“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
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Historical Markers and War Memorials in Montezuma County, Colorado

Clickable Map of Montezuma County, Colorado and Immediately Adjacent Jurisdictions image/svg+xml 2019-10-06 U.S. Census Bureau, Abe.suleiman; Lokal_Profil;; J.J.Prats/dc:title> Montezuma County, CO (62) Dolores County, CO (7) La Plata County, CO (32) San Juan County, CO (51) Apache County, AZ (48) San Juan County, NM (28) San Juan County, UT (47)  MontezumaCounty(62) Montezuma County (62)  DoloresCounty(7) Dolores County (7)  LaPlataCounty(32) La Plata County (32)  SanJuanCounty(51) San Juan County (51)  ApacheCountyArizona(48) Apache County (48)  SanJuanCountyNew Mexico(28) San Juan County (28)  SanJuanCountyUtah(47) San Juan County (47)
Cortez is the county seat for Montezuma County
Adjacent to Montezuma County, Colorado
      Dolores County (7)  
      La Plata County (32)  
      San Juan County (51)  
      Apache County, Arizona (48)  
      San Juan County, New Mexico (28)  
      San Juan County, Utah (47)  
Touch name on this list to highlight map location.
Touch blue arrow, or on map, to go there.
1 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Belmont Bar110 E. Main
This building was originally constructed in 1900. The most notable occupant at this site was the Belmont Bar, a rough and raucous local drinking establishment during the 1950s and '60s. The 1930s storefront is of an "art deco” character . . . Map (db m153363) HM
2 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument encompasses 164,000 acres of southwest Colorado. It was established on June 9, 2000, to protect the cultural and natural resources of the canyons and mesas. For hundreds of years, the canyons and . . . Map (db m160230) HM
3 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Charles Duff Mercantile1889
Originally the site of the Charles Duff Mercantile (circa 1889), was a pioneer Cortez commercial establishment and one of Cortez' first mercantile stores. This southwest corner of Main and Market Streets has long been an important part of . . . Map (db m153372) HM
4 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Citizens State Bank(Standard Oil Distributorship) • circa 1933
Around the turn of the century, this corner was a popular downtown hitching rail, a place where business patrons tied up their horses. One of the earliest buildings on the property was the Herman building which stood near . . . Map (db m160166) HM
5 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Colorado(Four Corners)
Colorado Territory was created in 1861 for its gold, silver and other mineral resources. Its western boundary was designated as 32 degrees of longitude west of the Washington Meridian. Colorado became a state in 1876. In 1878, U.S. Surveyor . . . Map (db m36527) HM
6 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Cortez Post Office1908
The original building on this site was built for Dr. G.H. Harrington in 1886. After the wood frame one-story building was destroyed in the Clinton Hotel Fire in 1907, the existing two-story sandstone building was constructed and served as the U.S. . . . Map (db m153365) HM
7 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Cortez Public School (Calkins)circa 1909
Originally constructed in 1909 by Pete Baxstrom using rock quarried from the Baxstrom quarry, the Calkins building was built in three separate phases. An addition to the building shown in the photograph was added in 1923 and the final addition to . . . Map (db m153373) HM
8 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Cortez Travel (Duncan Beauty Shop)circa 1942
Originally the site of the Clark Mercantile (1890), this building has served a variety of downtown business functions over the past century. Mary Bensey and her three daughters ran a laundry on the lower level and rented the rooms upstairs during . . . Map (db m153357) HM
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9 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — E.R. Lamb Mercantile1909
Constructed in 1909 by the E. R. Lamb family, this building first housed E. R. Lamb Mercantile. The store was advertised "as replete with a full line of furniture, general merchandise, millinery, drugs, paints, oils, and building . . . Map (db m153371) HM
10 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Four Corners ResettledCommunity Connections
Community Connections Welcome to the Four Corners! As you explore this area and visit the National Parks, Monuments, and National Forest lands or drive on the San Juan Skyway, you will be traveling through a number of communities... . . . Map (db m160181) HM
11 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Greening the Valley
Starting in the 1880's, construction of the original irrigation canals and lateral ditches was done by hand using teams of horses and mules. Equipment was simple and crude by today's standards, consisting of horse drawn graders, scrapers and hand . . . Map (db m153384) HM
12 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Journal Building37 E. Main
The Montezuma Valley Journal is the oldest continuous business in Montezuma County. On April 28, 1888, four years prior to the town's incorporation, John Curry from Telluride began publication of the Montezuma Journal through various owners, . . . Map (db m153358) HM
13 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Marshal W.G. Clucas Residence48 W. Main
The original building at this location, constructed about 1890, was the residence of W.G. Clucas, Town Marshal of Cortez from 1910 to 1920. During the 1920s, J.A. McCabe operated a store in the building from which he sold . . . Map (db m160169) HM
