Fremont County Heritage Commission

Fremont Count Historical CommissionWhat is the Fremont County Heritage Commission?

We were originally seven members appointed to the Fremont county heritage commission established by resolution #54, 2008. We now have approval to have nine members by resolution of May 2011. Designation of the county as a Preserve America County was part of the saving places movement started nationally. The requirements called for appointment of an advisory group to oversee historical treasures of the county. We have gained a great deal of credibility over the past four years, and we now have a new focus:

Local landmark status of our historic sites, structures and landscapes has become very important because of the possibility owners may wish to ask for Colorado historical fund grants. The Common Grant Application calls for indication of whether the site was designated a “Local Landscape”.

The Fremont County Heritage Commission (FCHC) was originally set up as representing each geographic area of the county, and the major interests of the citizens:

  • Cañon City area
  • Florence area (may include Williamsburg, Rockvale, Coal Creek)
  • Penrose area
  • Western Fremont County
  • Heritage museum: This consortium of Museums currently consists of:
    • Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center
    • Fremont Center for the Arts
    • Price Pioneer Museum in Florence
    • Museum of Colorado Prisons
    • Western Fremont County Historic Church Museum
  • Eduction (RE-1, RE-2, RE-3, Pueblo Community College, etc.)
  • Tourism industry
  • Two At Large seats were created because of attendance and interests

FCHC has designated 10 Fremont County landmarks to date and sponsors the Fall Heritage Festival.

2015 Annual Report & 2016 Goals

January 20, 2016

Mission Statement:  To identify, designate and promote Fremont County’s rich heritage.


  • Strive for accuracy and authenticity in all that we do.
  • Working to become recognized as an important advocate for Fremont County’s heritage and to increase the public’s awareness inside and outside of the county.
  • Working to assist Heritage related interests to connect, collaborate and coordinate throughout Fremont County.
  • Established, implemented, and awarded Fremont County Heritage Sites, results include designation of 10 sites and creation of recognition plaques.
  • Successfully sponsored an expanded fall heritage observation featuring 60 events countywide.
  • With Southern Rockies: Crossroads of Cultures, CDOT and local governments establishing Wayfinding Kiosks featuring the history of Fremont County communities.
  • Strengthened collaboration with numerous groups:
  • Partnership for National Fossil Days and Earth Science Week with BLM.
  • Partnership with Cañon City Geology Club, Fremont County Historical Society, Western Fremont Historical Society, Fremont County Tourism Commission, Gold Belt Scenic Byway.
  • Begun collaboration with the Fremont Planning Commission, providing support and input for the update of the county’s Master Plan.
  • Helped the commissioners with several “celebrations, dedications” etc.
  • Launched a website that in addition to the Commission now includes Fremont County Historical Society, Friends of the Museum, Crossroads Through Time Heritage Park and Fremont Stones ‘n Bones that has increased awareness of our Heritage mission and improved interaction with the public. Results included 8,000 visits and 30,000 heritage related downloads in 2015.
  • Collaborated with the Fremont County Tourism Council, Royal Gorge Regional Museum & History Center, Fremont County Historical Society, Western Fremont Historical Society and Fremont Stones ‘n Bones on 5 popular Self-Guided Heritage Tours. Distributed over 5,000 printed copies and 2,300 PDFs.
  • Investigated CLG Certified Local Government status and sought input from History Colorado, Park County and the Florence City Planner.
  • Furthered understanding of Fremont County people and heritage through the Spirits of the Past, who portray historic people and provide a historic link at events.
  • Offered classes at PCC Fremont Campus Senior Mini College on Local Landmark Designation, Fremont County Pioneers Cemeteries, Western Fremont Legends and Interesting Colorado Places.
  • Previous
    • Hosted “On the Road with History Colorado” in 2009.
    • Nominated the Deputy Warden’s House to be named as an Endangered Site by Colorado Preservation Inc. in 2010, the only site in Fremont County to be recognized.

Local Landmarks:

  • Install Plaques.
  • Encourage nomination of additional landmarks resulting in increased designations.
  • Recognize designations through an annual event, possible in conjunction with the Fall Festival and a future Heritage Booklet.

Self-Guided Tours and Heritage Booklets:

  • Hold an organizing meeting early in January jointly with FCTC for 2016 Colorado Tourism Office grant workgroup planning.
  • Identify groups to champion topics and provide peer review.
  • Potential new topics include:
  • Agricultural Heritage & Agritourism
  • Coal Camps
  • Penrose area
  • Cemeteries and Churches
  • Geology and Paleontology
  • Designated landmark sites
  • Overview of Fremont County Heritage
  • Determine how to fund on a sustainable basis. Who benefits?
  • Continue to Coordinate with Colorado Tourism Office and FCTC.

Certified Local Government:

  • Establish evaluation process:
    • Create a presentation that explains CLG status and defines the attributes.
    • Identify and Document benefits in consultation with other entities.
    • Will it be county wide? What other entities are interested in participating?
  • Involve County Planning Director, Florence Planning Director and the County Attorney
  • Invite History Colorado to make a presentation to create a common understanding including Planning Commission and staff as well as County Commissioners.
  • Based on input received, develop a proposal for Board of County Commissioners to consider.

Fall Heritage Festival:

  • Based on evaluation comments, Heritage Days are better than a Heritage weekend. (Too much in a concentrated time limits participation.)
  • Cluster events in a geographic area over a few days (Western Fremont, Cañon City, Florence, Coal Towns, Penrose.)
  • Link events that bring visitors (like the Harvest Festival at the Abbey) and provide additional heritage activities to support the event and keep people longer.
  • Hold an organizing meeting early in the year and restructure the organizing team to have fewer and more effective meetings.
  • Contact other organizations/entities that could participate in festival activities such as the Corn Maze, local wineries, History Colorado, Denver Museum.
  • Consider how to more effectively make local groups and organizations aware of the opportunities to host events/activities (and raise funds) through internal marketing in Fremont County.
  • Concentrate on greater publicity throughout the area (Colorado Springs, Front Range.)
    • Send news releases to Colorado Springs and Denver area as well as Pueblo and Salida.
    • Use more posters and brochures .
    • Instead of creating a festival book, have one of the self-guided tours focus on Heritage.