Fremont County is full of interesting history, tall tales, and wild, hard-to-believe stories. Learn more about Fremont County’s past at any one of the following museums.
The Pioneer Museum
The Pioneer Museum in Florence tells the tales of the roughneck days of drilling for oil and mining for coal. While some men worked on the rigs and others underground, another contingent in Florence’s heyday was involved in building the Denver & Rio Grande railroad through the Royal Gorge. The Pioneer Museum offers a wonderful glimpse back into the rich history of Florence.
For more information, visit www.FlorencePioneerMuseum.org.
The Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center
Inside Cañon City’s historic Municipal Building are written and oral accounts of the region’s early settlers. Dinosaur fossils are also on display from the Garden Park Fossil Area north of town. The 1860 cabin and 1881 stone house of early settler Anson Rudd are on the grounds as well.
For more information, visit www.RGMHC.org.
The Museum of Colorado Prisons
Adjacent to “Old Max,” the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility, the Museum of Colorado Prisons provides a stark window to the past. The museum houses the last gas chamber used in Colorado, a hangman’s noose, a collection of contraband, artwork by prisoners, photos of uprisings, and the account of a horrific riot and fire in 1929 that resulted in the deaths of a dozen prisoners. The museum, which was at one time the women’s prison, also has the newspaper clippings and photos of the 1947 daring prison break in which 12 inmates escaped. All 12 were either recaptured or killed, and the event led to the 1948 feature film, Cañon City. The museum’s gift shop has a good selection of history books and inmate-made crafts.
For more information, visit www.PrisonMuseum.org.
The Western Fremont Historical Society’s History Museum
The Western Fremont Historical Society’s History Museum is housed in the Society’s old Free Methodist Church building in Howard. The building, opened in 1898, has a spare interior reflective of Free Methodist philosophy. Housed in the museum is a collection of artifacts donated by the local Grange organization as well as western Fremont artifacts, documents, and pictures of pioneers who settled the area.
The Western Fremont Historical Society’s History Museum is located in Howard on County Road 54. The Museum is open from 1 PM – 3 PM the last Sunday of the month from May through October (weather permitting), during Society programs given in the building, and at other times by appointment. Please call (719) 942-3409 for more information.