Buena Vista Heritage is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit organization that exists to preserve and share the history of Buena Vista and Chaffee County for the education and enjoyment of the public.  Our goal is to preserve, protect and restore any historical site, building, and artifact pertaining to the Town of Buena Vista, Chaffee County, as well as areas in central and/or western Colorado.  We want to recreate and share the special stories unique to our area.

 Our organization and properties are managed by a limited staff and lots of volunteers. Volunteer? We would love to have you!

$5 Raffle Tickets
This prize pack includes: 
  • Signed copy of Edward S. Curtis: Unpublished Alaska
  • Native Land Native People from the Edward S. Curtis Collection
  • 11x14" fine art print of "Woman with Scarf, Joe's Mother"- on Hahnemühle Torchon paper, a pure cellulose watercolor paper with a distinct textured surface. It will be mounted on 3mm white styrene to prevent warping.

Prize Pack Valued at over $400

Winner will be drawn August 20th at 7:00pm at Turner Farm.  You do not need to be present to win.  

(Buena Vista Heritage Raffle License #2021-16826)

Click Here to Purchase Your Raffle Ticket

Limited Time Only!!!

The Buena Vista Heritage Museum is proud to present the exhibit “Edward S. Curtis: Unpublished Alaska,” comprised of unpublished Edward Curtis photographs taken in Alaska, on loan from the Curtis Legacy Foundation. This show opens on August 1st and runs through August 15th.

This extraordinary exhibit is based on the recently released book Edward S. Curtis: Unpublished Alaska, Photographs and Personal Journals written by Coleen and John Graybill. John is the great-grandson of Edward Curtis, and their foundation is based right here in Buena Vista.

After spending more than 30 years photographing and documenting the North American Indians, Edward Sherriff Curtis (1868-1952) has become world-renowned for his portrayal of Native life prior to assimilation. His three decades of work culminated in a 20-volume encyclopedia with a portfolio of additional large photogravure prints to accompany each volume. Every image included depicted the life, beauty, and dignity of the Native Peoples he came to hold in high esteem.

We invite you to visit our exhibit and walk-through time as Edward Curtis takes you on his harrowing journey on the Bering Sea in the summer of 1927. As written in his personal journal, his first-hand accounts bring to life his final field season to complete The North American Indian project. This Alaskan voyage is truly an example of the tenacity it took for Curtis to complete his grand opus. Between the towering gale-driven seas breaking over the deck, the blizzard snow conditions, the falling barometers, and the hole in the boat, it is a miracle he and his crew lived to tell this story.

Included with excerpts from Curtis’ historic journal will be 16 of the 100 previously unpublished photographs included in the book. These images have been seen by a few and are sure to add cultural and genealogical information to Alaska’s already rich history and delight every Curtis fan across the globe!

Coleen and John Graybill will be giving two different presentations, talking about his great-grandfather’s life and work and how they are carrying the Curtis legacy forward with their Descendants Project and this book. They will also be on hand for book signings to acquire your very own 9” x 12” 300-page coffee table book, making an excellent addition to your personal library.

“Edward S. Curtis: Unpublished Alaska” Exhibit
August 1st – 15th, 2021
August 7th – 3:00 pm Book Signing
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm Edward S. Curtis: The Legacy and the Man by Coleen & John Graybill
5:30 pm Book signing following the presentation
August 14th - 3:00 pm Book Signing
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm Edward S. Curtis: Unpublished Alaska by Coleen & John Graybill
5:30 pm Book signing following the presentation

Edward S. Curtis: The Legacy and the Man – John and Coleen Graybill, great-grandson of Edward Curtis, not only are outstanding experts on Curtis’ works and life, but they also are deeply passionate about preserving Edward Curtis’ insights and understanding of Native American culture. With their love for photography and history, John and Coleen will weave the bond between Curtis’ images and his passion for sharing the indigenous lifestyle and spiritual ways. The family tradition is to be continued.

Edward S. Curtis: Unpublished - Occasionally, unpublished Edward Curtis photographs surface, but never in history has 100 emerged at once! Join Coleen and John Graybill, great-grandson of Edward Curtis, to share how these images came to the surface, their significance, and details about the book and the Alaska Natives.

For more information on the Curtis Legacy Foundation Exhibit, please visit: www.curtislegacyfoundation.org.

Thank you!!!

Buena Vista Heritage would like to thank Jay Smith as the President of Collegiate Peaks Bank in Buena Vista for the very generous donation toward the matching funds needed for the restoration of windows and the doorway of the Old Chaffee County Courthouse.   Jay has been President of the bank since 2019 and is a tremendous asset to our local community.   He actively participates and cares deeply about our town, and he also volunteers and serves as President of the Chamber of Commerce.

 BVH is working on our 3rd grant through the Colorado State Historical Fund, and in this grant cycle, we are reburnishing 4 of the lower windows in the front, two upper windows on the backside, along with the entry doorway.  To receive the SHF grant, Buena Vista Heritage is required to raise matching funds in the amount of $17,723.00.  We are excited to announce this project will begin in late March 2021!

