The San Juan County Historical Society (SJCHS) was established in 1964 as a Non-profit 501(c)(3) Colorado Corporation for preserving the history of San Juan County, Colorado.
Our mining heritage has been the heart of San Juan County's development. Many service industries were instrumental in the success of the mining industry including the railroad for transportation of the ores, Otto Mears toll road system, the mining of precious metals (from numerous mines, the mills and smelters, boarding houses) and the support towns that followed the big strikes, which provided employment, supplies, housing, cultural opportunities, and entertainment.
The Town of Silverton, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and the Mayflower Mill have each been designated a National Historical Landmark. The Old Hundred Boarding House, owned by SJCHS, is on the Colorado list of Historic Places. Properties owned by the San Juan Historical Society include the Mayflower Mill, the Little Nation Mill (located at Howardsville), the Silverton Standard and the Miner newspaper, the Engine House (housing the famous 315 narrow gauge steam locomotive), and the Silverton Power Station.
The Historical Society operates the Mining Heritage Center, the 1902 County Jail Museum in Silverton, the Mayflower Mill Tour, the Allen Nossaman Memorial Archive, the Silverton Power Station and the Silverton Standard and the Miner Newspaper (designated a National Historic Site in Journalism).
Work has begun on the Silverton Railroad Historical Park located between the Silverton Northern Engine House and the Silverton Depot. Another railroad effort is focused on the reconstruction of the Silverton Northern Railroad. The goal is to have tourist excursions from Silverton to Howardsville. Originally, the Silverton Railroad line ran to Animas Forks.
In September, 2013, work began on a 3-story addition to the Mining Heritage Center. The addition will house exhibit space, a new wood and metal shop, and curation and restoration space for improving our collection, and much needed storage space.
The SJCHS collaborates with the Hillside Cemetery to preserve the stories and the dignity of those buried in our cemetery. Additionally, the SJCHS works in partnership to stabilize and preserve buildings, such as the Old Hundred Boarding House and other historic structures.
The SJCHS has received numerous awards from History Colorado and has received two National Honor Awards from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for their work.
Partnerships and collaborations with Colorado and national historical organizations and private foundations help to fund some of the major renovation projects. However, many projects and daily operations are funded by visitor fees, donations and San Juan County Historical Society Membership subscriptions.
Your donations and membership dues make good things happen for your museum and Silverton.
Join the San Juan County Historical Society today!!
Ask about our Heritage Pass.
Save on a tour package; Old Hundred Mine Tour, the Mayflower Mill and Mining Heritage Center & Jail.