OURAY COUNTY – The Ouray County Historical Society offers four guided historical tours during the month of August. The county’s rich history comes alive on tours of historic Main Street, Cedar Hill Cemetery, the Ouray County Historical Museum, and the Corkscrew Railroad Bed and Turntable.
All tours are led by OCHS members. Each is $10 per person, with the exception of the museum tour, which is $5 for OCHS members, $10 for non-members. To reserve a space for each tour, please pre-register by calling 970/325-4576.
OCHS Curator Don Paulson will lead a comprehensive tour of the historical museum (located at 420 Sixth Avenue in Ouray) at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 13. Paulson’s tour includes detailed explanations of the museum’s many ranching and mining artifacts and other items used in the daily life of a mining town. Participants will hear the rarely played Edison Phonograph and learn how injured miners were treated back when the building was the St. Joseph Miner’s Hospital.
On Saturday, Aug. 16, Paulson will lead a hike to the Corkscrew Railroad Bed and Turntable. Participants meet at the museum at 9 a.m. and should bring water and a lunch. The moderate, half-day hike follows the right-of-way of the Silverton Railroad past historic mines and the ruins of the Guston Congregational Church to the turntable – the only one of its kind in the country. Hikers will learn how the turntable operated and why it was built.
Those who prefer a stroll to a hike can join OCHS research archivist Glenda Moore at the Cedar Hill Cemetery, also on Aug. 16, at 9 a.m. Learn fascinating facts about Ouray as told by the family gravestones on the historic Cedar Hill Cemetery Tour. The beautifully maintained resting ground is nearly 125 years old. Headstones mark both infamous characters, such as John Vanoli, proprietor of Ouray’s former Red Light District, and former pillars of the community. Meet near the cemetery entrance on the east side of US Highway 550 about four miles south of Ridgway and five miles north of Ouray.
The guided tour of historic Main Street delves into the history of Ouray’s many well-preserved buildings. The walking tour, offered on Saturday, Aug. 23, begins at the museum at 3 p.m. Paulson will offer details about the buildings’ construction, previous owners, and architectural styles. The tour covers more than 40 buildings and homes that represent different periods of Ouray’s past – from the earliest mining era, through Victorian splendor, to the turbulent early 20th century. Ouray’s entire downtown area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more information about OCHS tours and events, call 970/325-4576 or visit ouraycountyhistoricalsociety.org.