Lime Creek Burn 1879

Lime Creek Burn 1879 Historical Marker, Colorado

The Lime Creek fire burned 26,000 acres in 1879, which was a major drought year. The fire burned an area of the San Juan Mountains between Molas Pass and Coal Creek Pass, located along U.S. 550. The Ute Native Americans were blamed for the fire, which they supposedly lit for being pushed out of Colorado.

Since the area had been a drought, there were other fires that year. According to records, 1879 had less than half of the normal annual rainfall of the year, making it one of the driest years on record.

Historical Marker Inscription

This man-caused forest fire burned 26,000 acres consuming approximately 150,000,000 board-feet of timber. Reforestation by direct seeding and planting of seedling trees was started in 1911 and continues today.

The project was financed by federal funds and contributions from the conservation-minded Colorado Federation of Women’s Clubs.


U.S. 550, CO 81433 United States (near the Post Office)

37° 42′ 54.960″ N, 107° 45′ 16.920″ W


“I Do” Fire, Maybell, Colorado

I Do Fire Colorado, Maybell, CO

Colorado is no stranger fires. They happen on a regular – and increasingly frequent – basis. The “I Do” Fire was one of the largest at the time. Currently, the largest Colorado wildfire in state history is the Cameron Peak fire, which burned over 208,000 acres.

Historical Marker Inscription

On July 16, 1988, a lightning-caused wildfire burned over 15,000 acres of public and private land here as far as the eye can see. The “I Do” Fire, named for a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) firefighter who was married on that day, became the largest wildfire in Colorado’s recorded history.

BLM planted wheatgrass and rye in strips and at right angles to the prevailing winds, to reduce wind erosion until the area is revegetated.

This area is home to large numbers of deer and antelope as well as a variety of smaller mammals and birds.

Take Pride in America


U.S. Highway 40, West of County Road 143 approximately 5 miles from Maybell, Colorado

N 40° 28.999, W 108° 10.923

Escalante Canyon Historical Marker, Delta, CO

Escalante Canyon Historical Marker, Delta, CO

Escalante Canyon is a beautiful and historical canyon located near Delta, Colorado. The canyon is named after two Franciscan priests, Silvestre Vélez de Escalante and Atanasio Domínguez. They were part of expedition that happened in 1776 to find an overland route between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a Roman Catholic mission in Monterey, California. While the priests didn’t actually pass through the canyon, it is still named after Escalante.

The canyon was formed over 600 million year ago and is a 1,300 foot deep gorge, carved by the Escalante Creek. The canyon features petroglyphs that trace back to the earliest people. It is known that the Ute Indians made the North Fork of the Escalante River their winter home, and early settlers eventually moved in to take advantage of the easy water supply, forcing many natives off their lands. Cattle outfits also began using the canyon in the late 1800s.

Escalante Canyon was a notable part of the Colorado Sheep War as well. The Spanish had introduced sheep into America, and their numbers had increased to over 2 million by 1896. Some settlers also brought sheep with them when the area was opened to settlers in 1882. With the rise of cattle in the region, conflicts between two sides for grazing lands was inevitable.

Cattle owners would threaten sheep owners by wearing masks. These marauders eventually became known as the Night Riders. In 1915, the Night Riders attacked at a band of sheep in the Oh-Be-Joyful Creek area. They drove a herd of 200 sheep of a cliff while the owner was tied to the tree. Then, on June 9, 1917, Ben Lowe and a former local Delta County sheriff, Cash Sampson, died during a shootout, each falling to the other’s gun.

The two had supper at J.W. Musser’s ranch. When they were leaving, they got into an argument that left both men dead only a few feet apart. While there were no witnesses to the argument, it is very likely that it was due to Sampson investigating Lowe as being part of the sheep slaughter than had taken place previous year.

Within the canyon, you can find the stone cabin of Captain Henry A. Smith, who was a Civil War veteran. He used local sandstone to build his cabin and made his living as a tombstone carver. The cabin is located 18 miles from the Escalante Bridge.

