I recently had the opportunity to take a road trip to Trinidad in southern Colorado. After doing research on my family, I discovered through old census records and draft cards the address of the home where my grandfather and his many siblings lived in Trinidad. So, I decided to set off on a road trip to visit Trinidad and the surrounding areas to see the places my ancestors lived. The amount of historic architecture, most of it abandoned, that sits in this town is amazing.
While exploring the center of town I stumbled upon an ad for Haunted Corazon Historic Ghost Tours and decided it was worth checking out since Halloween was just days away. I was led by two Trinidad locals through some historic highlights of town. One of my guides was very knowledgeable on various aspects of the history of Trinidad and the other was in charge of detailing the haunted lore of the town. I leaned toward being mostly interested in the historical aspects, but the ghost stories added a colorful twist to the tour. Some of the highlights of the tour for me are described below, I hope the next time you are heading south on I-25 you will be inspired to stop to check out some of these historic parts of this once booming town. You can also visit us in Western History / Genealogy to research Colorado towns that may be of personal interest to you.
Children’s Museum / Firehouse 1
Located at 314 North Commercial Street, what is now a children’s museum was built in 1881 as the city hall, city jail, and firehouse until 1909. It was built by local architects, Bulgar and Rapp in 1888. The story told to me on my haunted tour was that there is the ghost of a little black kitten inhabiting the building today.
Schneider Brewery was also built in 1888 and remained in business until 1960 when it was purchased by Centennial Brewing. This large building now sits completely abandoned and, according to my tour guides, all of the equipment remains in the condemned building just waiting for someone to purchase it to be a part of the latest micro-brewery trend.
Columbian Hotel / Grand Union Hotel
Opened in 1879 as the Grand Union Hotel, the name was changed in honor of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. This hotel and the historic bar were visited by President Herbert Hoover, actress Mary Pickford, Actor Tom Mix, and Will Rogers. Doc Masterson and Doc Holliday were said to have spent time in the basement gambling parlour. The former gentlemen only saloon is now a pizza and wing restaurant, but you can still see some of the original and odd friezes on the ceiling including one of cherubs stuffing a slaughtered pig with grapes. You can read more about the saloon in the Columbian by looking at Tom Noel’s book Colorado: A Liquid History & Tavern Guide to the Highest State.
I hope to do more road trips to historic western towns that are frequently driven through, but not often destination points. Please leave a comment below if you have suggestions for where I should explore next.