Conversations… on Elk Avenue

Featured Exhibit

“Generous listening is powered by curiosity, a virtue we can invite and nurture in ourselves to render it instinctive.”

The Crested Butte Museum is a community gathering place. As such, it serves as a central location for people to connect and experience the history of Gunnison Valley through a wide range of different interactions. This requires various methods of gathering, collecting, and preserving people’s memories and voices. Through recorded conversations we can learn so much about what life was like living in Crested Butte throughout the years.

Our featured exhibit, “Conversations on Elk Avenue”, is an immersive experience. Learn about its origins as a booming coal mining town. Listen to how it was on the cusp of becoming a ghost town, but eventually transitioned into a sought after tourist destination.  

Crested Butte Museum is an independently operated non-profit. This exhibit was made possible through generous donations made by our supporters and members. Please consider becoming a member or making a donation. This ensures that we can continue to fulfill our mission and create exhibits such as this.  Your membership dues and donations are tax deductible.  Click the links above or the “Join & Support” tab in our menu to learn more. 

Tony Mihelich

Tony Mihelich was a partner and operator of the legendary Crested Butte Hardware Store and Conoco gas station for 56 years. Unfortunately, Tony passed away before we had the opportunity to record his Oral History. However, he left a lasting impact on many people which is palpable through their interviews. Crested Butte Museum now operates out of his shop.

Spann Family

The Spann family has lived and worked in the Gunnison Valley for over 4 generations. As ranchers, they have maintained their operations through droughts, public land restrictions, and an ever changing population and economy.

Guerrieri Family

Phyllis Guerrieri is a 4th generation rancher, and the daughter of Aurbrey Spann. Continuing her mother’s legacy she has proven that success in ranching operations is not determined by gender. Moreover, the Guerrieri Family has also been active in the preservation of Crested Butte history. Releasing a number of books like “The Spaghetti Gang” and “Pure Joy”.

Falsetto Family

The Falsetto Family has been in and out of Crested Butte for several generations. Their stories are connected to several other families in the valley, providing us with a unique look into how Crested Butte has gone through transitional phases from generation to generation.

Verzuh Family

Believe in love at first sight? Esther and Rudy Verzuh met while on dates with different people. However, they ended up as dance partners and never looked back. They went on to live and raise a family in Crested Butte with frequent visits to the Almont Resort, dancing their nights away. 

Donnie & Kay Peterson Cook

The Cooks are legendary in the culture and history of mountain biking in Crested Butte. They are the founders of the Crested Butte Mountain Biking Association and were integral in the development of many trails we still enjoy today. Listen to their story below!

Sandra Cortner

Local photojournalist and longtime resident of Crested Butte, Sandra Cortner has played a major role in the preservation of Crested Butte and Gunnison Valley history. Her photos bring the past to life, harboring a greater understanding and appreciation for the past. 

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