Our wonderful home, Tony’s Conoco, needs care. 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!Donate Now
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Donate Today! Preserve Tony's Campaign
Have you heard?
The Plute Elk Is Moving Back to Tony’s Conoco
The Crested Butte/ Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce and Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum are excited to announce that the former World Record Plute Elk will be returning from the Visitor Center at the 4-Way Stop to its previous home in Tony’s Conoco, now the Museum, this coming off-season. The Plute Elk was shot in 1899 by John Plute in the Dark Canyon of Anthracite Creek and certified as the world record bull elk in 1961. When Matt Miles purchased the Plute Elk from Ed Rozman in 2016, he expressed interest in keeping the Elk in Crested Butte. Discussions ensued about the best location for this historic treasure of the Gunnison Valley. Moving the Plute Elk back to Tony’s received 100% support from the boards of both the Chamber and the Museum. The mission of the Museum is to “preserve and share the uniquely diverse cultural history of the Gunnison Valley,” and the Museum looks forward to caring for and sharing the history of the Plute Elk with locals and visitors. This move will open up the Crested Butte Visitor Center space for a new display mount or two. If you are interested in lending your mount to the CB Visitor Center, please contact Ashley UpChurch (email@example.com). The Chamber and Museum are grateful to Matt Miles for choosing to keep the Plute Elk on public display in Crested Butte.
Events at Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum
Winter Historic Walking TourSaturday March 24 10:00am
thru Saturday March 24 11:30am
Chamber of Commerce Business After HoursTuesday March 27 5:30pm
thru Tuesday March 27 7:30pm
Winter Historic Walking TourSaturday March 31 10:00am
thru Saturday March 31 11:30am
Readers Theater Production of “Crackpots, Crack Shots and a Cannibal”Friday April 06 7:00pm
thru Friday April 06 8:30pm
Readers Theater Production of “Crackpots, Crack Shots, and a Cannibal”Saturday April 07 7:30pm
thru Saturday April 07 8:30pm
Thanks to a generous grant from the Crested Butte / Mt. Crested Butte Rotary Club, the Museum was able to upgrade our digital recording equipment and increase our collection of oral histories for community members. Also, thanks to a grant from the Crested Butte Creative District the Museum hired two video editors to create ten short videos about the history of Crested Butte. To view samples of these oral histories and the short videos, go to our Vimeo page and Facebook page. Share your stories with us! Call the Museum at 970-349-1880 to schedule an interview.
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.Learn More
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.
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.
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.
Crested Butte TIMELINE
Elk Mountains and surrounding area visited by explorers, trappers, and prospectors. Ute indians visited their hunting grounds in area.
"Close to a million dollars in gold" removed by hard rock prospectors in area. Twelve miners killed by Ute, causing many prospectors to flee.
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."
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.
Long, hand-hewn skis with one pole for balance used as simple winter transportation and sport.
First narrow-gauge train, Denver & Rio Grande arrives in Crested Butte. First telephone installed.
Community church built. In the following year it will become Union Congregational Church
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.
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.
Major sections of Crested butte's business district are destroyed by fire, partly due to frozen water lines.
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.
First major miners' strike occurred due to, among other things, a cut in wages from 75 cents to 65 cents per ton.
First fraternal lodge society of St. Joseph established. Second major fire burns several buildings in Crested Butte's business district.
Big Mine on Gibson's ridge opened by Colorado Fuel & Iron Company. Construction on St. Patrick's church finished.
Third major fire destroys sections of downtown.
Destructive fire hits Big Mine.
Another big fire at Big Mine.
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.
Big Mine re-opened with few short-term concessions won by miners. Long term benefits and working conditions gained by miners due to strikes.
Coke production ended and coke ovens closed due to introduction of natural gas.
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.
Miners vote to return to work, winning few of their demands.
Crested Butte Bank fails.
High levels of coal production maintained by Colorado Fuel & Iron and the Big Mine.
Big Mine permanently closes. Great hardship ensues and many residents leave Crested Butte. School populations drastically depleted.
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.
Summer Law-Science Academy established by Dr. Huber W. Smith. First significant numbers of summer tourism.
Crested Butte Junior and Senior High School Closes. Students bused to Gunnison.
Keystone Mine Closes
First Flauschink Festival held to celebrate the end of ski season.
Mt. Crested Butte incorporated as a town
Crested Butte designated as a National Historic District
Crested Butte town government run by "old-timers" replaced and Home Rule adopted by newcomers. Zoning laws, land use, and taxation transformed.
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.
Crested Butte streets paved.
AMAX forced to leave due to collapse in world molybdenum market.
Grand Butte Hotel completed at Mt. Crested Butte
Center for the Arts built in Crested Butte. Town experiences expansion in real estate and recreation.
Gas explosion in Crested Butte State Bank kills three people.
New K-12 school opened ending 30 years of busing for high school students. Town Hall moves into old brick school.
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.
Crested Butte Mt. Heritage Museum opens in its new location.