The Hayden Heritage Center, in cooperation with Colorado Department of Transportation, manages and cares for the Mt. Harris Memorial
located on Hwy 40 at the former site of the town of Mt. Harris.
 
This Memorial was built by former residents of the Town of Mt. Harris.

 

 

History of Mt Harris

Mount Harris was founded in 1914, when the Colorado-Utah Coal Company purchased the land to begin a coal mining venture. Two brothers from Iowa, George and Byron Harris, were in charge of developing the mining town which would become home for many people for the next 44 years.

Mount Harris soon became noted as a 'model coal camp'. The streets were wide and tree lined and there was a large natural park of cottonwood trees that was made into a playground. The residential area was planned out generously, allowing for homes to be scattered with liberal yards and garden area for each family. A baseball park in the center of town was home to two town teams  and was used also for rodeos. Two doctors were in residence with one on call at all times. Despite the lack of a police force, there was rarely a disturbance in town.

The sand rocks from the Gibraltar rocks below the town, were used to build the business district. A single rock building housed a mine office, general store, drug store, pool hall, barber shop and a post office each with their own entrance. The town boasted three boarding houses in addition to a community center used for dances and movies. In 1916, the coal company built a four room grade school which burned and was replaced in 1930's by a larger building. Students attended high school in Hayden.

The Mines

Three mines operated in the area providing employment for Mt Harris residents.

The original Colorado- Utah Coal mine operated from 1914 to 1958. This mine was also known as the Harris Mine. Its entry ports were on the southside of the river.

The Wolf Creek Mine was started by the Zarlango Bros. / International Fuel Company  in 1915 was to the northeast of the Town and the Wadge Mine. It later became the Pinnacle- Kemmerer Coal Company and was called the PK Mine and operated until 1942.

 The Wadge Mine, which was opened in 1887 by homesteaders James and Sarah Wadge,  was bought by the Victor American Fuel Company in 1917. They expanded the mine and operated it until 1951. It was here that one of Colorado's worst mine disasters took place on January 27, 1942 where 34 miners lost their lives in an explosion devastating the community.

The entire Town of Mt Harris was auctioned off on May 20, 1958 all the buildings were either sold and moved or demolished and the materials sold off. All that remains are some foundations and remnants of structures and the memories of those who lived there.

 

 

 

 

 

Mt Harris looking north from across the river ca 1940's

 

 

 

 

Each Spring the Museum holds a cleanup day of the Memorial site with volunteers. In 2018 and 2019 The Rocky Mt. Youth Corp came out and volunteered at the site for cleanup while learning about the former Town. Throughout the summer the Museum tries to keep up with the weeding and trash pickup. We can always use help!

Contact the Museum for more information 970-276-4380 or if you would like to volunteer.

The Museum holds a biannual Mt. Harris Day event to commemorate the Town and the people who lived there. 

On July 18, 2021 the Annual Routt County Pioneer Picnic was held in conjunction with Mt. Harris Day on the former town site - thanks to the property owners!! 

Be sure to check out the updated exhibit on Mt. Harris at the Hayden Heritage Center!

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Projects

Moving Mt Harris: An Inventory & Survey of Buildings that were moved from Mt. Harris 1914-1958

We are excited to announce a new collaboration between the Hayden Heritage Center, Historic Routt County and the University of Colorado, Denver.
Historic Routt County and the Hayden Heritage Center are documenting the history of Mount Harris before and after it was dismantled. We are seeking information on the location of the 63 buildings that were auctioned and moved from Mount Harris. If you own a “Mount Harris House,” we want to hear from you! In a subsequent phase, this information will be compiled and, subject to owner approval, made available to the public as an interactive map to show how the town changed over time. If you have or know the location of a “Mt. Harris House" click the link to Historic Routt County Web page to fill out a contact form.

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