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Historical Society

Your historical resource for Crawford Country & Hotchkiss Colorado

The museum houses permanent displays of historic artifacts, a large collection of historic photographs, and a living room diorama. Visitors may find old-time business equipment, marvelous clothing and accessories, antique medical supplies, recent acquisitions, unidentified “mystery” objects, and much more on rotating displays.


Adjacent to the museum is a fully-furnished turn-of-the-century log cabin.

Those wishing to do research or thumb through books related to local history are welcome to spend time in the museum’s reference library where they will find photo albums, yearbooks, oral history transcripts and tapes, as well as obituary files.

Docents can assist with genealogical research.


A nice selection of books focusing on local and Colorado history is also available in the Museum bookstore.

Upcoming Event:

John D. Morrissey and the Diamond Joe Ranch on Crystal Creek: Legend or Myth?
A fact is something known to exist or have happened.  A legend is an account of an extraordinary happening believed to have actually occurred.  A myth is a widely held but false belief or idea. Tales about the settlement of the Western Slope of Colorado often contain stories of abuse of the land by greedy and unprincipled Americans.  Can these tales be verified by historical facts or are they legends or even myths?  John D. Morrissey was a colorful and fascinating character who succeeded and failed on a grand scale.
On Saturday, June 15 at 2:00 at the Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society Museum (180 S. 2nd St) Dave Bradford will present information representing the facts of John D. Morrissey’s Diamond Joe Ranch as best as can be determined.
Danny Cotten, a longtime supporter of HCHS, asked Dave to help research this project. Danny had grown up in Crawford area and spent most of his childhood in the Crystal Creek Valley and Black Mesa. As Danny grew older and began studying the history of the place he grew up in, he developed a need to know the truth of John Morrissey and the Diamond Joe Ranch.  A lifetime of looking at the old “Diamond Joe Cow Camp” that still sits near his family’s property on Crystal Creek seemed to fuel the interest.
Dave Bradford is a 3rd generation native of Colorado.  His family has been in Colorado since 1910.  He was born and raised on the eastern plains at the base of the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies in the Littleton area.  Dave graduated from Colorado State University in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Range/Forest Management.  He worked for the United States Forest Service in Wyoming, South Dakota and Colorado for 34 years.  While working as a forest ranger, he specialized i range management.  Dave retired in 2013.  He has resided in Paonia since 1993.  Dave was the lead author of the book “When the Grass Stood Stirrup-high: Facts, Photographs and Myths of West-Central Colorado.”

For more information contact the museum at or call 970-872-3780.

Explore a Digital Exhibit:

HCHS 2023 Recap


Needle Rock Ditch


Gould Reservoir

Postcards from Lazear


Hanson Mesa

Gettin Around

Links to our Collections:

Audio Archives

Geneological Assistance

Video Archives

Historic Newspapers



Permanent Exhibits