Gilpin County Museum in Central City
Article used with permission by World Casino Directory, written by Lars Jones
The Gilpin Museum is a massive stone structure on High Street that served as a school from the 1870's until the 1960's.
The Gilpin County Historical Society's Museums are open from the end of May until the beginning of September, but they host events almost year 'round. The Historical Museum is open six days a week (closed Monday) and the Coeur d'Alene Mine Shaft House
is open Saturday and Sunday 11-4. They also provide tours of the Thomas House
- an 1874 residence built around the entrance to a mine. The interior of the house is a journey back in time to 1917 when the family moved away.
The Gilpin Museum is a massive stone structure on High Street that served as a school from the 1870's until the 1960's. It features collections and exhibits from the boom days of Gilpin County including a typical main street of the times in great detail. You can look into the shop windows and see the wares of the day at the Main Street Meat and Grocery display or wonder at the oddities on the shelves inside the John Best Pharmacy collection.
Train fans will enjoy the Gilpin Tram Railroad Diorama. Models of engines and cars were built from scratch to recreate the two foot narrow gauge Gilpin Tramway. Scenery has been added in miniature details and you can see many photos of the railroad's glory days here.
There are Victorian era parlors, kitchens, school rooms and even a backyard display with long-johns (long underwear of the era) hanging on the clothes line. The history of Gilpin County and the gold rush days is well preserved here and almost comes alive as you pass from one exhibit to the next.
Be sure to check out the Gift Shop at the Museum. History buffs will find a little bit of everything relating to local and Colorado history from books to videos. Of course there are the obligatory souvenir spoons and post cards but you can also get a bag of gold ore, or vials of gold or silver leaf. The Victorian and Art Deco jewelery is a keepsake to remind you of your visit for years to come.
Everything is family friendly, with special interests for the kids. Older kids and adults who want to see the the raucous and bawdy side of a gold boom may be interested in "The Sins of Gilpin County: Drinking, Gambling and Prostitution" to get a glimpse into the other side of history.
If the all the old time stuff makes you wonder about hangers on from another time be sure to ask your tour guide about the haunted history of Gilpin County too. There are colorful stories to be heard. If you visit in late August or October be sure to ask about the annual Cemetery Crawl, or Creepy Crawl. If shivers up your spine is a thrill, you are sure to be satisfied.
If you really enjoy history don't stop here, make sure to check out the Central City Opera House
and the Teller House Hotel
if you have time.