San Luis Valley Museum

San Luis Valley Museum Telling the tales of the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado.

Frank and Nina Born in their store in Hooper, Colorado in 1915.📷: via Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area

Frank and Nina Born in their store in Hooper, Colorado in 1915.

📷: via Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area

Frank and Nina Born in their store in Hooper, Colorado in 1915.

📷: via Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area


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These photos are of SLV artisans taken in the early 1990's by J.D. Marston.  Can anyone help us identify these great cra...

These photos are of SLV artisans taken in the early 1990's by J.D. Marston. Can anyone help us identify these great craftspeople? We know that 2 are of Eppie Archuleta. Please share with anyone who may be able to identify the photos.Thank You, Steve!

History Colorado
History Colorado

History Colorado

Our friends at the Denver Public Library published this album with photos of memorable protests from Colorado history. 📷

Francisco Fort Museum

Francisco Fort Museum

Cuchara was once known as “Cuchara Camps” as it was a tourist destination since the early 1900s, attracting visitors from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and beyond. In those days folks would come and rent a wall tent at “The Camps” and from there could go hiking, fishing, or just relax in the cool mountain air. A central lodge or lodge tent was where one could take meals, play games, and socialize with other campers.

Yes, not much has changed! ⛺️

Historical Photos of Women's Suffrage

Historical Photos of Women's Suffrage

Today in History: June 4, 1919, Congress passes the Nineteenth Amendment.

On June 4, 1919, Congress, by joint resolution, approved the woman’s suffrage amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. On May 21, the House of Representatives had voted 304-89 (a full 42 votes above the required two-thirds majority) and on June 4, the Senate 56-25 in favor of the amendment.

The amendment reads: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

But that didn’t mean the struggle was over. The 19th Amendment then had to be ratified by three-quarters of the states in order for it to be added to the Constitution. There was no guarantee that would happen, so suffrage leaders hit the road, visiting state legislators throughout the country. Although no time limit was put on the ratification, the suffragists’ goal was to complete the process over the next year, so that women could vote in the 1920 presidential election.

Alice Paul of the National Woman’s Party said, “Women who have taken part in the long struggle for freedom feel today the full relief of victory. Freedom has come not as a gift but as a triumph, and it is therefore a spiritual as well as a political freedom which women receive. There is no doubt of ratification by the States. We enter upon the campaign for special sessions of the legislatures to accomplish ratification before 1920 in the full assurance that we shall win.”

The first nine states ratified the amendment before the end of June. Another four ratified it in July. Although most of the southern states were against the amendment, each month thereafter, additional states ratified the Amendment until the 36th state, Tennessee, ratified it on August 18, 1920. On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was certified by U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby, and women finally achieved the long-sought right to vote.

Denise Hight
Fruita Historic Preservation Board
Historical Photos of Women’s Suffrage:

History Buff - Free Memberships for Fourth Grade Students | History Colorado
History Buff - Free Memberships for Fourth Grade Students | History Colorado

History Buff - Free Memberships for Fourth Grade Students | History Colorado

Roam free, history buffs! Beginning June 1, 2020, History Colorado will offer a free year-long membership to all fourth grade students in the state. Benefits will include admission to all eight of our museums for students and their families*, one free child ticket to the Georgetown Loop Railroad (wi...

Some photos of what we have improved during our closure.  Painted gates, painted floor, expanded gift shop. Zebulon Pike...

Some photos of what we have improved during our closure. Painted gates, painted floor, expanded gift shop. Zebulon Pike display, Native American artifact case, art gallery, and blooms in the garden courtyard.

