The Rio Grande County Museum was originally started by County Commissioner Vernon McCallister Sr., with the help of Mary Stone and three other ladies. It was opened in a room in the courthouse in May of 1960, and eventually grew to two rooms. In 1987 plans were made to build the current building. It was officially opened in June of 1988. Evelyn Hammond and her daughters donated the land. Erlick-Rominger Architectural firm did the architectural plans with Akira Kawanabe from Alamosa as the consulting architect.
Henry Kiel’s house occupied the southwest corner of the lot, and was a large, multistoried brick house. Kiel was a prominent businessman in Del Norte, building the Kiel Building and the Warren-Kiel Block, and also had farming and ranching property on San Francisco Creek.
Henry Kiel was born in Germany and came to the United States when he was 18 years old. He was located in Iowa before moving to Colorado in 1868 and was involved in mining in the northern part of the state. In 1875 he came to Del Norte, married Katherine Kuhn, and began his business career here where he built the Kiel Building. With Henry Warren, and financed by Jens Larson, they built the Warren-Kiel Block. He also had land holdings on San Francisco Creek. Henry and Katherine had six children. Their daughter Violet ran several businesses in Del Norte.
Turn on Grand Avenue to the left.