Rio Grande County Museum

Rio Grande County Museum The Rio Grande County Museum and Cultural Center is located in Del Norte, Colorado, It is where the stories of Rio Grande County's past are told.
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Rio Grande County Museum and Cultural Center presents the historical stories of all of Rio Grande County. The exhibits show life as it was in the early period of history including Native American, Hispanic, Eastern American and European settlers who came to farm and ranch, mine and build towns and establish home and schools. Art shows and concerts provide an added cultural aspect to the museum through the summer and winter season. The Museum also serves as the information center for Rio Grande County in Del Norte. The quiet and relatively uncomplicated lifestyle of the San Luis Valley, Rio Grande County and Del Norte is part of the charm of this part of southern Colorado. Experience the best of "Rio Grande Country" in Del Norte, Colorado. For more information please visit the website of riograndecounty.org. If lodging information is needed rgclodging. com will give the information needed.

According to History Colorado, this is national beer can day.  We have no beer cans to show, but we do have pictures of ...
01/24/2020

According to History Colorado, this is national beer can day. We have no beer cans to show, but we do have pictures of the Bingel Brewery that was one of Del Norte's early businesses that started in the 1870s. We have many friends of the museum who are part of this family.

This winter scene shows the Sangre de Cristo range and is taken from the southern part of the San Luis Valley.  The phot...
01/09/2020

This winter scene shows the Sangre de Cristo range and is taken from the southern part of the San Luis Valley. The photo is one of the Ruth Marie Colville photos as she was working on the de Vargas expedition into the San Luis Valley in 1694.

Homelake thanks volunteers for Wreaths Across America
12/26/2019
Homelake thanks volunteers for Wreaths Across America

Homelake thanks volunteers for Wreaths Across America

he Colorado Veterans Community Living Center at Homelake is privileged to take this time to thank the many people and organizations that volunteered and donated to make Wreaths Across America, held at the Homelake Veterans Cemetery on Dec. 14, 2019, such a beautiful day.

Martha Kennedy will be doing a book reading on December 7 in honor of Pearl Harbor day.  She has stories from Chinese Ve...
11/29/2019

Martha Kennedy will be doing a book reading on December 7 in honor of Pearl Harbor day. She has stories from Chinese Veterans from World War II who worked with the American forces. The program starts at 2:00 p.m.

Small Business Saturday is November 30.  It is a good time to support the small local businesses of the San Luis Valley....
11/23/2019

Small Business Saturday is November 30. It is a good time to support the small local businesses of the San Luis Valley. Rio Grande County Museum is showing the work of several local artists and the Museum Gift Shop has many wonderful items for the holiday gift giving season. We will be open on Saturday and the admission fee is waived on Fridays and Saturdays through December 21.

Three wonderful photos of Native People in the Museum archives.  Unfortunately, we have no identification with these pho...
11/19/2019

Three wonderful photos of Native People in the Museum archives. Unfortunately, we have no identification with these photo. They were apparently taken by the same photographer as the back drops are all the same. If anyone happens to recognize them, please contact the museum.

Native People/American month should honor and remember the first to live in the area.

Wreathes Across America taking orders
11/12/2019
Wreathes Across America taking orders

Wreathes Across America taking orders

If you are interested in purchasing a wreath contact Pam Self at 825-8216. The cost is $15.00 per wreath with all orders and donation payment needed by Nov. 29, 2019.

Rio Grande County salutes the World War I, World War II, Korean, Viet Nam, Desert Storm veterans and the servicemen and ...
11/10/2019

Rio Grande County salutes the World War I, World War II, Korean, Viet Nam, Desert Storm veterans and the servicemen and women still serving to protect our country and our way of life. We want to say thank you for your service. We also want to say thank you to their families who also gives to keep the country free.

Colorado Women's Vote Centennial
11/02/2019

Colorado Women's Vote Centennial

#OnThisDay in 1920, it was Election Day in the United States! Why was this so important? Well, it was the very first election after the ratification of the 19th Amendment! Ninety-nine years ago TODAY was the first time that gender was not a barrier for voting in the United States.

