The San Juan County Historical Society Mining Heritage Center (Museum) and 1902 Jail is located at the north end of town. The museum is located within the former Caledonia Boardinghouse previously located in Minnie Gulch. The boarding house which was threatened by seasonal rockslides was owned by Ken Knapp and Wayne Williams. They generously donated it to San Juan County Historical Society to build a new museum to display the vast collection they have incurred over the decades. The boarding house was dismantled, hauled, and reassembled in two months. The museum had its grand opening in 2005, and later an addition added in 2015. The facility has three floors to explore.

During the years between 1874 and 1902, five jails were constructed in Silverton. Four were "City Jails", while the fifth facility was the County Jail and was used for the more hardened criminals.

The first jail was a one room cell built of logs from native timber, the second jail was made from mortared stone. Later, a wooden plank structure of 2x4 lumber laid flat, nailed plank to plank with dovetail like corners became home for incarcerates.

Finally, in 1902 this two story "state-of-the-art" escape and fire proof brick jail was built at a cost $12,175. The brick and limestone facility contains the main cell block on the second floor and two cells on the main floor for women or "insane" prisoners. The cell blocks, iron work and security doors were designed and constructed by Pauly Jail Building Company, located in Noblesville, Indiana and shipped to Silverton by train as a kit for assembly. The four steel prison cells contained as many as six canvas hammocks per cell. This structure is now part of the Museum complex.

Other Silverton sites to see:
Museum Complex
San Juan County Historical Museum Complex.

Additional Information

San Juan County Historical Society
San Juan County Historical Society
PO Box 54
Silverton, CO 81433
(970) 387-5838

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  • ➠ Mining Heritage Center & Museum Website
  • SJCHS Mining Heritage Center Pamphlet (PDF 270 KB)
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    Silverton Standard
    Printing Press and Equipment.
    Assorted handtools
    Assorted handtools.
    Assorted buttons and locks
    Assorted buttons and locks.
    Tram Tower
    Replica tram tower with timber carrier and tower rollers.
    Replica windlass, hand crank device for sinking a small shaft.
    Carbide Lamps
    Assorted carbide lamps.
    Blacksmith Shop
    Replica blacksmith shop.
    Wood cart and rails
    Wood cart and rails (oldest of their kind).
    Miner drills
    Examples of miner drills.
    Assay Lab
    Replica Assay Lab.
    Mineral Collection
    Mineral Collection.
    Prison Cell
    Prison cell with canvas hammocks.
    Photos by EMKotyk