Sopris, Colorado, currently underwater, recreated online.

So my project is to recreate the town of Sopris, Colorado, currently at the bottom of Trinidad Lake online. The concept is one pioneered buy History Colorado (formerly known as the Colorado Historical Society) which has reorganized the entire state history museum this way, and the material comes a place called the Bessemer Historical Society, which holds the archives of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, which owned Sopris, its accompanying coal mine and many other towns and mines in southern Colorado.

We have mine maps like this one (which doesn’t do justice to how cool this looks in person because it’s such a small scan):


We have access to pictures like this:

Access to physical artifacts from the community:


We will eventually have interviews with people who grew up in Sopris before the government flooded it 1973.

What I need to do over the next two weeks is to figure out the first steps to getting all of this up inside a conceptual framework that will make sense to the general public.  And, oh yeah, instructions for my students who will be doing this with me in a class that starts a week after I get back to Colorado.

Good times. Good times.

Jonathan Rees

Professor of History, Colorado State University - Pueblo.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Mike borzage

    My grand father and father lived in Sopris. My father was born in Trinidad in 1911. I am not certain when they moved to California, but I know it was after the mine strike and Ludlow incident. My grandfather was an Austrian stone mason, and I believe he build their house in Sopris.
    I can’t tell from your web post when you undertook your research, but I would appreciate any links you could provide, physical sites (museums) or virtual web links

    Mike Borzage
    Chico, california

    1. Laurie Summers

      My Family History in Sopris Co is all lost. Cemetery burial records are hard to find. My family names that lived there from 1880- to it’s demise. Surnames: Adams, Baca, Gomez, Lovato, Medina. If I can help with any of the info I do have I would gladly share. My aunt is still living and remembers living in Sopris.

      1. JoDee

        There is a cemetery east of Trinidad Lake called Carpio Catholic Cemetary. Most people were moved there. My Boyfriends family left in 1960ish. They are Montoyas , Roys and Baca’s. Fred Baca’s name is carved in a stone west of the Lake near another Cemetary. His Parents are both gone now. But he remembers being there as a child.

  2. Patrick Shaw

    My grandfather, Will Shaw, is the miner sitting on the wagon in the front. In the mine photo – my Dad had the photo in his house. My Dad, Bill Shaw, was born in Sopris in 1916, as was my aunt Mary Kathryn, I believe in 1913. My family moved to Calif. in the 1920’s, about 1925. Family names associated with Sopris and the area would be Shaw, Skidmore, Dawe (my Grandmother Lucy, one of 13, married my Grandfather, Will),McKinney, Gooden, and Buffalo. Many of my Dad’s cousins also lived in Sopris, Berwyn Canyon, Aguilar. I remember stories of Sopris and the mines from my grandfather, Will. I have lord of relatives buried in Trinidad. Patrick Shaw

  3. John J. Pasciucco Jr

    My mother grew up in Sopris. Her maiden name was Brunelli. She was the daughter of Franklin and Genevieve
    Brunelli. My grandfather owned Brunelli’s Market and later my Uncle Sam took it over. My Uncle Angelo owned the Tavern just down the road from the store. My aunt Mary, Sam’s wife was the post mistress of the local post office located in the Brunelli Market. I enjoyed my family road trips from Boston to visit my relatives and did visit the Lake and viewed the dam forty years ago.

  4. Jacob A. Trujillo

    Jacob Allen Trujillo
    We did not live in Sopris but grew up in the small community of St. Thomas, about 2 miles Northeast of Sopris. My grandparents were Pete and Emma Archuleta. My Uncle Dan and Mary lived in Sopris. My mother was the youngest of 16 children (Alice Mae Archuleta/Trujillo). I was the oldest of 11 children! Nice too see our legacy being posted!

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