The annual meeting of the Hotchkiss-Crawford
Historical Society will be on Sunday, February 25, at 2:00 in the
Crawford Town Hall. The program will be a
presentation by Chris Miller, head of the Interpretive Association
of Western Colorado. This non-profit organization is dedicated to
preserving, protecting and interpreting historic places in the seven
county region of Western Colorado such as the Hanging Flume, the
Alpine Tunnel, Escalante Canyon Homesteads, the Spanish Trail and
many others. Chris will present a power point program featuring
these places and ones the organization is working on placing on
The museum now has on display three cases of pictures and memorabilia from the coal mining town of Somerset. This collection was donated by Donna Boxler, whose grandfather, Robert Williams, was superintendent of the mine for over thirty years. Many of the pictures date back to the 1920s.
The museum has been gifted two antique rifles and a muzzle loading shotgun from the Hotchkiss family collection.
One rifle is a 45-70 Neyville given to Otto Mears by Enos T. Hotchkiss in 1872. The other rifle is a 45-70 Sharps given by Otto Mears to Enos Hotchkiss in about 1880.
The double barrel cap and ball muzzle loader is pre 1870 and belonged Enos Hotchkiss’ daughter-in-law.
This is a home business potato chip maker sold in the mid 1930s. A company in Ohio had all sorts of family business ideas during the Great Depression. One family on Missouri Flats bought this contraption and tried to earn a living. It was found several years ago at a farm sale and donated to the museum
The white tub is filled with vegtable oil and headed below with a gas burner. Potatoes were thin sliced, (upper left), dropped into the hot oil until chrispy. Chips were then placed in the spinner on the right to remove excess oil before bagging. The spinner tub could then be tipped to replace oil into the oil tub. The Ohio company even provided paper bags noting “contents about 5 ounces.”
A new exhibit recently added at the museum is a replica of an old time doctor’s office The family of Dr. James Todd donated his collection of medical instruments from the 1940s. Todd was the great-grandson of the area’s first doctor, Levi Todd. Also on display are items belonging to Dr. Claude Copeland who had a practice in Hotchkiss from 1909 until 1961.
The Colorado Historical Society has placed the Hotchhkiss Barn on their Most Endangered Places list, thereby making it eligible for grant funds to restore the building. The brick 40 by 100 barn was constructed in 1886 by Enos T. Hotchkiss and is on the National Register of Historic Places. A micro-burst severely damaged the south end of the barn in 2010 and efforts are being made to restore the barn to its original condition. CBS recently produced a great video about the history of the barn and area. This five minute video can be viewed by clicking below.