Monday, March 28, 2011
Barney Ford Museum. Breckenridge Colorado
Breckenridge is the oldest Colorado town west of the Continental Divide. I laced up my boots
with this in mind, and knew a trip down Main St. would turn up some history as
rich as the gold that was panned here in the 1800’s. Victorian-style buildings line
the main street with what are now bustling businesses. But one house sits up off
of Main St. and has an especially sweet tale to tell. It was the home of Barney
Ford, an escaped slave who became the first African American business owner in
late Victorian Breckenridge. Barney worked hard for civil rights, served as director
of the Underground Railroad, and used his hard working hands to open up many
From barber shops, to restaurants and hotels, it seems Mr. Barney Ford didn’t let
any doors shut on him. Not all of his business ventures boomed, but his true grit
allowed him to learn from his downfalls.
The museum does not house Barney Ford’s original artifacts and furniture, though
you still get a feeling for the time period from the restoration of the home. There is
one postcard that belonged to Barney Ford, and also two wood paneled front doors
in the exhibit room that are believed to be his from a restaurant on 1514 Blake St.
in Denver, which is now “India House Restaurant”. The building is now one story
higher, but structurally has remained the same. There is a plaque honoring Barney
Ford, and it is on the National Register. The doors were recovered by Robin
Theobald and donated to the Barney Ford House museum in Breckenridge. As you
walk through this old Victorian home you will be reminded of the strong work ethic,
spirit, and determination of Barney Ford that needs to be kept alive.