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Preserve Tony's!! X

Our wonderful home, Tony’s Conoco, needs care - including paint and roof repair. Maintaining this historic treasure is inherent to our mission and is a way that we keep our history alive and vital. Please consider making a donation towards this important campaign by clicking on the donate button at the bottom of this page. Thank you for your support!

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Fun Facts about Crested Butte

A perfect slope

Crested Butte, rises to 12,162 feet (3,707 m) above sea level. The ski area base is at 9,375 feet. The 14 lifts serve 1,058 acres of terrain. 448 acres of the terrain are double black runs. The large amount of extreme skiing terrain at Crested Butte has attracted the US Extreme Skiing Championships and the X Games.

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Famous Mountain Biking

Crested Butte played a key part in the birth of mountain biking. Some people debate whether the sport started in California or the mountains of Colorado. But, we're proud of our mountain bike heritage and celebrate it with our mountain bike exhibit that plays tribute to local legends and their achievements on two wheels.

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Mine Craft

Long before Crested Butte became known for skiing, mountain biking, and wildflowers, it was home to a thriving community of miners. Preserving the history of the people who worked the hard life in the mines is a key reason the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum exists.

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Flauschink Spring Festival

Even if it takes a made up holiday, Crested Butte residents always find an excuse to party. Join Crested Butte residents as they flush out winter and welcome spring over closing weekend at the ski resort. If you can't visit us that weekend, check out the museum's Flauschink exhibit to explore the history of this unique holiday.

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Crested Butte Weather

Chance of a Thunderstorm
Thursday
Chance of a Thunderstorm
High 60°/Low 38°
60%
Chance of a Thunderstorm
Friday
Chance of a Thunderstorm
High 62°/Low 39°
60%
Thunderstorm
Saturday
Thunderstorm
High 63°/Low 37°
80%
Clear
Sunday
Clear
High 64°/Low 35°
0%
Clear
Monday
Clear
High 66°/Low 36°
0%

Crested Butte TIMELINE

1850

Elk Mountains and surrounding area visited by explorers, trappers, and prospectors. Ute indians visited their hunting grounds in area.

1862

"Close to a million dollars in gold" removed by hard rock prospectors in area. Twelve miners killed by Ute, causing many prospectors to flee.

1877

A sawmill and smelter built by Howard F. Smith, considered the "Father of Crested Butte." Crested Butte established as a supply town for surrounding silver camps. Coke from coal produced "in a small pit using pine wood as fuel."

1880

Town formally incorporated and Crested Butte's "Age of Coal" begins. Approximately 400 people living in Crested Butte and 1,000 miners in surrounding area. Town includes 50 businesses, dwellings, tents, three sawmills and a hotel, the Forest Queen.

Early 1880s

Long, hand-hewn skis with one pole for balance used as simple winter transportation and sport.

1881

First narrow-gauge train, Denver & Rio Grande arrives in Crested Butte. First telephone installed.

1882

Community church built. In the following year it will become Union Congregational Church

1883

Rock School building and City Hall constructed. City Hall serves as a place of worship for Catholics during construction of St. Patrick's and a dance hall on Saturday nights. Jokerville mine opens.

1884

One of the most gaseous mines in the area, the Jokerville mine explodes, kills sixty miners in the largest mine disaster to date in Colorado history. Mine will never reopen.

1890

Major sections of Crested butte's business district are destroyed by fire, partly due to frozen water lines.

Early 1890s

Many Slavic, mostly Slovenian and Croatian, and Italian immigrants arrived and slowly formed the bulwark of the town with their culture, traditions, and languages. Before 1895 population mostly Anglo-Saxon.

1891

First major miners' stroke occurred due to, among other things, a cut in wages from 75 cents to 65 cents per ton.

1893

First fraternal lodge society of St. Joseph established. Second major fire burns several buildings in Crested Butte's business district.

1894

Big Mine on Gibson's ridge opened by Colorado Fuel & Iron Company. Construction on St. Patrick's church finished.

1901

Third major fire destroys sections of downtown.

1902

Destructive fire hits Big Mine.

1909

Another big fire at Big Mine.

1913

Big Mine and Floresta Mine forced to close due to extended miners' strike backed by United Mine Workers of American. Strike results in severe economic hardship and animosity among residents.

1915

Big Mine re-opened with few short-term concessions won by miners. Long term benefits and working conditions gained by miners due to strikes.

1918

Coke production ended and coke ovens closed due to introduction of natural gas.

1927

Miners strike again due to serious wage cut with 400 men out of work. Horace Mine, Bulkley Mine, and Big Mine closed. Strike caused by Wobblies and not sanctioned by UMW.

1928

Miners vote to return to work, winning few of their demands.

1931

Crested Butte Bank fails.

1940-1945

High levels of coal production maintained by Colorado Fuel & Iron and the Big Mine.

1952

Big Mine permanently closes. Great hardship ensues and many residents leave Crested Butte. School populations drastically depleted.

1953

Keystone Mine re-opened by American Smelting and Refining Company with base metal production (lead, zinc, copper). It soon becomes the main source of economic stability.

1958

Summer Law-Science Academy established by Dr. Huber W. Smith. First significant numbers of summer tourism.

1967

Crested Butte Junior and Senior High School Closes. Students bused to Gunnison.

1968

Keystone Mine Closes

1969

First Flauschink Festival held to celebrate the end of ski season.

1973

Mt. Crested Butte incorporated as a town

1974

Crested Butte designated as a National Historic District

1975

Crested Butte town government run by "old-timers" replaced and Home Rule adopted by newcomers. Zoning laws, land use, and taxation transformed.

1977

Exploratory drilling for molybdenum. Controversy in Crested Butte between "old timers" who support AMAX and environmentalists, who disputed with AMAX. Grassroots interest group, High Country Citizens Alliance formed to oppose AMAX.

1980

Crested Butte streets paved.

1981

AMAX forced to leave due to collapse in world molybdenum market.

1985

Grand Butte Hotel completed at Mt. Crested Butte

1987

Center for the Arts built in Crested Butte. Town experiences expansion in real estate and recreation.

1990

Gas explosion in Crested Butte State Bank kills three people.

1997

New K-12 school opened ending 30 years of busing for high school students. Town Hall moves into old brick school.

2001

The Crested Butte Mt. Heritage Museum, with the help of private donations, grants, and local government funding, purchases the Crested Butte Hardware and Auto Supply for it's new home.

2003

Crested Butte Mt. Heritage Museum opens in its new location.