Remembering The Old West

Remembering The Old West

On this day in history 1843. John C. Fremont begins his second expedition into western U.S.John C. Fremont again departs from St. Louis to explore the West, having only recently returned from his first western expedition.
The son of a French father and American mother, Fremont had an unstable and nomadic childhood, and money troubles often plagued his family. As a young man, he showed an aptitude for mathematics and surveying, and in 1838, he won a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers. In 1842, he received an assignment to make a survey of the Platte River, and set out with 24 companions, including the famous guide Kit Carson. During five months of travel, Fremont crossed the South Pass in central Wyoming and explored the Wind River Mountains.
Scarcely before he had time to recover from his first expedition, Fremont was preparing to depart on his second. On this day in 1843, Fremont left St. Louis on a much more ambitious journey to explore the Oregon country. In Colorado the party met up with Carson, who had again agreed to serve as a guide. On September 6, the Fremont caught site of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, “stretching in still and solitary grandeur far beyond the limits of our vision.” By early November, they arrived at Fort Vancouver, across the Columbia River from the present-day site of Portland.
Having surveyed the Oregon country, Fremont’s orders were to return east via the Oregon Trail. Fremont, however, apparently decided this would be an inadequately grand approach, and decided instead to head south and cross the Sierra Nevada in the middle of the winter. The journey was awful and nearly disastrous. Fremont and his men struggled with the deep snow and bitter cold; they often got lost and ate their horses to survive. Thanks to the skill of Carson and amazing good luck with the weather, the expedition eventually emerged from the mountains and limped into Sutter’s Fort on March 6, 1844. After resting for three weeks, they returned east by a route that took them through the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains of Utah.
With the help of his wife, Jessie, Fremont wrote a detailed account of his western adventures. The report made some notable errors. Fremont foolishly identified the country around the Great Salt Lake as fertile-a mistake that contributed to the Mormons decision to migrate to the area. However, Fremont’s account did provide the first comprehensive scientific survey of vast areas of the West.
Fremont went on to lead two other successful expeditions to the West. His reports of these and his earlier journeys made him a national hero and he later went into politics. He lived into his early 70s, but the four western journeys he made before he was 40 remained his greatest achievements.

Remembering The Old West

Remembering The Old West

May 27th, 1831 Comanche kill mountain man Jedediah Smith.

Jedediah Smith, one of the nation’s most important trapper-explorers, is killed by Comanche Indians on the Santa Fe Trail.
Smith’s role in opening up the Far West was not fully appreciated until modern scholars examined the records of his far-ranging journeys. As with all of the mountain men, Smith ventured west as a practical businessman working for eastern fur companies. His goal was to find new territories to trap beaver and otter and make trading contacts with Native Americans.

Nonetheless, beginning in 1822 when he made his first expedition with the fur trader William Ashley, Smith’s travels provided information on western geography and potential trails that were invaluable to later pioneers. Smith’s most important accomplishment was his rediscovery in 1824 of the South Pass, an easy route across the Rocky Mountains in modern-day western Wyoming. The first Anglo-Americans to cross the pass were fur traders returning east from a Pacific Coast trading post in 1812, yet the news of their discovery was never publicized. Smith, by contrast, established the South Pass as a well-known and heavily traveled route for fur trappers. A few decades later, it became a part of the Oregon Trail and greatly reduced the obstacles faced by wagon trains heading to Oregon and California.
During the next seven years, Smith filled in many other blank spots on the map of the Far West. Despite having opened many new territories for future pioneers, Smith had little to show for his years of dangerous efforts. In 1830, he returned to St. Louis, determined to go into the mercantile business and draft detailed maps of the country he had explored. Before he could get started, however, an associate convinced him to take a supply of goods to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

With a party of 83 men, Smith left St. Louis in early 1831 and headed south along the Cimarron River, a region known to be nearly devoid of potable water. Despite his years of wilderness experience, Smith was apparently overconfident in his ability to find water and did not take adequate supplies from St. Louis. By mid-May, the party’s water supplies were almost exhausted, and the men started separating each day to search for waterholes.
On May 27, 1831, Smith was riding alone when a hunting party of Comanche Indians attacked him. Dazed and weakened by lack of water, Smith nonetheless managed to shoot one of the Comanche before he was overwhelmed and killed.