Historical Marker Inscription

Named after one of the two priests Escalante and Dominguez after their expedition in 1776. Rich in history this canyon has seen its share of human beings starting with the earliest Native Americans since circa 700 AD. After the Civil War, Captain Henry A. Smith, a tombstone carver, made this canyon his home. The canyon hosted the Colorado Sheep War during March 1916 and a shootout left residents Cash Sampson and Ben Lowe dead.

The previous plaque was dedicated June 12, 2003.

This plaque rededicated July 17, 2010 by Al Packer Chapter 100

E Clampus Vitus


US-50 E, Delta, CO 81416

38° 47′ 2.760″ N, 108° 14′ 47.970″ W

The Historic Fort Collins Weather Station

The Historic Fort Collins Weather Station Historical Marker

Located on the campus of Colorado State University near the Lory Student Center, the Historic Fort Collins Weather Station began collecting data in the 1870s. It was located near the site of the “Old Main” building, which was lost to arson in 1970.

Data is available in both digital and hard copy forms dating back to 1889, and data is updated every 10 minutes. This data includes information about humidity, wind speeds and direction, temperature, pressure, soil temperatures and solar radiation.

Colorado State University

Historical Marker Inscription

This is one of the longest operating weather stations in the western U.S. monitoring temperature, humidity, precipitation (rain, hail and snow), evaporation, winds, solar radiation, clouds, visibility, barometric pressure and soil temperatures. Weather observations for research, teaching and public information have been conducted on campus since the early 1870s. Continuous support for this historic weather station has been provided by the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station since 1889. Early data collected here aided agricultural and irrigation research and development. Beginning in the late 1930s, this station provided weather support for aviation and transportation safety. Uses continue to expand today. Data are publicly available for tracking climate trends, variations and extremes and their impacts here in northern Colorado.


Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523

40° 34.582′ N, 105° 5.158′ W

Old Spanish Trail North Branch

Old Spanish Trail North Branch: Colorado Historical Marker

From about 1830 to 1848, the Old Spanish Trail was used to bring textiles from Santa Fe to Los Angeles, which were then traded for mules and horses for the New Mexico and Missouri markets. The trail is considered to be one of the most difficult trails in the United States.

Originally part of ancient, Native American Indian trade routes (one part of which was in use for nearly 1,000 years), the trade routes were connected later by Spanish, Mexican and American traders.

The trail was divided into two routes: the North Branch went north into the San Luis Valley in Colorado, which then went west over Cochetopa Pass, following the Gunnison and Colorado Rivers. It eventually connected with the South Branch near the Green River. The South or Main Branch went northwest to Green River, Utah, passing the Colorado San Juan mountains.

There have been many efforts over the years to preserve the Old Spanish Trail and make it part of the National Historic Trails system.

Historical Marker Inscription

This sign marks an important junction of the Old Spanish Trail. Both forks, east and west, of the North Branch of this Trail converged at Saguache before continuing west of Cochetopa Pass and on to Los Angeles.

The Old Spanish Trail was the principle mule pack route for explorers and traders until 1848, evolving into a wagon road and currently a modern highway.

The purpose of this sign is twofold: first, to note the 4th Annual Conference of the Old Spanish Trail National Association that convened at Saguache, Colorado on June 21-22, 1997; and second, to celebrate the vital contribution of the early trails, before which, all life was limitation.


Located in Saguache, Colorado, at the intersection of 8th Street (Highway 285) and Christy Avenue in a park.

38° 5.132′ N, 106° 8.527′ W.


Ralph Carr Memorial Highway

In the same place as the South Park historical marker on 285 at Kenosha Pass is another marker dedicated to Ralph Carr, a former governor of Colorado. Serving during World War II, Carr was the only Western governor to oppose the internment of Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He even gave speeches and wrote a letter published in the Pacific Citizen newspaper of the Japanese American Citizens’ League to encourage Japanese Americans to come to Colorado.