14 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Mead & Hengstler Lumber111 E. Main
Lumber and hardware businesses have operated at this location since the early 1900s. The outbuildings and frame construction buildings in back of the main structure were built around 1900. The front portion of the building was constructed of . . . Map (db m153362) HM
15 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Mesa Verde Administrative District
. . . Map (db m58964) HM
16 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Montezuma County Court HouseCirca 1937
Originally located one block to the south on the corner of First and Chestnut Streets, the Montezuma County Court House was constructed on this site in 1937. The designation of Cortez as the County Seat reflected the vision of our pioneer leaders . . . Map (db m154905) HM
17 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Montezuma Title & Realty29 E. Main
Built in 1884, this is one of the earliest commercial buildings in downtown Cortez. Prior to the turn of the 20th century, this building was home to the First National Bank of Cortez. A walk-in vault that is still in place today was installed . . . Map (db m153359) HM
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18 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Montezuma Valley National Bank1908
The first Cortez bank, the Montezuma Valley National Bank was constructed in 1908. The building in constructed of native sandstone in a vernacular, commercial architectural theme with Classical Greek Revival details. Like the Stone Block . . . Map (db m153364) HM
19 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Notah Dineh Trading Company & Museum345 W. Main
One of the first businesses located on this site was the Hi-way Station, a gas station, grocery and small trailer park owned by the Charlie Bowers family. Bowers sold the property to the McGee family. The existing building was . . . Map (db m153356) HM
20 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Nu-Way Western Wear33 E. Main
The original site of Nu-Way Western Wear (circa 1928) was a building used as a saddle, tack and harness shop. The small shop also included a boot and shoe repair space. The owners expanded the building and opened a full-service shoe store that . . . Map (db m153361) HM
21 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Office Outpost (J.C. Penney Building)circa 1953
The building was built by the Anna and T. Gai family in 1953 and housed the local J.C. Penney's store from 1953 until the late 1980’s. The building is representative of the 1950's chain store prototype using modern extruded aluminum storefront . . . Map (db m153367) HM
22 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Owl Café125 E. Main
In 1933 or '34, Frank McNeill purchased the Owl Café from Dr. Johnson, who owned the building, and Mike Spyres, who ran the restaurant. McNeill received one of the first liquor licenses in the state of Colorado after prohibition was repealed, . . . Map (db m153375) HM
23 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Prehistoric Mesa Verde Reservoirs
National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark [American Society of Civil Engineering 1852 Logo] Prehistoric Mesa Verde Reservoirs Mesa Verde's industrious Ancestral Puebloans designed, constructed, and maintained Morefield, . . . Map (db m58965) HM
24 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Preserving the McElmo Creek Flume
The McElmo Creek Flume was in use from the 1890s to the 1990s, carrying water for over a hundred years. After it was abandoned, it remained in good condition until 2006, when a flash flood carried debris into the trough and damaged the wooden top. . . . Map (db m153382) HM
25 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Soldier's Homestead140 W. Main
The original 80-acre Soldier's Homestead, located in La Plata County, was conveyed by the United States to Algernon S. Dutton in December, 1886. After Monteruma County was formed in 1889, portions of the land were sold. Block 28 of the original . . . Map (db m153370) HM
26 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — The Native Americans12,000 Years of History
For more than 12,000 years, Native American people have inhabited this area. As the Ice Age ended, these nomadic people hunted bison and mastodons in the valleys, and gathered plants along the edges of glacial lakes and wetlands. . . . Map (db m160236) HM
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27 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Veterans MemorialGod • Duty • Honor • Country
In honor and memory of all men and women who served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America [State Seals of the] Four Corners U.S.A. Dedicated July 4, 1991Map (db m160176) WM
28 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — War Memorial
Dedicated to Montezuma County War VeteransMap (db m160178) WM
29 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Water is Our Story
The McElmo Creek Flume No. 6 is the last remaining example of 104 Wooden Flumes used to convey water diverted from the Dolores River to irrigate croplands and provide domestic water to the greater Montezuma Valley. Cortez, Montezuma County and . . . Map (db m153387) HM
30 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Water Technology
Over the last 150 years, technology to store water and deliver it to local farmland has continually changed and improved. Increasing efficiency, reducing salinity, applying water to uneven or elevated areas, and automating systems are among the . . . Map (db m153388) HM
