nearly 300 days of sunshine that Colorado experiences.

This flag design has actually been around since 1911, when Andrew Carlisle Carson created it. The Colorado General Assembly started using the flag on June 5th of 1911, but there were no specified measurements for the stripes or the size of the “c,” or the exact colors that are used. March 31st, 1964, was the date that both the colors and proportions were standardized, leaving us with the flag that we see today.

📸: Colorado State Capitol. Photo: Jimmy Emerson, DVM, Courtesy Uncover Colorado


Today is National Pi Day! The team at Fort Garland is celebrating by enjoying a variety of Amish fried pies, made locally in the San Luis Valley.

Amish fried pies, also known as Amish hand pies, are irrestible hand-held pies in a half-moon shape, that can be fried or baked and are drizzled with a sweet glaze. Flavors include cherry, apple, pecan, chocolate, peach, and more! They can be found at various coffee shops, gas stations, outdoor markets and Amish-owned businesses throughout the valley.

You might be interested to learn that the San Luis Valley is home to a thriving Amish community, which you can learn more about by watching this video by the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area...

Happy Pi Day!


The Buffalo Soldiers were (now well known) African American soldiers who served on the Western frontier after the Civil War. The six all-black cavalry and infantry regiments, made up of over 10,000 men, were created in 1866. Congress had just passed the Army Organization Act, allowing former slaves to serve during the Civil War. The soldiers received $13 a month as well as food, clothing, and shelter when involved in the army.

The Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center’s Exhibit Buffalo Soldiers West focuses on the opportunities that black soldiers found in the military, the controversies that surrounded these soldiers, and their careers. Throughout the month of February, this account will tell stories of different Buffalo Soldiers and historic black figures in CO history each week, and continue to educate readers about the lives of black Coloradans every month of the year.

📸: Buffalo Soldiers of Colorado and Beyond, Courtesy History Colorado


Did you know?....
Sustaining the Fort's Regiment required an incredible amount of supplies. Some estimated supplies for a year included 52 Tons of beef, 24 or more tons of bacon, one ton of ham, 86 tons of flour, 13 tons of sugar and cornmeal, 7 tons of coffee, 3 tons of hominy and rice, 1 1/2 tons of dried potatoes, a ton of dried vegetables, 2, 200 Gallons of sweet molasses, 1500 gallons of vinegar, 160 bushels of beans, and 100 pounds of salt. (Definitely the phrase "are you feeding an army?" comes to mind)
Brokers brought fresh stock, hay, and grain from the valley's Hispano Placitas. Those placitas included San Luis de la Culebra, San Acacio, as well as Guadalupe, San Jose, and San Rafael which were settlements along the Conejos River. Fort Garland created a local market for cattle, grain, flour, and produce, all raised in the San Luis Valley.
With the arrival of the railroad in 1877, the Fort became a point of procurement for product to be sent to Fort Union other places outside of the valley. Advertisements for bids to Santa Fe and Taos were sent in both Spanish and English. Quartermasters dealt with corn and wheat by the fanega, a spanish term of measure eqaul to 1 1/2 bushels.
Soon though, the contracts for corn, hay, wood, and charcoal the local Hispanos depended on, soon went to the new busnessmen, who flooded the valley after the end of the Civil War. Fueling the tensions of the local hispanos and the new settlers of the San Luis Valley.
(I told ya History is more interesting than you think!)
The photo taken July 4th 1929, by OT Davis at an early twentieth-century reenactment accurately captures a common scene of incoming supplies during the Fort's heyday.
Warmest Regards,


San Luis Southern Railroad
The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area was once home to the shortest standard gauge railroad in the world, the San Luis Southern. A group of Colorado Springs investors purchased a part of the original Sangre de Cristo Land Grant and their development company built a 31.38-mile standard gauge railroad from Blanca to connect the planned communities of Hamburg, Jaroso and the railroad headquarters town of San Acacio. The town plan for Hamburg was large, with street names in German, and was expecting an influx of German immigrants from Hamburg, Iowa. When that didn’t happen the town name and town plan was changed to Mesita. After 15 years, the settlements were unsuccessful and the railroad was purchased by a group of businessmen from Denver who changed the name to the San Luis Southern Railway, the name changed again in 1954 to the Southern San Luis Valley Railroad Company. One original engine is now housed in the Railroad Museum in Golden, Colo. By 1957 the miles of track had been abandoned. You can still see the San Acacio station in San Acacio on road 142 between San Luis and Manassa.


