Historical Sites Idaho Springs

Charlie Tayler Waterwheel

water_wheelAfter standing immobile for a number of years, the Waterwheel was refurbished and put into operation by a group of volunteers in 1988.  At the same time, a park area was created in cooperation with the Columbine Garden Club whose members continue to maintain the gardens. During the reconstruction, contributions were entrusted to the Historical Society of Idaho Springs to be held in trust to cover future maintenance expenses for the waterwheel.  The waterwheel has long been an Idaho Springs landmark and tourist attraction along I-70.

Jackson Monument

JACKSON-MEMORIALThe monument was originally constructed and dedicated in 1909 at approximately its present location on Highway 103 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the discovery of gold.  George Jackson discovered gold in Chicago Creek bed just below the monument.  Jackson’s discovery began the Colorado Gold Rush in what was then the Kansas Territory.

6th Avenue Hose House

Hose-House-2This little hose house was built in the 1880’s of locally produced brick with the purpose of housing the third hose cart in the city.  When the fire department was reorganized in 1920 and the independent hose companies consolidated, the hose house was no longer needed as an integral part of the Idaho Springs fire protection system.

Bryan Hose House

Bryan-Hose-HouseBuilt in the 1880s of locally produced brick, the Bryan Hose House held the second hose cart in the Idaho Springs inventory.  The Bryan Hose House was manned by independent Hose Company No. 2.  The hose house has been used as storage for the local fire department.  In 2004, the City of Idaho Springs obtained emergency funds from the Colorado State Historical Fund for stabilization of the rear wall.  Major restoration of the brick work and roof was undertaken in 2012.

Central Hose House

Central Hose HouseThe Central Hose House is the largest of the Idaho Springs’ hose houses.  Built in 1878, it served not only as the home for the city’s first hook and ladder cart, but as a meeting place for the firemen from all the city’s independent hose companies as well as other social functions.  When the fire department was reorganized in 1920 and the independent hose companies consolidated, the hose house remained the center for the city’s fire fighting efforts.  When the fire department relocated to the “new” firehouse at 2000 Colorado Boulevard in the 1960s, the hose house no longer served any direct fire fighting purpose and was used as the city’s maintenance building.  Eventually, the building’s use was given to the fire department for storage.  Funds from the Colorado State Historic Fund and donations were acquired by the Historical Society of Idaho Springs for the complete restoration of the building.  The restoration was completed in 2010.

Engine No. 60 and Coach No. 70

Narrow-Gauge-Train-60When the Colorado & Southern Railroad ceased operations to Idaho Springs, the Engine and Coach were deeded to the Clear Creek County.  They were left standing on a short length of track next to the property at 1800 Miner Street.  The equipment was eventually given to the City of Idaho Springs.  The Engine and Coach were moved to their present location behind City Hall in 1987.  Conservation Trust Funds were used to build the ramp and walkway to allow viewing of the equipment.

Idaho Springs Carnegie Library and Grounds

Library-2The Idaho Springs Library was built in 1906 on locally donated land with funding from Andrew Carnegie.  The building includes many of the attributes of a “Carnegie Library”.  In 2011-2012 Colorado State Historic Funds were used to restore the outside of the building to its original grandeur.  During 2012, restoration and refurbishing of the interior of the building was begun.  It is expected to be completed in 2013.  The library grounds include a civil war era cannon and an arrastra, a relic remaining from the gold mining era.

Blue Ribbon Tunnel

both-tunnel-openingsThe Blue Ribbon Tunnel provided access to the Blue Ribbon Springs, producing cold mineral water.  The water was bottled and sold with claims of curative properties and for many years the tunnel was open to the public.  Local citizens and tourists could fill containers directly from the source.  Due to public liability and health concerns, the tunnel entrance was fenced off, but not completely blocked.  In the mid-1950s the construction of I-70 altered access to the tunnel and the entrance was completely and permanently blocked.  The opening is visible along the walkway to Waterwheel Park.

Pioneer Cemetery Lots

Cemetery-Grave-StoneThe present Idaho Springs Cemetery is the third location since the city was settled.  It located on Highway 103 on the east side of Chicago Creek where the first mining began.  This originally platted area included 601 grave spaces, at least 80 of which were originally designated as “Potters Field”.  The earliest grave marker dates from 1874.  Many of the early pioneers to Idaho Springs were laid to rest here.

Steve Canyon Statue

Steve-CanyonThe larger-than-life statue of the cartoon character Steve Canyon was dedicated on July 8, 1950 by Colorado Governor Ed Johnson.  Steve Canyon was the creation of Milt Caniff who personally had the statue carved from Indiana limestone and donated it to Idaho Springs.  It is one of few statues of cartoon characters outside of Disneyland.  While having no connection to Idaho Springs’ strong mining history, this statue nevertheless is a unique landmark to the area.