Buena Vista Heritage is excited to announce that KOA Journey in Buena Vista found buried treasure on their property. Well, we history nuts consider it a treasure: a horse-drawn hay mower and plow, two wagon axels with wheels, as well as an early model motorized ice saw on their property. This past Friday, they donated the items to the museum and we are so excited to exhibit these cool pieces of history! Thankfully Gunsmoke Towing generously offered to move everything because it was quite a job getting the artifacts to our locations. The Historic Turner Farm & Apple Orchard is the new house for the farm equipment located at 829 West Main Street, and the Ice Saw will become part of an outdoor exhibit located at the 1882 Historic County Courthouse 506 East Main Street. We can wait to show off our new items when we reopen around Memorial Day! 

Buena Vista Heritage would like to say a heartfelt thank you to The Lettucehead Food Company and The Arkansas Valley Car Club for making substainal contributions to our organization for 2021. Our board of directors and staff are grateful for this support.

The Letucehead made a $2000 donation to Buena Vista Heritage this holiday season.  Tom Liverman, the owner, has been a supporter of Buena Vista Heritage for many years. The Lettucehead emblem is from the Buena Vista Heritage collection. Buenakist was the name used 100 years ago by head lettuce growers in this area.  The Lettucehead Food Company carries vitamins, supplements, fresh organic food, many gluten free items and a full line of food products.   For more information check out their facebook page under The Lettucehead Food Company.

The  Arkansas Valley Car Club made a generous donation of $1,530.00 to the Courthouse Museum and the Depot and Transportation  Museum.  With this donation BVH will create new exhibits highlighting transportation in the Arkansas Valley explicitly dealing with automobiles.  The Arkansas Valley Car Club is a family-oriented organization.  All car and truck enthusiasts are invited to join the fun.  AVCC  held its first meeting in 1986 and have donated extensively to students and community organizations. At the end of 2020, AVCC membership voted to dissolve its corporate and non-profit statuses.  The club continues as a social entity to attend area car shows, swap meets,  regular fun gatherings and will continue to participate in the Adopt-A-Highway program sponsored by the Colorado Department of Transportation. For more information about the club go to (www.facebook.com/avcc.carclub.5).

Buena Vista Heritage's mission is to preserve and share Buena Vista and Chaffee County's history for the public's education and enjoyment. We preserve, protect and restore any historical sites, buildings and artifacts relating to the Town of Buena Vista, Chaffee County, and central and western Colorado.  Our goal is to remember and share the remarkable stories unique to our area.


The Window and Door Restoration for the Chaffee County Courthouse (Buena Vista Heritage Museum)

The Historic Courthouse has a long history in the Town of Buena Vista. The original windows remain intact but are in poor condition and require restoration. The third State Historical Fund Grant provided funds for the comprehensive construction documents for all the window and door restoration plus the physical work to complete 6 of the windows and the front door.

First Floor - South Elevation. We chose these four windows, as their restoration will impact our visitors (the most visible). These windows were in fair to poor condition. The meeting rails no longer meet and seal, allowing moisture into the building. The upper and lower sashes have also deteriorated. The joints are loose and minor rot is visible at the joints, especially at the bottom rail. There is significant rot at the meeting rail with open joints and deterioration of the meeting rail to a point where it has slipped, opening the joints between the upper sash stiles and meeting rail, allowing glazing to become loose. The glazing is intact, but the glazing is loose in the upper sash and could continue to deteriorate until it falls out of the sash. The glazing putty throughout the window is in poor condition and partially missing. The exterior of the window is in poor condition and heavily weathered. The bottom rail has significant deterioration of the paint, with peeling, chipping, and alligatoring paint. The window stool has peeling paint and minor paint alligatoring and splits in the wood from heat buildup and the age of the wood and finishes. The hardware on the window is in fair/poor condition. The sash lifts & ropes are painted, making the window non-operational.
Second Floor: North Elevation. We chose this window because it is in poor to critical condition. There is visible damage to the bottom rails of both sashes, and the glazing putty on these sashes is mostly missing. There is a gap between the bottom sash and the sash stop, and the sash is very loose in the opening. The bottom rail of the top sash is also in critical condition as it appears that the bottom rail has slipped down, allowing the glazing to become loose in the opening. The bottom rails of both sashes are deteriorated with open joints and dry, brittle wood and peeling paint on the exterior. The interior finish no longer exists, and bare wood is visible where moisture damage has occurred. The sash stops on the interior and exterior are damaged and split. The hardware on the window is in fair to poor condition. The sash lift and ropes are painted, making the window non-operational.
Entry Door: The door is in fair condition. There is paint chipping from the surface, exposing bare wood. The wood bead at the glazing is in varying degrees of deterioration, but most are in fair condition. The lower left pane of glass in the north leaf has lost a portion of the wood bead, and the glazing is now held in by caulk. One pane in the transom glass is cracked and has a hole in it. Hardware: The hardware appears to be in good condition and operates as intended. The historic hardware that is installed on the inactive leaf is a bit stiff from no use. The trim is in fair condition with some open joints in the panels near the base of the door, and the opening between the wood paneling and masonry opening allows water and moisture to enter the wall cavity. Markings on the masonry jamb indicate that there was a trim piece at one time.
90% of the work is complete, with the balance to be finished before fall 2021.


Thanks to our sponsors
Buena Vista Heritage
P.O. Box 1414
Buena Vista, CO 81211