Driving on U.S. Route 50 through western Colorado you may see what appears to be a pioneer town, seemingly dropped in from another time. This is actually the fictional town of Adobe Flats, the centerpiece of the Museum of the Mountain West.
Founded by the archaeologist Richard Fike in 1997, the museum includes over 500,000 artifacts. In order to display these pieces in a more proper setting, fictional saloons, dentist and doctors offices, general stores, jails, churches, schoolhouses, and homes were constructed to house the collection. In the case of some of these buildings, instead of fabricating a new structure, the curators were able to procure an existing historical building and move it to the museum.
Among the more notable pieces on display are boxing gloves from 1920s heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, playing cards signed by Sitting Bull from when he toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, and stirrups from a 16th century Spanish conquistador. However, most of the pieces in the museum are more common in nature, allowing a visitor to Adobe Flats to get a better impression of what life was like for the average pioneer living in the Rocky Mountains in the late-19th century.
Know Before You Go
The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Guided tours take approximately two hours.