While only serving as governor for one term due to his resistance to the internment push, he did make Denver a popular postwar destination for Japanese Americans after they were released from internment camps. There was a large Japanese contingent in Colorado from the 1950s to the 1960s.

Carr’s support for Japanese Americans cost him the governorship, and he lost a Senate campaign in 1942. He tried running for Colorado governor again in 1950, but died right before the election at 62 years old.

Historical Marker Inscription

Ralph Carr Memorial Highway in Commemoration of Ralph L. Carr Governor of Colorado (1939-1943)

Following the attacks of Pearl Harbor, tens of thousands of Japanese Americans were forcibly sent to internment camps by the federal government. These Americans lost their property, possessions and freedoms unjustly and without due process. Defying overwhelming popular sentiment, Governor Ralph Carr defended U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry. His convictions were clear:

“When it is suggested that American citizens be thrown into concentration camps, where they lose all privileges of citizenship under the Constitution, then the principles of that great document are violated and lost.”

Governor Carr’s brave and unpopular stand would cost him his political career but earned him the enduring respect of generations of Coloradans.

“…one voice, a small voice but a strong voice, like the voice of a sandpiper over the roar of the surf.” – Minoru Yasui “

Erected in accordance with a 2008 Resolution of the Colorado General Assembly.

This memorial was made possible through the financial support of the Colorado Asian Pacific American Bar Foundation and other private donors.

Dedicated October 2010

Location: US-285, Lake George, CO 80827

Latitude: 39° 24′ 12.432″ N Longitude: 105° 45′ 16.152″ W

South Park, Colorado

South Park Colorado Historical Marker

Perched atop Kenosha Pass on a small turnout is a sign welcoming you to South Park. The name South Park was first used by hunters and trappers during the 1840s. The area was inhabited by the Utes until white settlers began moving in during the middle of the 1800s. The Southern Arapaho also encroached on Ute territory following the buffalo.

By the 1850s, however, the area would become known for three gold strikes, driving gold rushers to South Park, which caused gold camps to be created throughout this wide open country. Between 1860 to 1863, $1.5 million worth of gold was extracted from the county.

John C. Fremont also explored this location during his 1844 (second) expedition. During that time, the area was called Bayou Salade (a mispronunciation of Valle Salado).

South Park is known for its grasslands, which lie on a basin between Mosquito and Park Mountain Ranges, which are part of the Rocky Mountains. These mountains range from 9,000 feet to 10,000 feet (3,000 meters).

Historical Marker Inscription

Spread before you lies the famous
entered by Kenosha Pass, elevation 10,000 feet The Bayou Salado of early trappers, favorite Indian hunting ground and frequent battleground. Visited by Z. M. Pike in 1806. Crossed by J. C. Fremont in 1844. Permanent settlement inaugurated by gold discoveries in 1859.

Location: US-285, Lake George, CO 80827

Latitude: 39° 24′ 12.432″ N Longitude: 105° 45′ 16.152″ W

Leadville Historical Marker

It was the lure of gold that caused Leadville to be founded. Placer gold was found by Abe Lee in California Gulch, which is about a mile east of Leadville, during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush in 1860. The first gold was discovered in April, but by the end of summer, the population of Leadville would reach over 10,000.

By 1866, nearly all the gold deposits were exhausted, and many miners left. The rest moved closer to town, which had been covered with a heavy, black sand. It was discovered that this sand was actually cerussite, which contains at least 15 ounces of silver per ton.

Leadville was again a boom town by 1879. With the new influx, hotels, brothels, saloons, restaurants and more were built. Many mines also were created, and fortunes were made, especially by silver magnate and Tabor Opera House builder Horace Tabor and even the Guggenheims. Horace Tabor would even give the site its official name, based on the lead ore found in the area.

The Marker Inscription

Entering The Cloud City. Altitude 10,152 Ft.

“Here on the roof-top of the nation flourished about 1844 the most famous silver mining camp in the world. Perhaps 30,000 fortune hunters made this town about 1890 the second largest city of Colorado. Here grew fabulous fortunes – among many of H.A.W. Tabor. A Gay and cultivated social life, violent labor contests, ambitious projects like the ice palace marked the city.