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area

This week on #COVirturalHeritageJourney check out a video from Visit Alamosa Colorado.
Alamosa County is centered in the middle of the San Luis Valley, and offers unique outdoor recreation, majestic views, trail systems, steam engine train rides and quiet dark night skies in a quaint railroad and agricultural town .

Walk along the trail systems of the Alamosa Ranch or paddle board along the Rio Grande River. Explore one of three local breweries or ride on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Hike up and sandboard down the nation’s highest dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park and preserve or quietly view a variety of birds and wildlife at the Alamosa Wildlife Refuge or Blanca Wetlands. View Colorado Alligators or take a dip in a hot springs swimming pool. Dine at local family own businesses or take lunch on the road and play a round of Golf at Cattails Golf Course. Stroll around Alamosa’s downtown to experience its history and small-town charm. From red brick to pressed metal ornamentation, Alamosa is a study in the architectural trends that have passed through the nation since the 19th century. There are also 16 locations on the National and State Register of Historic Places. Fine tune your historical knowledge by visiting the San Luis Valley Museum and the Luther Bean Museum



'Garden of the Gods Double Rainbow captured yesterday.'
🌈 📸 Lars Leber‎ / Our Colorado | Through your photos

Territorial Daughters of Colorado

Territorial Daughters of Colorado

On this day in Colorado history (May 23, 1868) Kit Carson died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm at Fort Lyon, Colorado. Kit Carson had recently retired as commander of Fort Garland, Colorado, and had returned to his home at Boggsville, Colorado. Originally buried at Boggsville, his remains were later moved to Taos, New Mexico for burial. To learn more about It Carson’s storied life see the Colorado Virtual Library at:

Photo from the collections of History Colorado Center Object ID 91.429.451 CHS Scan #10037181

#ThisDayInHistory #ColoradoHistory #FortGarland #KitCarson #ThisDay

Francisco Fort Museum

Francisco Fort Museum

Postcard of the Spanish Peaks.

The 'Secret Jews' of San Luis Valley
The 'Secret Jews' of San Luis Valley

The 'Secret Jews' of San Luis Valley

In Colorado, the gene linked to a virulent form of breast cancer found mainly in Jewish women is discovered in Hispanic Catholics

Historical Photos of Women's Suffrage

Historical Photos of Women's Suffrage

The “Flying Squadron” of the “Suffrage Special” in Colorado Springs, 1916.

The “Suffrage Special” was a five-week train tour taken by a group of 23 suffrage leaders from the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, known as the “Flying Squadron,” in April 1916. The train left Washington DC on April 9, and traveled west to states where women already had the vote.

The mission of the tour, taken during a presidential election year, was to gain support for women’s suffrage at a national level. The Flying Squadron set out to recruit Western women voters to use their political power to campaign for a national suffrage amendment.

After a farewell luncheon, about 5000 supporters saw the train off while a band played “Onward Christian Soldiers.” The train reached Chicago the following day. Other stops included Kansas City, Topeka, Wichita, and other communities in Kansas. They then traveled to Denver, arriving there on April 15.

On April 17, the suffragists gathered outside the depot of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company in Colorado Springs, with a banner, “We Demand an Amendment to the United States Constitution.” The traveling suffragists held a mass meeting to drum up support for the cause, and local suffragists took them on a sightseeing tour of local attractions including Garden of the Gods.

After leaving Colorado Springs, the suffragists traveled to Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Utah. They arrived back in Washington DC on May 16, where they presented a petition, signed by many westerners, asking for a federal amendment giving all American women the vote. Although they weren’t immediately successful, eventually the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed by Congress in 1919 and ratified by three quarters of the states in 1920.

Photo Courtesy Library of Congress.

