Chaffee County, Colorado

Trails to the Past


Chaffee County



Bits & Pieces

Cemeteries & Funeral Homes

Death Notices

Cities, Towns and Places

Unknown Graves near Granite



Mining Fatalities

Photos of Buena Vista

Photos of Chaffee Pioneers

Photos of Granite

Photos of Iron City

Photos of Chaffee Scenes

Photos of Salida

Photos of

Photos of Burbridge and Day Families


Coming Soon!
Buena Vista
High School

Salida High School

Misc. Death Records


Colorado Special Projects

Colorado Gravestones Photo Project

Colorado Obits

Coming Soon!

Erhart Family History


Hello and Welcome! 

We're Gail Meyer Kilgore and Michael P. Irwin, your County Coordinators for Chaffee County, Colorado.  Maintaining a county web page is not an easy job. We are looking for volunteers to help us provide genealogical information for our researchers.  If you can help add information, please email one of us.


Chaffee County was formed in 1879 from Lake County. Chaffee was named for Jerome Chaffee, a U.S. Senator and local investor.  Early in its history the area experienced an influx of explorers, miners, railroad, farmers, and ranchers.  The influence of each has dwindled over the years but their mark has left their place in the history of the valley.  Originally the county seat was Buena Vista. After a contentious election in the early 1930s, the county seat was moved to Salida and the lovely courthouse in Buena Vista was converted into a school. The new courthouse was completed in Salida in 1932, while the old courthouse in Buena Vista is now houses the Chaffee County Historical Society Museum. The City Clerk has birth, marriage and death records, some from 1879. The land records from 1879 are with the Chaffee County offices. Chaffee County is located in central Colorado within the heart of the Rocky Mountains.  The Arkansas River runs north-south through the center of the county, which is surrounded by the Collegiate Peaks to the west, the Mosquito Range to the east and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the south.  
Chaffee County was also the summer home of the Ute Indians.  This was their summer hunting grounds all along the Arkansas River and into Lake County at Twin Lakes.  You can still see places they camped and had their fire rings.  Where they sat and made their arrow heads.


Chaffee County Volunteers
Would you like to help?
  • Do you have any Local History books that you would be willing to use for an occasional lookup request?
  • Would you be willing to transcribe local cemeteries or photograph local historical buildings?
  • Do you visit the local library occasionally? If so, could you do a lookup while you are there?
  • Do you have any old Chaffee County High School yearbooks you could use to index names?
  • Do you have access to some other historical records, such as wills, diaries, census returns, etc. that you would be willing to transcribe?
  • If so, email the County Coordinator!


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Trails to the Past Special Projects


Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association

Emigrant Trails

Ghost Towns (by state)

Home Cookin'

Native Americans

Pony Express, Post Roads and Stage Lines

U.S. Cemeteries

U.S. Forts

U.S. Military

Photo Archive

Obituary Archive

Coming Soon !!

US Gravestone Photo Project

Pioneer Diaries


Buena Vista, Colorado & Mt. Princeton

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Copyright Trails to the Past 2013
Trails to the Past - Chaffee Co., Colorado: In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the internet, data may be used by non-commercial researchers, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages may not be reproduced in any format for profit, nor for presentation in any form by any other organization or individual. Persons or organizations desiring to use this material for purposes other than as stated above, must obtain express written permission from the author, or the submitter and from the listed Chaffee County Administrator.