Breckenridge History & Museums: Barney Ford House Museum


Barney Ford House Museum

This runaway slave's life reads like a true Horatio Alger story, following the Underground Railroad to Chicago, then Nicaragua and finally finding home in Breckenridge.

  • At various stages, Ford was a slave, a barber, a hotel owner, a restaurant owner and civil rights activist.
  • The 1882 house has been restored to the original Victorian style.
  • Each room shows a different time in his life.
  • For a $5 suggested donation, the museum is open Friday to Sunday, 11:00am to 3:00pm.


From his early escape from slavery in South Carolina, Barney Ford made a habit of hurdling obstacles throughout his life. A self-taught man, he was actively involved in Chicago's Underground Railroad before making his way to Nicaragua, where he started the United States Hotel.

His return to the United States lead him to Colorado, where he displayed his talents by staking a gold mine (which was claim jumped) and starting a barbershop in Denver. Ford's commercial success, however, came from the Ford's Restaurant and Chop House in Breckenridge and the historic Inter-Ocean Hotel in Denver.

Throughout his career, Barney Ford fought for the rights of African Americans, specifically opposing Colorado's entrance into the statehood because it denied African Americans suffrage.

The Barney Ford House Museum showcases this rich life story in his own home, built in 1882 and restored to the Victoria time period. Each room has been dedicated to a different period of this Colorado pioneer.


111 East Washington Ave. - Walking east on Washington Ave from Main St., the museum is on the right, a little over a block away.


All year round, the Barney Ford House Museum is open Friday to Sunday from 11:00am to 3:00pm.


The museum suggests a $5 donation.