BUENA VISTA, Colo. (CBS4)– On Colorado’s 143rd birthday, Colorado Day, it made sense to check in with the community of Buena Vista and find out what changes are on the horizon. It’s a small mountain town that has an important role in the state’s history, while facing challenges of the future.
On the second floor of the old courthouse in downtown Buena Vista, a 12-year-old slowly turns a knob electrifying the tracks on a model railroad. Jacob Young volunteers at the Heritage Museum, giving visitors a sense of the rich history this mountain town holds.
People might disagree on how to exactly say the town’s name. It’s Beee-uuna, if you ask the locals. But they won’t disagree that the town has served as a very important part of Colorado’s story.
On Thursday, Young is behind the controls of the model railroad that takes up an entire room.
“It was created by three men team about 20 years ago. It took them about eight years,” Young explains.
The trains represent the entire Arkansas River Valley, tracing the history of mines up north.
“It gives you an idea of what happened. It shows you what stuff used to look like and why the courthouse is where it is today,” Young added.
This display is housed safely inside the Buena Vista Heritage Museum, alongside artifacts reminding everyone of the rich history this place holds.
“We have a very colorful history. It all started when we first became the county seat. We ended up holding the sheriff and his wife up in Granite at gun point, to steal the I can point to steal the court documents that we had won the election,” Kiki Lathrop, executive director of the Heritage Museum, said.
The museum houses those reminders from the past but they are also well aware of the changes happening in the present.
“It is a very different beast than 10 years ago. It was a completely different atmosphere. Now, Buena Vista is coming alive,” Lathrop said. “It’s great to be able to share stories with all the people coming to visit.”
Streets are filled with visitors coming to experience this special mountain valley, and they are adding to the story that is Buena Vista.