Fall 2020 Newsletter
     Looking back from December 2019, we would have said 2020 would be Buena Vista Heritage's most exciting year yet. Haha, it was, but unfortunately, not in quite the way we had envisioned! In the midst of what can only be called surreal times, we hope you and your loved ones are safe and well. When we began 2020, we never imagined we would be sending the fall newsletter during a global pandemic. Like you, we thought we would be in the middle of our usual activities, looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, life threw us all a major curveball. So, as a valued supporter, we are writing to let you know how Buena Vista Heritage has adjusted.

  We have a new outdoor exhibit that premiered this summer that showcases items from our mining and farming history and is available to enjoy even when the museum is closed. The mineshaft elevator, having been on its side for years, is now righted and shows just how small elevator shafts were to travel within a mine. The ore cart, also from our local mining history, would have traveled through the mine shafts transporting ore along a narrow gauge rail explicitly meant for mining. In-depth stories and photographs will be displayed on signage funded by donors and sponsors in the future. A big thank you to Rick Utiger for your help on this project. 

     Some of you locals might have noticed the absence of the courthouse lawn early in the summer season.  BVH's ancient sprinkler system had quite a few problems. After spending many weeks trying to isolate the problem, Kiki Lathrop, Brandon Wells, Ken Lant, and Wrex Harnish were finally able to resolve our outdoor plumbing issues and reactivate the sprinkler system.  Conrad Nelson, you are an angel coming to our rescue with the necessary funds to landscape the museum lawn.  We are looking forward to making additional improvements in the spring of 2021.

The Turner Farm Living History Museum was open to the public every Friday and Saturday thru the summer this year. If you missed the opportunity to visit, please check us out next year. Guided tours explore the two-acre property that includes the original homestead cabin, the two-story farmhouse, and seven additional historic buildings. Admission is $5.

     Due to the pandemic, many of our fun yearly events had to be re-imagined. For example, we created the "Friday @ the Farm Concert Series." Outdoor concerts allowed us and our neighbors to gather to share in great music, weather, and camaraderie. Turner Farm is located on two acres permitting us to come together as a community and still social distance to keep everyone safe. Many attendees brought picnic dinners to eat while listening to music. We are so grateful to all the musicians who performed this summer free of charge. All concerts were entered by donation, with the proceeds going to help the museum. BVH intends to make this an annual activity, so look for more great concerts in 2021.
      Earlier in June, we had our second annual Railfest. This year we decided to go with an online format and it is currently available on our website.,  https://www.buenavistaheritage.org/RailFest-Weekend Check it out.

     Apple picking at the Historic Turner Farm & Apple Orchard was a huge hit! During August and September, we invited the community to make an appointment to come to pick apples. The apple orchard was planted in 1910 and offers Wealthy, Transparent, and one Whitney Crabapple tree. This year the Wealthy variety had a bumper crop, and we harvested around 45 bushels. These heirloom apples are 100% organic and delicious.
The revenue made helped us replace the roof the local black bear tore off earlier in the summer. Fun fact, do you know insurance does not cover when a bear climbs upon the roof of your historic homestead cabin and rips off a section of wooden shingles? Also, a huge Thank You to Alpine Lumber for the donation of wooden shingles to help fix the problem.

At the Turner Farm, we did have some visitors that added an element of excitement to events and activities. A funny story that happened over the summer is that two ladies stopped and asked if the deer were tied up in people's yards? They wondered because they saw the same two in the morning at the Farm and the bucks were still there when they returned for the evening concert. It was explained that the deer are wild; however, they LOVE the apples in the yard. Quite a few "almost resident” BIG BUCKS love our grass, our shade, and especially our apples. Other apple loving visitors this year included bears (about 6 of them to be exact). They damaged a few of the trees hunting apples and left a lot of extra fertilizer, but they were exciting to see nonetheless. Throw in a badger, some mice, a fox, and a skunk, and that rounds out our uninvited visitor list for this year.

 On October 30th, the State Historical Fund awarded the 3rd grant to Buena Vista Heritage. This grant is Part I of the Window & Door restoration. The refurbishment will include the four lower windows, front entry door on the south elevation, plus the two upper windows on the backside of the 1882 Courthouse. We are so excited to begin this new project and want to thank our supporters. Our most generous partners are our visitors and our community! BVH has been overwhelmed with positive feedback about our beautifully restored cupola and how it makes the whole building look fantastic. (Grant project #2). 

     A huge problem that arose this year was our elevator. It desperately requires maintenance. ThyssenKrupp installed it in 1997 through a massive fundraising campaign conducted in our community. Regrettably, we need money for a new motor and to update some of the critical equipment. The cost is approximately $55,000. We will be looking for grants to help with this expense and we are asking for donations from our community. FYI...almost every grant requires at least a 25% cash match in order to be awarded any of the grant money.
It is essential to provide access to the second floor for disabled individuals and/or anyone who would find the main staircase challenging to climb.

     For the bride who is looking for a unique venue for her wedding day, the Historic 1882 County Courthouse is a picturesque building that is the perfect location to capture your special day. It is a great place to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Tell your friends and family about this beautiful venue.  Have a look at BVH's Wedding photo gallery!  https://www.buenavistaheritage.org/Weddings and Rentals

BVH has been identifying and digitizing our photo collection and has completed over one thousand thus far.  Some of these will show up in the Chaffee County Times this fall to highlight Buena Vista and the surrounding area.  If you have any old family photos of this area, let us know if we could scan them and return them to you.

     Buena Vista Heritage bid a farewell to our Director, Kiki Lathrop, at the end of September. She has been with us since 2017, and we were fortunate to have her.  She received an offer she couldn't refuse for full-time employment with the Boys & Girls Club.  Luckily for BVH, she became a member of the BVH  Board of Directors and will continue to work behind the scenes.  In addition, we added two new board members,  welcome Doyle Nyberg and Ken Lant! We say to Bill Baker, goodbye and thank you for all your tremendous hard work while serving on the Board of Directors. Remaining members include Vic Kuklin as  President, George Barnett as Vice President, Kathi Perry as Treasurer, Judy Hassell as Secretary, Suzy Kelly, Melanie Milam Roth, Rhonda Funston, and Ken Pearce. Lisa Wagner remains the Assistant Director and Bookkeeper. This year, regular volunteers included Bea Harnish, Ron Rak, Mike Perry, Ron Hassell,  Nancy Boyson, and Leslie Pearce. All of the people mentioned above are the ones that keep BVH moving forward.

     Finally, We would like to thank our community for your generous spirit.  By the end of June 2020, we were afraid we would have to close the museum's doors indefinitely. We had run out of money and could not pay the bills.  However, between PPP, Chaffee County Community Foundation,  and many, many supporters, we were able to get back on our feet.  Thank you for helping us continue to create community and give this support, even in the middle of a global pandemic! We are going to get through this because of YOU: Your resilience, Your faith; Your humanity.


Buena Vista Heritage
P.O. Box 1414
Buena Vista, CO 81211