31 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Welcome to the San Juan Skyway
Welcome to Cortez, Colorado, and the San Juan Skyway — a 232-mile loop drive that will take you into the heart of the San Juan Mountains on state-maintained, paved highways. The San Juan Skyway was designated a Forest Service Scenic . . . Map (db m160180) HM
32 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Wilson (Stone Block) Building1889
A symbol of the commercial stability of Cortez over the past century, the Stone Block Building was constructed in 1889 by the Baxstrom brothers from stone quarried west of Cortez in Hartman Draw. The building stood idle for several years and . . . Map (db m153368) HM
33 Colorado, Montezuma County, Cortez — Yucca House National Monument
Yucca House National Monument Dec. 19, 1919. A fine example of a valley pueblo being held by National Park ServiceMap (db m71498) HM
34 Colorado, Montezuma County, Dolores — Big Bend and McPhee
In 1776 the year of our independence, a family was led by two Catholic priests, father Dominguez and Escalante. They camped in a meadow on the Dolores River which in 105 years became the town of Big Bend. Big Bend had several saloons, a saw mill, a . . . Map (db m52402) HM
35 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mancos — 1892 Horse-Drawn Pull Grader
With thanks and appreciation to Pete and Yvonne Doerfer for loaning the following items: For display only - please do not climb on this equipment. 1892 Horse-Drawn Pull Grader J.D. Adams invented the first successful . . . Map (db m122034) HM
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36 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mancos — Bauer House
"Chiseled from Mancos Hill, George Bauer began to construct his home in June, 1889. The home was finished in December, 1890. Many Mancos residents pitched in to help with construction; however, the masonry was hand hewn by George. George Bauer . . . Map (db m153406) HM
37 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mancos — Cedar Grove Cemetery Veterans' Memorial
"All Gave Some"... "Some Gave All"... None Sacrificed Honor... On behalf of all veterans and their families, this memorial is hereby dedicated in service to Community, State and Nation by the members of John Derrick Halls Post #5231, . . . Map (db m207343) WM
38 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mancos — Cortez
Sleeping Ute Mountain Sprawling ten miles across the highlands west of here, Sleeping Ute Mountain comprises no fewer than seven separate peaks — and at least as many legends. According to one, the mountain took shape eons ago when a . . . Map (db m153394) HM
39 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mancos — Four Corners
Ancient Valley Cultures Their homes may now be less visible than the cliff dwellings of their Mesa Verde neighbors, but the ancient farmers of southwestern Colorado were far more numerous. By the twelfth century perhaps 12,000 people tilled . . . Map (db m153392) HM
40 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mancos — Mancos High School
Entered on the National Register of Historic Places, the Mancos High School building was constructed in 1909. It is the oldest high school in continuous use in the state of Colorado.Map (db m153405) HM
41 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mancos — Mancos Opera HouseBuilt 1910
Has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United states Department of the Interior January 9, 1988. Placed on the State Register of Historic Places January 27, 1988. This plaque was purchased . . . Map (db m121094) HM
42 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mancos — Mesa Verde Country
Clockwise, from top left: Six ancestral Puebloan villages dating to around A.D. 1200 can be visited at Hovenweep National Monument although only Square Tower Sites are easily reached. The other sites are more remote and are not . . . Map (db m153391) HM
43 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mancos — Southwest Survival
Dryland Farming The first workable system for farming Colorado's dry southwestern plateau emerged near here some 2,000 years ago. Over the next twelve centuries, ancient farmers gradually developed a series of techniques — water storage, . . . Map (db m153389) HM
44 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mancos — The Columbine BarEst. 1910
As legend has it, The Columbine Bar was established in 1910, and continues to be one of the oldest operating bars in Colorado. In 1948 it was described in the Mancos Times as "an old bar run by old timers." It has always had a rather notorious . . . Map (db m121092) HM
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45 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde — Canyon BarriersMesa Verde National Park
Surrounded by deep canyons, villages here seem isolated, cut off from people on other mesas. Look closely at these cliffs and imagine hand and toe trails pecked into the sheer sandstone. These vertical trails were the Anasazi’s highways; steep . . . Map (db m71206) HM
46 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde — Oak Tree HouseMesa Verde National Park
Adapting to Alcoves To level the sloping alcove floor, the Anasazi filled in behind retaining walls. The altered floor not only supported rooms but also provided working space and a safe play area for children. Oak Tree House appears to . . . Map (db m71209) HM
47 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde — Pithouse LifeMesa Verde National Park