Denise Hight
Fruita Historic Preservation Board
Historical Photos of Women’s Suffrage:
Historical Photos of Fruita & Western Colorado:

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Great Sand Dunes to Begin Phased Reopening on June 3

[Mosca, CO] – Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve will increase recreational access
through a phased approach following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities. A phased approach
will allow the park to adhere to all guidance, reduce risks to visitors and staff, and promote safe
recreational opportunities. Great Sand Dunes continues to follow the State of Colorado “Safer at
Home” guidance and to work with county and local officials as these changes are implemented.
Great Sand Dunes is in Alamosa and Saguache counties.

This summer’s operation will look different. The park has implemented many strategies to
ensure that visitors can still enjoy the park while also minimizing potential risks.

Beginning June 3, Great Sand Dunes will implement Phase 1 and reopen access to:
• Main park road
• Dunes parking area and dune field
• Medano Pass Primitive Road (if road conditions allow), including established campsites
on a first-come, first-served basis
• All trails: Mosca Pass, Montville Nature, Sand Sheet Loop, Wellington Ditch, Dunes
Overlook, Sand Ramp, Medano Lake, and Music Pass
• All picnic areas: Mosca Creek, Sand Pit, and Castle Creek
• Entrance Station, including the collection of fees if authorized

With public health in mind, the following facilities or areas remain closed until further notice:
• Visitor Center
• South Ramada group picnic site in the Mosca Creek Picnic Area
• Pinon Flats Campground
• Overnight backcountry access in the National Park, including the dune field and sites
along the Sand Ramp Trail

While the visitor center remains closed, park rangers will provide information outside at the
visitor center.

Great Sand Dunes plans to reopen the Pinon Flats Campground and begin issuing backcountry
permits for both the Park and Preserve in mid-June as part of Phase 2; however, Phase 2 is
contingent upon successful implementation of Phase 1, sufficient staff capacity and supplies, and
current local and state guidance.

For the full press release, visit:

Photo: NPS/Patrick Myers
Star Dune and Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Fort Garland Museum

Fort Garland Museum

ON THIS DAY in 1913, the "Manassa Mauler" Jack Dempsey fought under that name for the first time!

His birth name was William H. Dempsey, and he had already been boxing for years in miners' saloons and amateur rings around Colorado and Utah. On May 13, 1913, his elder brother was lined up to fight George Copelin in Cripple Creek. But the younger Dempsey worried that his brother (then aged 40) was too old to fight such a dangerous opponent, and stepped in to fight for him under the false name "Jack Dempsey", so that the switch wasn't obvious to the audience or the fight promoter.

"Jack" Dempsey won that bout and went on to become one of the most storied and celebrated boxers in American history. He became known as the Manassa Mauler, bringing recognition to his San Luis Valley hometown, and through his personal charisma and growing fame he helped bring boxing into the mainstream.


401 Hunt Avenue/PO Box 1593
Alamosa, CO

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00
Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00


(719) 587-0667


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A new roof and steeple cross for St. John the Baptist Church in La Garita was celebrated on July 28. Read the story about the San Juan #Catholic Spiritual Center's historic preservation efforts for this historic structure located in the #SanLuisValley, over on the Saguache Today website:
It is time for the Annual Art Walk. For several years Laura Lunsford has been the artist here at the Museum with her soft dolls. At the beginning of the year, a fire burned Laura Lunsford's home to the ground and the Lunsfords lost everything from tables to spices. She lost all of her soft dolls, including all of her supplies. JUNE 3RD, 2017 FROM 10 AM TO 4 PM LAURA WILL BE AT THE MUSEUM! Bring the dolls you have purchased from her for a one day reunion. Also bring a surprise of pins, pieces of material, nuts and bolts for her "steam Punk Dolls" anything you have that you would like to give to Miss Laura to get her back to creating her wonderful dolls. REMEMBER, JUNE 3RD, 2017, 10 AM TO 4 PM AT THE MUSEUM! Bring your smiles, gifts and your dolls! WE WILL SEE YOU SATURDAY!