The Colorado's Most Significant Artifacts program highlights the importance of historic and cultural heritage and honors and recognizes all the organizations in Colorado that care for and preserve photographs, documents, rare books and manuscripts, audio recordings, film, digital materials, art, and historic, archaeological and natural science specimens.
Learn more here about the top ten nominations for the years 2013-2017. Details about submissions for 2018 coming soon!
This Late Victorian, wood mining table belonged to J.J. Brown; husband of the “Unsinkable Molly Brown”. The Brown’s wealth was acquired when J.J., a mining superintendent, made a fortuitous discovery of gold in the Little Johnny Mine. J.J. owned this table while he and Molly lived in Leadville on 7th Street. The legs of the table are carved to resemble seahorses that form an X shape. The table top was easily removable allowing it to collapse for transport on the back of a mule or horse. JJ would carry the table with him when he travelled into the mines.
The Thacher Cylindrical Slide rule preceded the modern slide rule. In 1881, a patent was granted to Edwin Thacher (1839-1920) to create a slide rule that could fit on a desk. The previous slide rule measured 59 feet, as compared to the Thacher slide rule at 22 inches long. Keuffel & Esser manufactured this “calculating instrument” for Thacher in 1887. With operating instructions affixed, the rule was housed in a wooden case with U.S.G.S. hydrography designation.
The artifact is a sheet of letterhead stationery illustration a dam at Wagon Wheel Gap, near Creede, in the San Luis Valley. The sponsoring agency is the San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District, headquartered in Alamosa, Colorado.
Miss Yokohama is Colorado's Japanese Friendship Doll. This artisan doll arrived in San Francisco in 1927 with 57 of her sisters. Following their reception in San Francisco, the dolls toured the US and then found homes in appropriate institutions in each state. She is one of only 7 dolls created by the Ohki Heizo (Maruhei) Doll Company in Kyoto. She is 81cm tall and is constructed of wood, gofun (a mixture of powdered oyster shells and glue coating the wood to creates a skin-like sheen and texture), human hair, glass eyes. She wears a yuzen dyed kimono with furosode sleeves.
The Fish on the Floor is a remnant of historic recreation from Deckers in Douglas County, Colorado. This floor tile mosaic depicts a rainbow trout rising to catch a fishing fly. An anonymous artist skillfully cut pink, yellow, green, black, gray, and white tile, inlaid the pieces in a white circle on green background, and crafted a striking portrayal of a fish in motion. The tiles comprising the representation are attached to the original wooden tongue and groove floorboards. Although no records exist regarding the creation of the mosaic, it is estimated to have been in the 1930s or 1940s.
The Mountain Index is a bronze structure engraved with prominent peaks and landmarks visible from Cheesman Park in Denver, where it used to stand in the Pavilion. It is approximately 36 x 20 inches. The artifact was designed by Professor Ellsworth Bethel of East Denver High School and James Grafton Rogers, the president of the Colorado Mountain Club. The index was created and engraved by Paul Weiss, a CMC member. It was originally mounted atop a marble column at the Pavilion in Cheesman Park in 1913. It was removed in the late 1960s or 70s, probably due to age, wear and vandalism.
This collection comprises mug shots of Colorado inmates from 1871-1970s. Many of the earlier images are labeled on the reverse with information including the photographed party's name, crime, sentence, and various details of physical appearance (eye color, hair color, height, weight, etc.).
Originally located where the historic Nevada Ditch enters the Columbine Country Club, this headgate was installed in the 1950's. Made out of iron, the adjustable device consists of a hand-turned control wheel which raises or lowers the gate to control and divert the flow of water within the ditch. The gate is set within a frame that would have fit snugly into the ditch. Headgates were originally made from wood and iron, but these were eventually replaced with more sturdy iron and/or concrete gates like this artifact. Similar headgates are still used today.