There is an enormous gap between identifying pithouse features—the hollows and scattered stones—and visualizing the inhabitants’ daily lives. Set in the four corner post holes, timbers supported a ceiling that was probably head-high. . . . Map (db m71203) HM
48 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde — Split-Level HistoryMesa Verde National Park
Mesa-top and Alcove Living Although the Puebloan used the cliff alcoves throughout the entire time they lived in Mesa Verde, the cliff dwellings themselves were not built until the final 75-100 years of occupation. For over 600 years these . . . Map (db m71207) HM
49 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — A Monument to Time
The rocks that house Mesa Verde's cliff dwellings have their own stories to tell. Deposition During the late Cretasceous period (about 90 million years ago) much of North America, including southwest Colorado and the present Rocky . . . Map (db m71530)
50 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — Cliff Dwelling Life
There are about 600 alcove sites in Mesa Verde National Park. About 90 percent contain fewer than 11 rooms. At least one-third are simply one room structures, probably storage rooms for a nearby cliff dwelling. There are only about a dozen cliff . . . Map (db m153353) HM
51 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — Far View Reservoir
Imagine this mesa top in A.D. 1150 with fields of corn, beans, and squash; supplemented with wild plants such as amaranth, tubers, and sunflowers. Children could be seen watering corn with clay water jars (ollas), and young men could be seen cutting . . . Map (db m71901) HM
52 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — Fire Temple
Dance Plaza Though the large alcove below is filled with Puebloan construction, there is no evidence of any habitation. The central pit – too large for domestic cook fires – held layer upon layer of ashes. Fire Temple’s size . . . Map (db m72559) HM
53 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — Hemenway House: What's in a Name?
The cliff dwelling across the canyon is named for Mary Tileston Hemenway who funded the first scientific archaeological expedition in the southwest. At the time cultural objects were often removed for souvenirs or profit. Hemenway's support provided . . . Map (db m153346) HM
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54 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — House of Many Windows
Creative inspiration The Ancestral Puebloans may have worked hard to survive here, but their lives were adorned with beauty and creativity. Intricately woven baskets, ornately decorated pottery, and colorfully plastered interiors speak of . . . Map (db m153344) HM
55 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — Knife apt description for this precarious access into Mesa Verde.
A traveler in 1892 described a trail on the ridge before you as the Crinkly Edge Trail. In 1911, just five years after the park was established, the trail became the Knife Edge Road, a new section of the main park road. Although scenic, the road was . . . Map (db m153342) HM
56 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — Mancos Valley
The town of Mancos, in the valley before you, historically served as the "Gateway to Mesa Verde." As word spread of the Wetherills' "discoveries," tourists flocked to the area. The Rio Grande Southern Railroad, serving Durano, Mancos, and . . . Map (db m71529) HM
57 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — Montezuma ValleyLand of the Ancient Pueblo People
Montezuma Valley (below you) and Mesa Verde (where you now stand) were once part of the Ancestral Pueblo homeland. Between 600 and 1280 CE*, hundreds of villages and farming communities thrived on the mesas, plateaus, and canyons that form this . . . Map (db m153343) HM
58 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — Natural Seep Springs
As you travel about Mesa Verde look for seep springs — ready sources of fresh water for the Ancestral Puebloans. Where is the Water? Moisture, in the form of rainfall or snowmelt, percolates through porous sandstone layers until it . . . Map (db m71531)
59 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — Ties that Bind
Although silent today, Cliff Palace is a reflective reminder of a people who settled among these cliffs, canyons, and mesa tops for a time, and then migrated to establish new communities and neighborhoods further south. Here, for 700 years, they . . . Map (db m153355) HM
60 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — Time of TransitionSun Point Pueblo
You are standing in the middle of what once was a medium-sized pueblo village and one of the last mesa top pueblos built on Mesa Verde. The tower and kiva, protected today by the shelter, were central to the community and were surrounded by at least . . . Map (db m153349) HM
61 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — Years of Activity
The move to the alcoves began around 1200 CE and by mid-century, there were more than 30 cliff dwellings in the Cliff and Fewkes Canyon neighborhood. Several are visible from here. Imagine these canyons filled with the sights and sounds of a . . . Map (db m153352) HM
62 Colorado, Montezuma County, Mesa Verde National Park — Years of Change
Children born in one of these cliff dwellings in 1225 CE experienced many changes in their lifetime. Over the course of roughly 75 years, they and their families witnessed the migration from mesa top villages into alcove communities; a significant . . . Map (db m153350) HM
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Jun. 7, 2023