One of the woman granted the right to vote for the first time that year was Charlotte Woodward Pierce, aged 91 at the time. She was the LAST surviving attendant of the Seneca Falls Convention, the world's first women's rights convention which had been held more than seventy years previously!

At the time she was the youngest attendant (only 18 years old!), and as a result she was the only signatory of the Declaration of Sentiments that lived long enough to see suffrage in the United States.

Unfortunately, by 1920, Charlotte was very old and nearly blind. She was unable to read the ballot, and did not vote that year- or ever. She passed away less than a year later.

This year, Election Day is November 5th- next Tuesday. Make sure you exercise your right to vote, a right that millions of people like Charlotte Woodward fought so hard for!

History Colorado
10/24/2019

History Colorado

In 1859, Colorado did not exist. But people living in the place we now call home took an important first step towards statehood on October 24, 1858. Voters in Denver and gold-mining areas in the mountains created a new government, called Jefferson Territory on that day. Why?

Simple. They needed a functioning government. In 1859, the place we know as Colorado lay at the center of a confusing patchwork of territories, far from established towns and courts. Denver and much of the Front Range was in Kansas or Nebraska Territories. The San Luis Valley and Southern Colorado were in New Mexico Territory. The Western Slope was in Utah Territory. But people living here still needed laws to settle disputes and protect property. Town charters, miner’s courts, and other early forms of government helped, but their scope was limited. The answer, early residents thought, was to become a territory.

Jefferson Territory had one major problem: it was illegal. Only Congress or the President could create a new territory. Nevertheless, the residents of Jefferson Territory plunged forward. They wrote a constitution, set up a legislature, and passed laws without Washington’s approval. Jefferson Territory didn’t last long. Sixteen months later, in February 1861, a wartime Congress created Colorado Territory. Still, Coloradans had to wait 15 years – until August 1876 – to become a state.

How about some more skiing.  The students at the Summitville  school in the 1930s had their own version of a ski ramp, s...
10/18/2019

How about some more skiing. The students at the Summitville school in the 1930s had their own version of a ski ramp, skiing off the roof of the school!! This photo is courtesy of Bob Myers and he was one of the students doing the skiing.

Very interesting reading!!
10/16/2019
Where is the Oldest Town in Colorado? | History Colorado

Very interesting reading!!

The question has been asked many times: What is the oldest town in Colorado? But history never has a nice, simple answer. Things are always much more complicated than they seem, and usually trying to find an answer just brings up more questions. But that’s fine! That’s part of what history is al...

Rio Grande County
10/11/2019

Rio Grande County

MUSEUM NEWSLETTER
October 7th, 2019

Friendly reminder of upcoming event” Holiday at
the Museum” November 16 through December 21, 2019. Some of the artists are listed here with more to come. Craig Lehmann studied Biology & Archeology, and sculpture at Adams State University, He also manages Lehmann studios and Craig Lehmann sculpture studios and lives in Monte Vista Colorado. Here below is a sample of his talent.
Nancy Harris, who is a mixed media artist from Alamosa, who uses paper, paint and found objects to create her original abstract collages. Harris typically starts with a blank canvas or sheet of watercolor paper and builds up layers of material, such as stained tea bags, acrylic paint & paper. She then uses a gel medium for the adhesive, the resulting collages are colorful, complex and playful, not to mention quite beautiful art pieces. Mary Susan Eldredge, who studied art at the University of Minnesota, her painting style of bold colors & shapes works perfectly for stained glass design and building. Also added to the list are: Albert Kahan, Mariam Schlagbaum, and Laura Lunsford.

We are looking forward to hearing from those artist whom haven’t responded. “Holiday at the Museum” is a good time to come for refreshments, to socialize and enjoy the Holiday season.

Rio Grande County Museum Director: Louise Colville
Deputy: Rita Trujillo

Rio Grande County Museum is located at 580 Oak Street Del Norte, Colorado 81132. Phone number is (719)657-2847.
email address is [email protected]
Hours are Tuesday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m

Want to help preserve the history of Rio Grande County?  You might want to join the Rio Grande County Museum, Inc. which...
10/10/2019

Want to help preserve the history of Rio Grande County? You might want to join the Rio Grande County Museum, Inc. which is a 501 (3) c organization which helps with fund raising and other events. Your membership is tax deductible. Memberships start at $20 and have several different levels. Please contact the Rio Grande County Museum for more information.

