chaffee county scenic byways
salida and buena vista scenic byways downtown salida colorado
salida colorado



salida colorado heritage
Downtown Salida Colorado



salida colorado heritage
Parade along main street Salida Colorado



salida colorado
View down main street Salida Colorado



salida colorado library
Salida Library - early Carnegie Library



salida smelter smokestack
Smeltertown and the smokestack


Directions: Salida - US Hwy 50 and CO 291

The largest city in Chaffee County began in 1880 as a major railroad service facility and shipping point on the “Royal Gorge” route of the Denver & Rio Grande, which diverged from this point north to Leadville and west over Marshall Pass to Gunnison. Alexander Cameron Hunt, one of the D&RG’s founders and a former Colorado territorial governor (1867-69), laid out the town site, with the name “Salida” taken from the Spanish meaning “exit” or “way out” of the valley. By 1928, the City of Salida had become the county seat.

National and state historic structures:

  • Chaffee County Courthouse (1932), 104 Crestone Avenue
  • Church of the Ascension (1885), 349 E Street
  • Corbin House (1884), 303 E 5th Street
  • Edison Electric Light Plant (1887-1926) (Steam Plant Theater), 312 West Sackett Avenue
  • F Street Bridge (1907), F Street over the Arkansas River
  • Gray Cottage (1882), 125 East 5th Street
  • Jackson House (1890), 401 East 1st Street
  • Kesner Junior High School (1923), 9th and C Streets
  • Manhattan Hotel (1901), 225 F Street
  • Methodist Church (1889), 4th and D Streets
  • Salida Public Library (1907), 405 E Street

Hutchinson Ranch- US Hwy 50 between Poncha Springs and Salida
The old homestead dates to the early 1870s when Civil War veteran Major Joseph Hutchinson and his bride Annabelle McPherson started a family and a cattle ranch business that has remained in the same family for generations. The wood frame ranch house, representing one of the earliest pioneer settlements in Chaffee County, was built in the Carpenter Gothic style, a type rarely found in Central Colorado. Scrolled carpentry under the evens of the house was milled in Canon City and considered fancy for its time. The original house and out-buildings, though unoccupied for 50 years, have survived along with many important artifacts, photographs and letter among family heirlooms. The house and its outbuildings of the same period were donated to the Town of Poncha Springs in 2006 for public use as a historic attraction. Vacant for decades, Dr. Wendell Hutchinson, whose family has owned the ranch for five generations and documented much of its history, made the donation. The site has been listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places since 1972.

Additional information about this historic site: HUTCHISON RANCH
9104 Highway 50, 3 miles west of Salida
National Register 5/11/1973, additional documentation and boundary expansion 8/9/2005, 5CF.142
Running more cattle than anyone else in the southern Arkansas River Valley, Joseph S. Hutchinson was one of the fabled cattle kings in early Colorado. He made major contributions to the livestock industry as a successful cattle rancher. The ranch is an excellent representation of the full range of buildings and structures of an operating Colorado cattle ranch during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Main House, dating to 1873-1874, is possibly the oldest frame dwelling in the area. Important log buildings include the 1867 granary, Uncle Art’s 1895 cabin and the 1915 saddle house. In 2005, the original listing was amended to provide additional historical information and to expand the boundaries to incorporate associated pastureland.
Currently under rehabilitation supported by grants from the Colorado Historical Society.

National Register 5/16/1985, 5CF.190
The two-story, hipped roof red brick building, a vernacular interpretation of the Colonial Revival style, was constructed in 1892. A wood frame barn from the same period is also located on the site. The Chaffee County Poor Farm is representative of the facilities established by Colorado counties in the late 19th century to care for the indigent. The original 120-acre parcel sustained the residents through the planting and harvesting of crops. The property was purchased by the city in 1945 and was utilized as a grange hall, with county fairs and 4H activities held on the grounds. During the early 1980s, it was converted to a bed and breakfast.
Currently being managed as River Run Inn bed and breakfast.

VALLEY VIEW SCHOOL- CR 140 near the Salida airport
In Chaffee County, more than 30 rural school districts were formed, each with one or more one-room schoolhouse. This neat, white-frame building in the mass vernacular style typical of the period, was one of the last to be constructed. The school, along with its wooden flagpole, swing set and outhouses, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and is planned for rehabilitation.

 VALLEY VIEW SCHOOL - County Road 140, Salida vicinity
State Register 9/10/2003, National Register 10/12/2003, 5CF.1598
Constructed in 1903, the Valley View School is a good representation of the common rural schoolhouses that once dotted the state. The simple school building served as the educational and community center for the local ranching families just west of Salida. The Valley View School is an intact example of a one-room schoolhouse complex, complete with a 1936 Works Progress Administration concrete block addition, the original boys & girls privies, and the original swing frame and flagpole. The property is associated with the Rural School Buildings in Colorado Multiple Property Submission.
Currently Closed and off-limits by owners, Salida School District R-32.

Smelter Smokestack- From Hwy 291 one mile outside of Salida, turn left on to CR 151. Travel 3/10 of a mile to CR 152
At 365 feet tall, the Smelter Smokestack stands as a majestic monument to the mining industry and its workers, many of them Greek and Italian immigrants. Smeltertown was the home of the Ohio-Colorado Smelting and Refining Company, which employed 500 people until World War I. Finished in 1917, this is the last of several stacks built ever higher to keep noxious gases from polluting surrounding ranchland.

National Register 1/11/1976, 5CF.143
Completed in 1917, the brick and tile smokestack reaches a height of 365 feet. Its concrete foundation extends 30 feet into the ground. The structure was built to replace two shorter smokestacks at the Ohio-Colorado Smelting and Refining Company's smelter facility located one mile west of Salida. Although the facility closed in 1920, the smokestack remains as a highly visible monument to the mining industry and its workers.
Closed and off limits by owners, the Salida Museum Association.

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