Mines & Museums

Creede History & Museums In a Day

Start your day at the Visitor’s Center where you'll see the beautiful model of North Creede depicting life in 1892. Tom Kutzley, the creator, passed away at the age of 95 in February 2024. He devoted 23 years to the accurate recreation of a bygone era, and generously donated this labor of love to Creede for it’s 125th anniversary. “I just love the fact that I can bring a 3D rendering of history to life for people. I do not want compensation for my donation... just the fact that I know it is in a place that people will enjoy it for years to come is enough for me. This is my gift to Creede.” Local artist Brian Smith painted the backdrop for the model. This display provides an exciting way to share our mining history!

Walk over to Mines & Memories with its extensive collection of materials and photographs from the old silver mines. Your next stop is the Creede Historical Museum, located in the old Railroad Depot in Basham Park. The Museum originated in the 1940’s and is home to old artifacts pertaining to Creede’s wild west history. Creede's Historical Library is right next door.

Your final stop is the Underground Mining Museum, built right into the mountain. It took retired miners over a year to blast out the solid rock for the museum, gift shop, Community Center and Fire Department. Local-led and self-guided tours take you through the museum, imparting the history of one of the worlds largest silver-producing Mining Districts.

Visit The Oldest and Only Original

Tomkins Hardware is considered the “first fire proof building in Creede” and is the oldest business in town, constructed in 1892. It opened as “Tomkins Brothers Bank and Tomkins Brothers Hardware”. The bank portion was sold, but customers can still see the original bank teller cages in the front portion of the building. The original safe is still used and is locked with the combination dial from 131+ years ago! The Tomkins business has long since passed out of the Tomkins family, but the name has always remained the same (with the title “Lumber” added at some point in the late 1900’s) and continues to supply “everything you need to build but the land!"

Creede Historical Society
Creede Historical Museum & Library

Historic Rio Grande Railroad Depot (behind Basham Park)
P.O. Box 608, Creede, CO 81130   •   719-658-2004
Open:  All year/Seasonal and by appointment
Museum open daily, 10 AM-4 PM, Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.
Research library open year-round, Tues & Thurs, 1 PM-4 PM.
Housed in the Old Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Depot in downtown Creede next to Basham Park, the museum reflects the efforts of an active and dedicated local historical society. Creede’s first hand-drawn fire wagon, a horse-drawn hearse, early pioneer utensils, gambling equipment and devices, a large photo collection, early newspapers, and troves of memorabilia and other artifacts comprise the Creede Historical Society’s collections. The museum and library archives provide casual visitors, historians, and genealogical researchers with opportunities to examine the daily lives of the homesteaders, prospectors, miners, entrepreneurs, lawmen, and notorious characters who helped shape Creede/Mineral County’s colorful history.

Underground Mining Museum & Mining Tour


Museum: One of Creede’s most popular attractions, the Underground Mining Museum comprises a series of rooms and tunnels blasted into the cliff face of Willow Creek Canyon at the north edge of town. Visitors receive a first hand taste of the miner’s subterranean experience through a series of demonstrations and exhibits in shafts bored specifically for that purpose. Exploring both early silver mining techniques and more recent technology, the Underground Mining Museum provides a fascinating insight into a very important part of western Americana. An exhibit hall with mineral and artifact displays provides a colorful prelude to tours guided by experienced hard rock miners.

Self-guided CD tours are available anytime, and guided tours by appointment in summer. School tours are available in winter months.

History of the Museum: Creede, as it is today, evolved from a history rich in mining and scenic surroundings. Silver was discovered here in 1889. Mining was the area's main industry through the years until 1985, when the Homestake Mining Company closed down the Bulldog Mine. The concept for an underground mine began with Bob Louth in 1976, when he proposed building an underground fire station. This project was so well accepted that in 1990 local citizens decided to build a Mining Museum and Community Center. Three Creede miners began breaking rock in November, 1990. By 1992, the mining portion of the Museum was completed and most of the displays were in place. While the Museum and Community Center have never been used for the commercial production of silver, the spaces were 'mined' from solid rock and are an authentic example of the methods and techniques used in the 'boom' days of the silver rush in Creede, Colorado.

Gift Shop:  Mineral and gemstones, mining and historic memorabilia, fun for the rock hound.

Creede Cemetery

Fences of aged wrought iron and weathered wood commemorate the final resting places of generations of hard-working people who established this legendary silver mining town in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. At the south edge of Creede, turn off Hwy 149 to Lake City onto Bachelor Road. Drive about a half-mile up Bachelor Road and turn at the directional sign (Stop 15 on the Bachelor Historic Loop tour). Creede’s historic Catholic church stands as sentinel in front of the Creede Cemetery.

Downtown Creede

Antique cars along Creede's Main Street. Historic buildings and names from a bygone era mark the quaint seven-block downtown section of Creede’s famous silver mining era. The spectacular Pillars of Hercules, volcanic cliffs rising nearly a thousand feet at the edge of town, frame Creede’s array of shops, galleries, eateries, lodging, and sundry services. Simply viewing the old downtown area against this magnificent canyon backdrop makes a visit to Creede worthwhile in any season. A "Walking Tour" guidebook provides detailed information about Creede’s historic buildings and downtown district. Being the only community in Mineral County, Creede serves as the commercial and government center for residents and visitors. Both the Mineral County Courthouse and the Creede Town Hall are located on North Main Street. Rio Grande National Forest maintains the Creede Ranger Station on South Main Street.


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