Rimrocker Historical Society Museum of West Montrose County
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The Rimrocker Historical Society (RHS) has a small museum hosting artifacts of our area's natural history, Native American history, pioneer history and mining history. RHS also maintain a picnic area at the site of the historic Uravan Ball Park. In 2013 RHS purchased the historic Vestal House, in Nucla, that is presently undergoing a preservation project through History Colorado.
RHS has published many books and periodicals on the history of the West End of Montrose County, Colorado, and gives ongoing presentations and tours.
This year, 2016, is our 50th anniversary, and we are launching our future with exciting new projects. A new logo, brochures, self guided area tours, new books, and more programs. RHS also received a grant from the Telluride Foundation to buy Museum Software for recording our ever expanding collection of accessions, photos, and records.
ON-GOING PRESENTATIONS and TOURS -- Rimrocker Historical Society Museum of West Montrose County
The Rimrocker Historical Society has an extensive offering of presentations and tours. Please be sure to call ahead to see which ones are scheduled during your vacation. If you are vacationing with family or a large group we can make special arrangements.
WEST END HISTORY: Presentation. It all began 150,000,000 years ago when the dinosaurs roamed this area. Carbonized plants and animal remains, as well as minerals and ores were deposited in the sandstone beds of the Morrison formation. The Tabeguache Ute Indians called this land their home, but in 1870 they were moved to a reservation as miners and settlers staked their claims here. Arrowheads abound in the hills of the West End. In 1881 carnotite ore containing radium, vanadium, and uranium, was discovered in these hills. By 1912 mining and milling for these minerals was in full swing. Radium was sent overseas to Marie Curie for use in her radiation experiments. Vanadium was later in demand by the steel industry, and then Uranium found its place during WWII.
CASHIN COPPER MINE: Tour and History Presentation. The mine is along La Sal Creek and was established in 1897 with rich copper-silver ore. In 1900 Naturita was primarily a stopping-off place for freight wagons transporting copper ore from the Cashin Mine near Bedrock to the railroad in Placerville.
COLORADO COOPERATIVE DITCH: Tour and History Presentation. In 1776 Friars Escalante and Dominguez mapped the area's canyons and waterways. Then in 1894 the Colorado Cooperative Company built a 17 mile ditch to bring water from its head gate in the San Miguel Canyon northeast of Norwood to the head of the Tabeguache plateau.
HANGING FLUME: Tour and History Presentation. The Hanging Flume was an open water chute built over the Dolores River Canyon. This remote 130 year old mining flume is a 10 mile wooden water chute clinging to a sheer canyon cliff to create a hydraulic gold separator. The Montrose Placer Mining Company built the flume in the 1880s to facilitate gold mining and is an engineering wonder listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Some sections of the flume remain attached to the canyon wall, although much of the wood has vanished.
HISTORIC 141: Tour. Pioneers recognized water as the real gold. Building systems of canals and ditches, they watered the high desert to grow their crops. These lush valleys and plateaus supported one of the richest cattle productions in the nation, as well as an era of Cowboys, Indians, Outlaws and Gunslingers -- they were called Rimrockers.
INDIAN HENRY'S CABIN: Tour and History Presentation. The cabin and grave site are in Bull Canyon.
PETROGLYPH: Tour and History Presentation. The Ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi) roamed the area between 500 BCE and 1300 BC leaving behind their stories in numerous rock art panels. West of Naturita in the Paradox Valley are several sites. The Paradox Valley sites feature human figures, geometric and abstract lines, animals, butterflies, lizards and animal tracks.
URAVAN: Tour and History Presentation. The town of Uravan sprang up overnight to support the top-secret Manhattan Project. Uravan is an abandoned uranium mining town; in western Montrose County, and is a Superfund site. The town was a company town established by US Vanadium Corporation in 1936 to extract the rich vanadium ore in the region. As a byproduct of vanadium extraction, small amounts of uranium were also produced, used as a yellow pigment. But by 1984 the industry had played out.
LOCATION: 411 West 2nd Avenue, Naturita CO 81422.
For Current Event Dates; For a Visitors Guide: 970-865-2100.
- Elevation: 5400 feet above sea level.
- Region: Naturita & Norwood Area - Southwest, Colorado
- Phone: In common area.
- Groups Welcome: Club. Corporate. Youth group with adult leaders.
- Group Meeting Area: Indoor room.
- Maximum # of Day-Use Guests in Indoor Meeting Room: 30
- Open Dates For On-Site Activities: All Year
- Designated Historic District, Site or Plaza: On site.
- Museum: On site.
- Historic/Cultural Tours: On site.