Breckenridge History & Museums: Barney Ford Museum

Breckenridge Colorado
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Barney Ford Museum

The Barney Ford Museum shares the remarkable story of Barney Ford, an inspiring man who overcame racism, political turmoil, fires and financial hardship to become a highly-respected businessman and champion of suffrage for Black Coloradans.

  • At various stages, Ford was an enslaved person, a barber, a hotel owner, a restaurant owner and civil rights activist.
  • The 1882 house was built by a prominent local architect
  • Each room shows a different time in his life.


This is a unique story of a historic Black American, enslaved from birth, who achieved freedom and success in the developing West, particularly in Colorado. Self-taught to read and write, he was believed to have made his way to Chicago through the 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 Museum showcases this rich life story in his own home, built in 1882, 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.


Year-Round, the Barney Ford Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00am to 3:00pm; tours hourly on the hour with the last tour at 2:00pm.

Cost - Donations greatly appreciated