Blow it up and make a way!
If you have a fire truck but no place to park it, do you blast a garage?
If you have history to display and a mountain, do you blast a museum?
The Volunteer Fire Department of Creede, Colorado, did just that. They blasted space for the fire department in the side of a mountain along with shaping the inside space they created with individual garages for each piece of equipment.
The small town with a huge history of mining made the museum in the same manner.
The town of Creede formed in the 1880’s when ranching and silver mining began. The Denver and Rio Railroad made its path to Creede when the demand existed. The town grew and shrunk many times over the years reacting to the success and fall of the mining. The last producing mine closed in 1985.
As we drove through the town on a cold day in April we looked for old buildings representing the towns “day”, but few were found. Age was quite apparent on some streets as the structures showed a bit of age reflecting the era of their formation. Today, these are filled with shops and restaurants. But it was the fire department and museum that got our interest.
As we walked into the museum, we entered through the door as we would enter into any facility. This entrance is different than the average because we were making our way inside a mountain. I imagine, some would get claustrophobia from this experience. As I walked through the rock corridors I tried to imagine working in this atmosphere on a regular basis and although I enjoyed the unique environment I know it was nothing like the miners worked in each day and it was probably as close as I truly want to experience.
The lack of windows inside the ridged dome shaped walkways caused the space to feel closed in. The air was warmer and calmer than the snow flying outside but not warm enough to let go of my jacket. The solid rock walls and ceilings meant no sunlight and the only way in and out was through the doorways and they were all located in the same direction. You were either walking deeper into the mountain or walking towards the gateway to free space. As we entered we were greeted by the museum dog that probably knew every inch of the property and never missed welcoming a guest.
We encounter so much hospitality during our travels and are extremely thankful. The Creede Museum was no different. After a pleasant visit with the museum volunteer, we took the audio self-tour that lasted about 1 hour. Using the earphones, we began our guided walk as we made our way through tunnels, listening to each detail be explained to us as we viewed the display of each station. The sound of the equipment coming through our headsets made us feel as if we were part of the still scene, giving us a glimpse of labor of the past.
There was more to the tour outside. We were able to drive through the mining area where buildings are still standing today. From a distance, the buildings sitting on the edge of the mountain surrounded by beautiful running creeks appear sturdy and useable today. We didn’t get to explore Bachelor Historic Loop very far due to the weather dropping snow on the narrow dirt road, making the path extremely slick. We chose to play it safe in the unknown territory with the snow coming fast and hard. Completing this scenic drive is a priority when we make a return trip to Southwestern Colorado.
Although we were told we may see some moose, we missed out on that opportunity but did see some wildlife and other mining spots around the Creede area.