Originally the tribal land of the Ute Indians, this region was opened to homesteading in 1881. The town of Silt began as the ranch of pioneer George Ferguson—and was named ‘Ferguson’ until 1889 when the Denver and Rio Grande Junction Railway named their depot ‘Silt’ after the powdery soil in the area.
Silt was the last town to be incorporated in Garfield County in 1915. By the 1930s, Silt boasted over twenty businesses including a bank, lumber yard, movie theater, pool hall, grocery and mercantile stores as well as several bars and restaurants. The oil shale boom and bust of the late 1970s to the early 1980s first expanded then depleted the population. Since then, with a resurgence of drilling for natural gas, Silt has grown and more than doubled its size with new homes, a business park, and a river preserve along the Colorado River.
Do you know how pioneering settlers in the Colorado River valley lived?
Find out at the Silt Historical Park and museum! This historical park recreates the life of settlers in the early 1900s. The Park features a guided tour of log cabins, a schoolhouse, cow camp, country store, and tool shop, all of which have been restored and relocated to put you in the shoes of the Colorado pioneer’s life. After the tour, jump in your car and head south on RD 331 to visit the site of President Theodore Roosevelt’s hunting camp and see the one room schoolhouse he dedicated while in the New Castle area.
Did you know that one of the two oldest forest ranger stations in the United States is located in the National Forest south of Silt?
Three National Forests: White River, Gunnison, and Grand Mesa, are accessible from the town of Silt. President Theodore Roosevelt is responsible for preserving the lands of all three of these forest preserves. One of the oldest stations—the Cayton Ranger Station—is near Theodore Roosevelt’s 1905 hunting camp in present day Grand Mesa National Forest. Today, fishing, hunting, camping, picnicking, wildlife and scenic photography are just some of the activities you can enjoy in these forests. In winter, go snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or ice-fishing.
Located 4 blocks north, then ½ block west, of the Silt Roundabout you will find the Silt Historical Park and museum. This historic park was created by men and women who lived, worked and played in the town of Silt and on the surrounding ranches in the early 1900‘s. Start your fun filled and informative day at this Park with a guided tour of the park, its buildings, their furnishings, and the tools/equipment they used. After this tour you will be ready to jump in your car and head either north or south on a self guided trip to see where these historical events actually took place. Have a picnic, swim and or fish in Harvey Gap or Rifle reservoirs. See where President Roosevelt had his hunting camp, the one room school he dedicated, where the German prisoner of war camp was, visit other historic sites, or just take pictures of great scenery.
- From I-70 take Exit 97. Downtown Silt is north of the exit.