Montrose is located in western Colorado on U.S. Hwy 50. It's located midway between Grand Junction to the north along US 50 and Silverton to the south along US 550. Montrose is the northern terminal of U.S. Hwy 550. The City was founded in May of 1882 and became an important regional shipping center with the arrival of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. It became an important agricultural center in 1909 with completion of the Gunnison Tunnel providing irrigation water to the Uncompahgre Valley. The town is a popular destination for outdoor recreation, located in close proximity to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, the Ucompahgre Plateau, and the San Juan Mountains. For the less adventurous there is the Montrose Water Sports Park and Black Canyon Golf Course. The city has a botanic garden and three excellent cultural museums, and of course there are dozens of restaurants and taverns.
Montrose, like many Colorado towns, has sculptures scattered along many of its streets
Montrose has scads of historic structures built in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, though most have be repurposed. Many are on the National Register of Historic Places including Montrose City Hall, Montrose County Courthouse, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) lodge, and U.S. Post Office, all pictured in the previous section. Others are the Masonic Temple, United Methodist Church, and Denver and Rio Grande Train Depot.
First Knights of Pythias, 317-321 E. Main, built between 1899 and 1900. This building originally housed a drugstore and a bank, with the Knights of Pythias occupying the hall upstairs. The Montrose Elks Lodge #1053, established in Montrose in 1906, used this building until 1927, when they built a new building.
A.M. Harris Dry Goods, 345 E. Main (1886).
This building was originally built for the Buddecke and Diehl freighting business.
The Masonic Lodge held its meetings in the upstairs of this building prior to construction
of the Masonic Lodge building in 1911.
J.F. Wilson building, 347 E. Main (1899). J.F. Wilson's Outfitters was "without a doubt the largest and finest clothing and gents furnishing house on the Western Slope".
Montrose Botanic Gardens
The Montrose Botanic Gardens is a little gem of a park located on 3.5 acres of land adjacent to the Montrose Pavillion Event Center. It is administered by the Montrose Botanical Society and is open Thursday through Monday at no charge to the public. There is a promenade into the gardens that features a variety of annuals, perennials, and shrubs. There is an excellent xeriscape demonstration garden showcasing a variety of dry-land plants and informative placards describing xeriscape techniques.
Montrose County Historical Museum
The Montrose County Historical Museum is located on Rio Grande Ave practically in the heart of downtown Montrose. It's housed in the original Denver & Rio Grande railroad depot. The museum was founded in 1964 by the Montrose County Historical Society and its main focus is on early pioneer life in Montrose County and Western Colorado. Exhibits at the museum include a homesteader's cabin, horse-drawn farm equipment, and tons of artifacts from everyday life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Ute Indian Museum
The Ute Indian Museum was opened in 1956 on the former homestead of Ute Chief Ouray and his wife, Chipeta. The museum has expanded several times, with the latest additon in 2017. The museum celebrates the history and culture of the Nuche (the Ute People), both past and present. The 3 contemporary Ute tribes, the Southern Utes, the Uintah and Ouray Reservation Utes, and the Ute Mountain Utes are well represented. The museum includes interactive video displays, excellent exhibits, a photo gallery, and a gift shop featuring all things Ute.
Museum of the Mountain West
The Museum of the Mountain West was founded by archaeologist Richard Fike in 1997 with the aim of educating folks about life in the American West during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The museum contains some 500,000 artifacts that are uniquely displayed throughout the (fictional) western town of Adobe Flats. The town contains a hotel and saloon, church, schoolhouse, jail, homes, and other period businesses. Many of these are original buildings that have been moved to the museum. You can stroll down a reconstructed "Main Street" along which you will find a doctor's office, dentist's office, drug store, saloon, and cash store.
Montrose Farmers Market
I really like a good farmers market, and Montrose has one of the best. The Montrose Farmers Market is held every Saturday May through October. It's located downtown on the plaza between Main and South First streets. It features a variety of locally grown produce and arts and crafts.
Bonus - Covered Bridge Ranch
Covered Bridge Ranch is a 300 acre family owned and operated ranch located in the Uncompahgre Valley about 6 miles from downtown Montrose. The ranch operates Colorado Conifers wholesale tree nursery and Christmas tree farm. The ranch holds two special events each year, Pumpkins at the Covered Bridge and Christmas Trees at the Covered Bridge. Pumpkins is a great time, especially for the kids, with everything from the pumpkin patch, to farm animals, to a hay bale maze. But what I really enjoy is Christmas Trees at the Covered Bridge. I try to make it every year to select and cut my own Christmas tree. Then its over to the gift shop to check out the Christmas ornaments and lots of unique craft items while sipping a cup of excellent hot cider.
Bonus - The Boardwalk Shops
The Boardwalk Shops are a collection of really funky stores located on U.S. Hwy 550 south of Montrose. Shops include Antiques & Junque, Rustic Arts, the Rusty Moose, Le Emporium, and Seriously Whimsical Cottage. If you are looking for some really UNIQUE stuff, this is the place to shop.
Background information obtained from Montrose Visitor Center brochures,
Colorado.com, Atlas Obscura.com, and other online sources.
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