One of the farms that is included in the Centennial farms and ranch exhibit.  This is the Edstrom/Stephens farm and was ...
10/04/2019

One of the farms that is included in the Centennial farms and ranch exhibit. This is the Edstrom/Stephens farm and was in the first group of farms to be honored in the State in 1987.

It is a bit early for ski season, but this gives a look at the skiing at the old Wolf Creek Ski area in the 1940s.
09/25/2019

It is a bit early for ski season, but this gives a look at the skiing at the old Wolf Creek Ski area in the 1940s.

09/19/2019
Monte Vista Historical Society & Transportation Museums

Monte Vista Historical Society & Transportation Museums

The Monte Vista Historical Society and Transportation Museum will hold its annual meeting on October 4, 2019 at Ninos Restaurant in Monte Vista at 11:30.

Please join us for our meeting followed by a Dutch Lunch.

Grain harvest in the San Luis Valley in the 1890-1900s.
09/19/2019

Grain harvest in the San Luis Valley in the 1890-1900s.

Potato harvest has changed over the last 70 to 80 years!
09/12/2019

Potato harvest has changed over the last 70 to 80 years!

Del Norte School's first football team, 1893. Members include: Bert Clark, Glenn Cochran, Earl Cochran, Ed Shaw, Walt Hi...
09/05/2019

Del Norte School's first football team, 1893. Members include: Bert Clark, Glenn Cochran, Earl Cochran, Ed Shaw, Walt Hibbs. Theo Benjovsky, Walt Myers, Ray Wasson, Fred Carpenter, Moss Evans, Albert Arthur and John Cochran who is not in the picture. The man in the photo is Prof. Tallman who was the principal at the time and had organized the football team. We would love to have other teams photos to add to our photo archives.

Congratulation to another Centennial farm family.  It is an amazing accomplishment!!
08/31/2019

Congratulation to another Centennial farm family. It is an amazing accomplishment!!

Last week we inducted 22 new Centennial Farms & Ranches families into our program. Before we move on from our 2019 class, here's one more great Centennial Ranches story. 🚜 🎉

In the early 1900s William Hagan started the Schmitted Ranch with 160 acres in Saguache, Colorado. He purchased the brand in 1906, and the water rights were filed in 1909, and by 1920 the homestead was patented.

Over the years, the nearby Anderson Place, as well as other land was purchased, leading to 3,360 total acres of land owned and 2,240 state-leased. Sheep, cattle, horses, and native grass hay have been farmed on the land, and are still used to this day. 🌾

Kenneth and Marry Schmittel (daughter of William and Jenny Hagan) started managing the ranch after moving onto it in 1942. Kenneth served in the European theater of World War II. Kenneth and Marry’s son, David Schmittel married Verna Shoup and they moved to the ranch in 1992, raising cattle, horses, and mules.

The homestead cabin built in 1915 still houses the family today.

Fort Garland Museum
08/31/2019

Fort Garland Museum

Only one week until the 2019 History and Heritage Festival, presented by the Fort Garland Museum and the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area!

Join us on Saturday, September 7 for a wide variety of interactive demonstrations, children's activities, regional film showings, and LIVE MUSIC!!

Spend one of the last days of summer sitting on the parade grounds, enjoying the live music by the Apache Creek Fiddlers from Rye, Colorado, as well as the valley's very own Los Cancioneros del Valle!

As schools have started in Rio Grande County, we would like to share some photos of the schools prior to consolidation. ...
08/28/2019

As schools have started in Rio Grande County, we would like to share some photos of the schools prior to consolidation. The first photo is the Cat Creek school in 1889. The second one is the upper Pinos Creek School. The third is the Upper Swede Lane or Edstrom School. The teacher was Elizabeth Myers and she was the last teacher before Monte Vista's consolidation in 1919.The fourth one is the Granger School with Sally Wilson Hanna as the teacher in 1902. The last one is the Bowen School in 1939 with Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Jones. Times have changed!!

