The Hayden Heritage Center
The Mission of the Hayden Heritage Center is to engage and educate the public by preserving the history associated with the Town of Hayden and West Routt County, Colorado. (Adopted 2022)
The Hayden Museum started with the loan of the extensive Sullivan Rock Collection in the 1960's. The museum was originally housed in a room in the old Town Hall that sat where the new Kum & Go is located at the corner of Hwy 40 and Poplar St. However, as the collections grew, they ran out of space and had to move the collection to the basement. In 1968, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad ceased passenger service to the area leaving the beautiful brick depot vacant. The Museum board contacted the Railroad in the 1970's and were able to get the railroad to donate the empty Depot and the land to the Town of Hayden to be used as the Museum.
Through the tireless efforts of Museum Board Members over the years, grants and funding were obtained (from such entities as the Gates Foundation, Cyprus Energy, Town of Hayden, Routt County, Seneca Coal, Colorado Historical Society , and Norwest Bank of Steamboat as well as private donations) to repair the Depot which had set vacant for several years. The Depot was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 1992. It was placed on Routt County Historic Registry in 1993.
The Museum ran on fundraisers and donations and was open seasonally through grants and volunteers until 2003 when Routt County voters passed a mill levy to support Routt County's museum entities' (Historical Society of Oak Creek and Phippsburg, Town of Yampa for Yampa-Egeria Historical Society, Hahn's Peak Area Historical Society, Tread of Pioneers Museum, Hayden Heritage Center, and Historic Routt County) activities and to preserve the County's heritage. This levy created the Museum and Heritage Fund (MAHFAB) and enabled the museum to hire its first part time curator and stay open year round.
In 2010 the Museum started looking at expanding its facilities in order to better serve the community and care for its collections. Some recent highlights:
2013 chosen by Colorado Humanities to host the Traveling Smithsonian Exhibit: Journey Stories
2014 started the biannual Mt Harris Day event to commemorate the now defunct community of Mt. Harris as well as mining company towns that once existed along Hwy 40 in West Routt County.
renovated the downstairs windows on the Depot (through a matching grant from MAHFAB)
stabilized two historic structures: The original Town jail cabin (1906) and the Burroughs Doghouse, onto foundations at the Museum (through a matching grant from MAHFAB)
established the Leslie Memorial Research Library (2017- renovated and moved to the first floor through generous donation by the Leslie Family and matching grant from MAHFAB)
digitalized over 3,000 photos into PastPerfect Museum database
Named to 2017 Colorado's Most Significant Artifacts
completed an Historic Structure Assessment through a grant from Colorado State Historic Fund (SHF)
2019 rehabilitated the Depot Roof (with support from the Town of Hayden, MAHFAB, and a SHF Grant)
2019 Recipient of the Colorado Questers Presidential Project which restored the Depot wait room's hardwood floors
Current and future projects include assisting Historic Routt County researching and identifying houses from Mt. Harris , updating and installing new heating and electrical systems for the museum, finish expanding our storage capacity in the buildings across the street from the museum and updating and landscaping the East Courtyard,
Donations for any of the projects would be greatly appreciated!!!
Leslie Memorial Library
Located on the 1st floor of the museum and open to the public. Numerous documents, out of print books, family files, area subject files, yearbooks, burial records, and bound editions of the Routt County Republican & Hayden Valley Press Newspapers. Public computers to search collection. Great source for genealogical research!
Call or email the Museum - see below
Research help is provided for FREE.
Museum Gift Shop
Featuring numerous local area history books such as the Memories of Mt. Harris by Chuck Mack, Hayden by Jan Leslie, and Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden to name a few... genealogy books such as The History of West Routt County, framed photos, cards, trains, toys, kids books, postcards, stationary, and local crafts.