In 1860, gold was discovered nearby in California Gulch but soon exhausted. The miners scattered. Seventeen years later a heavy sand discarded by prospectors as a nuisance in the pine woods hereabouts was found to be silver carbonate.

Westward loom Mount Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak, and Mount Massive. The Sawatch (Blue Earth) range to the west and the Mosquito to the east contain several of the loftiest mountains in North America.

Healy House and Dexter Cabin State Museum, Harrison Avenue and East Tenth Street, depicts life in pioneer Leadville.”

Location: 39° 15.785′ N, 106° 17.459′


John B. “Texas Jack” Omohundro 1846-1880

As you’re entering Leadville on the south end of town on Highway 24, you’ll run into two historical markers: one is the main Leadville marker, and the second is dedicated to John B. “Texas Jack” Omohundro.

The History

Texas Jack lived from July 26, 1846 until June 28, 1880. He served as a Confederate soldier during the American Civil War and then later as a scout for the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars.

Texas Jack moved to Fort Hays, Kansas, in 1869. Here, he met both Wild Bill Hickok, famous gunfighter, gambler and showman, and California Joe Milner, who was a miner and frontier scout. Within the same year, he always become friends with William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who was at Fort McPherson working with the 5th U.S. Cavalry.

By 1872, Cody and Texas Jack were appearing on stage together as part of the live show “Scouts of The Prairie”. In 1873, Wild Bill would join the show, which was renamed “Scouts of The Plains”. Throughout the 1870s, Texas Jack would be part of the theater.

Texas Jack died due to pneumonia on June 28, 1880 in Leadville, Colorado, about one month short of his 34th birthday. Unlike Hickok and Cody, he never became a household name.

To learn more about Texas Jack, check out the Buffalo Bill Center of the West site.

The Historical Marker

The inscription on the marker is as follows:

“Born in Virginia, Texas Jack came west after the Civil War at age 16 to become a cowboy. He later made a name for himself as a plainsman and U.S. government scout who led the Pawnee Indians on their summer hunts and was guide for such notables as the Earl of Dunraven.

In 1872, with friend W. F. (Buffalo Bill) Cody, he achieved national fame by starting the first wild west shows in America. (Texas Jack was honored posthumously in 1994 by induction into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame’s Hall of Great Western Performers located at Oklahoma City).

Jack and his lovely wife, the celebrated danseuse Mlle. Guiseppina Morlacchi resided in Leadville where on June 28. 1880 he died at age 33. He is buried in Leadville’s Evergreen Cemetery.”

Location: 39° 15.785′ N, 106° 17.459′

Elephant Corral, Denver, CO

While the origins of the name are murky, some people believe it comes from the old saying “Seeing the Elephant”, which was a gold rush slogan. Located in Lower Downtown (LoDo) Denver, this marker commemorates a hotel and stable for emigrant families and their animals (no elephants were recorded having been boarded here). It also functioned as a trading post, bar, stockyard and brothel.

People from around the world came to Denver trying to get rich off of gold, including people from the Northeast, Midwest and foreigners from around the world. And, these people needed a place to stay. The original proprietors were said to gather people up from the train station and bring them to the establishment.

Located in the Denver and Auraria settlement, the Elephant Corral was the largest building in the settlement at 32 feet wide and 100 feet long. Started by Charles Blake and Andrew Williams, they eventually sold it to Robert Teats, who made the property even larger and officially named it the Elephant Corral.

Historical Marker Text

Immediately north east of this point and covering much of Block 18 East Denver stood the famous Elephant Corral camp ground, immigrant headquarters and stock yards of pioneer Denver. Begun early in 1859 by Black & Williams with their Denver House, the first hotel in Denver City. Horace Greeley was a guest here and addressed the pioneers June 6, 1859. During the 1860s the corral was surrounded by an eight-foot wall having loopholes for Indian defense.

Location: 39.748597° N, 105.001822° W