South Fork businesses.  Thanks to Sue Getz for her donation of family photos to the museum.
08/23/2019

South Fork businesses. Thanks to Sue Getz for her donation of family photos to the museum.

Territorial Daughters of Colorado
08/23/2019

Territorial Daughters of Colorado

On this day in Colorado history (August 20, 1924) Chipeta died at Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation in Utah. Chipeta was the wife of Ute Chief Ouray. Chipeta was alongside her husband during peace treaty negotiations in 1863 and 1868. Chipeta played a unique role in Colorado history. She was compassionate and wise. Chipeta was elected to the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame in 1985.

To learn more about this Colorado role model see the article on her at the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame website at: https://www.cogreatwomen.org/project/chipeta/

or in the Colorado Virtual Library at: https://www.coloradovirtuallibrary.org/digital-colorado/colorado-histories/beginnings/chipeta-admired-and-respected-indian-leader/

#OnThisDay #Chipeta #ColoradoWomen

The reception was great fun, good food and fun visitors.  The show will run through August 31 so there is still time to ...
08/17/2019

The reception was great fun, good food and fun visitors. The show will run through August 31 so there is still time to come and enjoy the art work.

Nancy Arnold Harris Art Exhibit Opening Reception at 1:30pm at the Rio Grande County Museum

This picture is from Monte Vista area and we don't have any history for this so if anyone can share their knowledge on t...
08/15/2019

This picture is from Monte Vista area and we don't have any history for this so if anyone can share their knowledge on this piece of history...please share...

The Monte Vista Fire Department ca 1908.  The photo was donated by H. E. Stevens.  B.E. Stevens  and Harry Hawkins are s...
08/07/2019

The Monte Vista Fire Department ca 1908. The photo was donated by H. E. Stevens. B.E. Stevens and Harry Hawkins are shown in the photo.

Homelake Veterans' History Museum
08/05/2019

Homelake Veterans' History Museum

It has been brought to the attention of the Homelake Community Advisory Board and the Homelake Historic Preservation and Restoration Foundation that residents of the veterans’ center at Homelake would like to restore a 1952 military ambulance for use in parades.

The estimate for the work by a local auto parts business is almost $3,000 and the state, the owner of the ambulance, has not allocated money for the work. Residents would really like to see the ambulance used in parades this summer to showcase the veterans’ center.

The Homelake Foundation, established in 2005 to preserve and restore historic properties at Homelake, is a 501(c) (3) organization and donations can be made to it. The Foundation already has leveraged more than $1 million in funds from grants and private donors to renovate the old administration building into a museum to house the military collections at Homelake. The project will cost many more millions of dollars before it is completed.

The boards would appreciate any contributions to restore the ambulance to its former glory. Donations can be made to the Homelake Historic Preservation and Restoration Foundation, c/o Wayne Ross, treasurer, P.O. Box 97, Homelake, CO 81135. Please earmark any donations for that purpose. Other donations also are welcome for Foundation projects.

On behalf of both boards, thank you for your support of the oldest veterans’ center in Colorado and the official state repository for all unclaimed military medals in Colorado.

The San Luis Valley Quilt Guild is at the Rio Grande County Museum today with items for sale.  A good time to find gifts...
08/02/2019

The San Luis Valley Quilt Guild is at the Rio Grande County Museum today with items for sale. A good time to find gifts for someone special or for yourself. Come check it out! Come and enjoy the show, ice cream and the museum. Donations are graciously accepted for the events.

The San Luis Valley Quilt Guild show is open at the Rio Grande County Museum!  The quilts will be shown until August 10....
07/30/2019

The San Luis Valley Quilt Guild show is open at the Rio Grande County Museum! The quilts will be shown until August 10. Over fifty quilts of various sizes are on display. These quilt are done by very talented quilter from the San Luis Valley. On August 3rd the museum will host the annual ice cream social. It is a good time to enjoy two American classics, quilts and ice cream.

Del Norte will be home to two quilt shows during Covered Wagon Days, Kathy's Fabric Trunk is hosting the other one. It is a good opportunity to see both.

Enjoy Stampede this week.  Bonnie McCarrol is shown being thrown from bronco by the name of Silver. Cowgirls were tough ...
07/25/2019

Enjoy Stampede this week. Bonnie McCarrol is shown being thrown from bronco by the name of Silver. Cowgirls were tough back then. Also shown are the grand stands and the arena. Both photos are from the 1920s.

