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Grand County Historical Association (GCHA) was founded in 1974 following in the footsteps of the Grand County Pioneer Society. GCHA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was created to bring together people interested in history and to preserve the history, historical artifacts, and historical buildings in Grand County, Colorado. GCHA operates four historical museums.
Using grants and private donations, GCHA acquired and restored the 1924 school house in Hot Sulphur Springs to become the Grand County Museum. With the 1974 decision of the Grand County Commissioners that the original Courthouse was to be removed to accommodate the sheriff’s office and jail, GCHA acquired that building and moved it to the new museum. The GCHA founders and original dedicated Board of Directors insisted that professional museum standards be adopted and always be adhered to into the future.
Over the years, the museum building complex has grown with the addition of a ranch house, a 1920’s one room school house, the original county jail, and a blacksmith shop, while thousands of photos and artifacts have been donated for protection by GCHA. In keeping with the theme of preserving original buildings the name Pioneer Village was added to the museum complex in Hot Sulphur Springs.
In 1988, working in collaboration with Regis University and the Town of Fraser, GCHA acquired the Cozens family ranch house. The Cozens Ranch and Stage Stop became GCHA’s second museum. With the invaluable assistance of many volunteers, the building was restored to interpret its historical use as the Cozens’ home, Grand County’s first stage stop, and Fraser’s first post office.
In 1992, direct descendants of Henry McElroy donated the 1903 McElroy Livery & Feed barn to GCHA to begin the Heritage Park museum complex in Kremmling. A Ranger station, home, fishing cabin, town jail, and train depot, and pole barn have been added to the museum complex.
Restoration is in different stages on all the structures. Cozens Ranch and Stage Stop and the McElroy Livery & Feed barn are on the Colorado Register of Historic Sites.