Barney Ford House Museum
Located in the historic Victorian home of escaped slave Barney Ford, this museum tells the story of a man who fled from slavery in 1848 and eventually became a prominent businessman in Denver and Breckenridge. Some of Ford’s most famous ventures have included the Inter-Ocean Hotel and Ford’s Restaurant in Denver, as well as the Chop House in Breckenridge. By the 1870s, Ford was one of the richest men in Colorado. In 1882, Ford built this five-room cottage (now the Barney Ford Museum). The home has been restored and offers a variety of exhibits related to slavery and emancipation, local history, African American history, and Ford’s life throughout the museum.
Backstory and Context
History of Barney Ford
In search of bigger opportunities, they moved to Colorado with the goal of mining for gold, which was a vastly growing in the Denver area at an unprecedented rate. Unfortunately, as an African American in the American West, Ford was not allowed to own a mine claim. Instead, Ford opened a barber shop and then later the Inter-Ocean Hotel, Ford’s Restaurant, and the Chop House (in Breckenridge). The hotel was opened in 1874, and Ford faced bankruptcy soon after. In 1882, Ford began construction on a five-room cottage, which is now the Barney Ford House Museum.