Westcliffe, Colorado Tour

Westcliffe State Bank

Westcliffe State Bank

(2nd and Main) – Constructed in 1899, the bank’s vault can still be seen as you walk inside.  These days it is used as a huge filing cabinet by the present owners.  The old bank was used as a set for the move ‘Comes a Horseman’.  The old bank, which is a well maintained structure, is now the home of Westcliffe Properties, LLC.

Westcliffe Feed Store

Westcliffe Feed Store

(2nd Street North) Built in the late 1880’s of post and beam construction, the posts, measuring one foot by one foot which are set on stone cellar walls that are two feet thick.  The building was moved from the Beddows Ranch, which was 15 miles north of Westcliffe, to the present location on 2nd Street, when the Denver & Rio Grande Standard Gauge Railroad cut through the Beddow’s family land.  Restored in 1981 as a restaurant and bar, the building is now privately owned.

The Westcliffe Calaboose

The Westcliffe Calaboose

The Calaboose (behind the Jones Theater) is how the old town records refer to the town’s original jail.  Built in 1888 at a cost of $330 it is made of local (native) stone which provided a cool, dry resting place for many a cowboy who whooped it up on “Dutch Row”.  The roof was constructed of two-by-tens set side by side on edge and secured with square nails.  This deterred escapes through the roof.  Its two small cells do not quite meet today’s standards for a correctional facility.  A small wood stove sat in the entryway for heat.  One night in the 1920’s , the calaboose held nine men.  The Marshall at that time said that he rarely had repeaters, which he attributed to less than comfortable conditions.  In 1985 a false roof was constructed over the remaining two-by-tens to protect the integrity of the building.  The building is on the National Register of Historical Places.

Dutch Row

Dutch Row is a block on 2nd Street which was named for the many German owned businesses.  The saloons on this street were popular with the cowboys who hired on at the valley ranches.  They reportedly enjoyed shooting out the lights of the saloons from horseback.  This may be why Dutch Row burned to the ground twice.  The legend of its second burning is, that the drunken cowboys who formed the bucket brigade to fight the fire, became interested in a water fight instead and played while the saloons of Dutch Row burned.  Dutch Row is now home to shops, businesses and office buildings

Hard Time Hotel

Hard Times Hotel

(209 South 2nd Street)  a/k/a National Hotel or Wolff Hotel which was built in 1887.  This was Westcliffe’s 1st hotel and is the only remaining stone-front building in Westcliffe.  Wm. Wolff, original owner, was a Westcliffe pioneer and one of the petitioners for the incorporation of the town in 1887.  It originally housed a saloon and was an overnight stop for area visitors as well as a rooming house for miners and ranch workers in Custer County.  Through the years, it served Westcliffe as a hotel, boarding house, apartment, restaurant, saloon, billiard and gambling hall, garage, market, ice cream parlor, and currently, though privately owned, intended to be maintained on the National Register of Historic Places.  The rear of the building, which appeared to be a barn-like structure, is said to have been a blacksmith shop.  Today, that section may be converted into an apartment space.

The First High School in the Wet Mountain Valley

The First High School in the Wet Mtn Valley

(200 Main) The school was located on the upper floor of this stone building, which is now privately owned.  The upper floor of this building was also used to show movies, even before the “talkies”.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

St. Luke's Episcopal Church

(201 So. 3rd Street) One of the most picturesque churches in Westcliffe.  This church was originally built in the silver mining town of Rosita.  It was moved to Silver Cliff, when this town was chosen county seat in an election in 1886.  The change was bitterly and violently protested by the Rosita residents who took up arms!  Again in 1914, St. Luke’s was moved from Broadway Street in Silver Cliff to it’s present location in Westcliffe.  14 years later, Silver Cliff lost it’s status as county seat to Westcliffe in a 1928 election.  The first church bell in the area was presented to St. Luke’s in the early 1880’s by Mr. Baily of the Racine Boy Silver Mine.  There was also a cross that was inlayed with silver from the Racine Boy Silver Mine.

Westcliffe Memorial (Town) Park

Memorial Arch

(Next to Old “Westcliff” School) Picnic tables, playground and public restrooms.  It was built as a memorial park in memory of WWII Vetrans.  The Annuyalo Jazz in the Sangres Festival is held here the second weekend of August

Hope Lutheran Church

Hope Lutheran Church

(312 So. 3rd Street) Built on this site in 1917, it houses one of the oldest Lutheran congregations in the state, organized in 1872, when a group of German colonists settled in an area about 12 miles southwest of Westcliffe.  Many descendants of these early settlers still live in the valley.  The cross on the 96 foot steeple was originally covered with gold leaf.  The church is on the National Register of Historical places.

Old “Westcliff” School

Old Westcliffe School

(Note the spelling-302 So. 4th Street) This large stone structure was built in 1891 as a two-room school house.  It was used until consolidation brought children from the many one-room schoolhouses in the county to the newly constructed Custer County School on Main Street in Westcliffe.  It has become part of the community, and is now home to the Valley Park & Recreation Center, the Fremont Historical Society/Custer Chapter, and the Frontier Pathways Scenic & Historic National Byway.  Many community organizations use the Old “Westcliff” School as well.  The Building is on the National Register of Historical Places.

The Denver & Rio Grande Train Depot

(On Main Street across from Westcliffe Super Market) -Now a private residence, the depot served the community until 1937, at which time the D&R Standard Gauge Railroad was physically removed.  The depot was constructed in 1901 & 1902, when the Rio Grande brought a branch line from Texas Creek to Westcliffe.  20 years earlier (1881) Westcliffe was founded, when the Denver & Rio Grande built a Narrow Gauge Line hugging the meandering cliffs of Grape Creek.  The railroad started in Canon City and terminated in Westcliffe.  This line was abandoned in 1889 after much of the rail bed was destroyed by floods along Grape Creek.

Contact the Westcliffe Town Hall for more information (719) 783-2282.