The Rio Grande County Museum and the Covered Wagon Days committee are looking for anyone who might know the location of ...
07/17/2019

The Rio Grande County Museum and the Covered Wagon Days committee are looking for anyone who might know the location of the Del Norte Fair Grounds. If you and anyone you know has information, please contact the museum at (719)657-2847. This is the best photo that we have at the museum and the description is that it is looking toward the Twin Mountain area. The low hills in the background would probably confirm that.

07/12/2019
Rio Grande County

Rio Grande County

The Rio Grande Museum Press Release

Rio Grande County Museum will celebrate Covered Wagon Days on August 3rd with the annual ice cream social along with opening new exhibits on Del Norte, Monte Vista, Ski Hi Stampede, wood working tools and toys. High Valley
Community Center students have helped to arrange the exhibits as part of the community services that the Center provides. The Museum is grateful for the help that they have given this summer.

The ice cream social starts immediately after the parade on Saturday continues through the afternoon. Donations are accepted as part of the fund raising that the Rio Grande County Museum, Inc. 501(c) 3 does to help provide services for the Museum. There is no admission on August 3 rd . This is a great opportunity to visit the museum, eat ice cream and visit with friends and relatives. The patio will be open for those who wish to be outside.

The book store will also be open and is stocked with new books, jewelry by Patty Poage, crocheted items by Jean Hanna and Judy Nicolais and greeting cards and prints by Sharon Edward. The “Pioneers of the Territory of Southern Colorado” series of books by the members of the Territorial Daughters is available. Volumes II through VI are available. The book store sales also help to support the
Museum. The San Luis Valley Quilt Guild will be showing quilts with the Museum starting July 30th through August 10th. They will be selling quilt blocks for $10 on August 2nd
and 3rd to help with their charity projects.

The Rio Grande County Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 to 4:00 and 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday except on special event days. For more information, please contact the Museum at (719)-657-2847 or check out
our page. The Museum is located at 580 Oak Street in Del Norte, just south of the stoplight.

Address

580 Oak St
Del Norte, CO
81132

General information

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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

Telephone

(719) 657-2847

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Comments

I’m looking into the history to Monte Vista, specifically the years from 1880 to 1895. Was there a newspaper for the area during those years? If so are they preserved anywhere? Maybe microfiche?
We just got a copy of your newsletter for December and we love it!!
Received my newsletter. Thanks. You are busy. Glad to hear of all the books for the library
Are there any structures Del Norte from 1884 and previous? I will be visiting the town in late May and would like to photograph them. My great-grandfather operated as a street vendor there. Thank you!
I think this is the Rio Grande. Hoping to have help identifying the photo. Photo is taken between 1944 -1949, Color slide film by my grandfather, Frank Booth who's parents lived in Wagon Wheel Gap between 1939-to 1949. They all loved to fly-fish.
Did you know? During world war 1 Monte Vista gained national acclaim for raising more money for the Red Cross than any other community of its size... in the world! Learn more when Mikayla Baird will talk: "WW1 Homefront in the Rio Grande" Sept. 22. 1:30 pm @ the Rio Grande County Museum. 580 Oak St. Del Norte, CO 81132
Wow! I will enjoy this page and seeing so many wonderful things about the history of Colorado where my mom was born.
Summitville talk by Bill Ellithorpe
Any articles about the Espinosa family?
What is the oldest date you have found on your newspaper collection?
Hi, I would just like to verify the date for the Homestead tour. Is it September 23?? Thanks
Only 1 Week to go!!!! The San Luis Valley - MuseumTrail.org Giveaway ends Sep 4th. Join in the fun! 16 museums in and around the San Luis Valley and southern Colorado are hosting a www.museumgiveaway.org The RGCM is open 10-4pm Tues - Fri and 10-3pm on Sat. Stop on by and get your card stamped! Each museum visited gets you closer to a chance to win a $100 gift certificate. Click to see all the museums you could visit!! #museumgiveaway #history #heritage #slv #sanluisvalley #southerncolorado