While sheep herding is believed to have come to Colorado with Spanish colonizer it didn't really take off until the 1870s and by 1886 there were an estimated 2 million sheep in the state.

Many of these sheep belonged to Hispanic ranchers who lived in the Borderlands of Southern Colorado.

Expansion of the sheep industry was met with resistance by Anglo cattlemen who competed for the same range lands and believed that sheep would over graze the grasses.

This conflict over grasslands resulted in splits of rancher organization as well as a series of Range Wars across the state.

In the San Luis Valley one particularly telling incident in 1902 involved the targeting of Teofilo Trujillo in Alamosa County by a local cattleman, George Dorris.

When Trujillo refused to remove his sheep from public lands, Dorris sent armed men who "proceeded to enforce their injunction by the shooting process,” resulting in more than 300 dead and dispersed sheep.

The Trujillo family attended the resulting trial and while away several buildings on their ranch were set ablaze and more of their herd was killed.

The charges against Dorris’ men were eventually dropped, which contributed to the reality that nothing was being done to protect Hispanic sheepherders from Anglo cattlemen.

From Pike National Historic Trail AssociationOne of our missions is to educate the public about Zebulon Montgomery Pike....

From Pike National Historic Trail Association

One of our missions is to educate the public about Zebulon Montgomery Pike. Soo...

We present a contest Contest Name- I Like Pike

Our Purpose- To encourage people to learn about General Zebulon Montgomery Pike, use our website and to research about Pike’s life.

CONTEST 1 of 5-

Where was Pike depicted in each of the paintings?

The deadline for entry- Mon Feb 28, 2022 9pm


Merry Christmas,

Pike National Historic Trail Association


Two exhibitions highlight stories of Indigenous bo***ge in southern Colorado, in an effort to grapple with the lasting trauma.


In the opinion of the Canyonlands chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen, the reason Moab was originally founded is because of a geographic oddity: the Moab fault, which created an accessible


610 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO

Opening Hours

Monday 10am - 3pm
Tuesday 10am - 3pm
Wednesday 10am - 3pm
Thursday 10am - 3pm
Friday 10am - 3pm
Saturday 10am - 3pm




Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Colorado's posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Colorado's




Museums of Southern Colorado

The San Luis Valley Museum Association ( has 23 museum members that include the six counties of the San Luis Valley (Mineral, Rio Grande, Saguache, Alamosa, Costilla, and Conejos) as well as our neighbors in Hinsdale and Huerfano counties. The Association also has a couple of non-traditional museum members through the La Vereda del Norte Chapter of the Old Spanish Trail that we call our “outdoor museum” and in the Denver and Rio Grande Engine No. 169 that sits majestically by Cole Park in Alamosa. The Association also supports, promotes and highlights our 3 scenic byways - the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic and Historic Byway, the Silver Thread Scenic and Historic Byway and the Highway of Legends Scenic and Historic Byway. The Valley also includes, as mentioned, the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, and the Pike National Historic Trail , and two scenic railroad for you to enjoy - the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad and the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. We hope to you enjoy all the history, heritage, culture, and stunning scenery Southern Colorado has to offer.

Other Alamosa museums

Show All


¡Obtenga un trabajo que cuente! ¡El estará contratando miles de personas en las siguientes semanas! Solicite ahora en el
Valley History of the uniqueness as seen by the Navajos .
Yup! Gotta like this content.
This museum is a jewel!