Dumont Colorado, home of the Mill Creek Valley Historical Society, is located 33 miles west of Denver on the I-70 interstate corridor. Although a small community of about 200 people, it is an area rich in history, and well known to the early day mountain man and an active Gold Rush site in the 1800s. The 1900s saw the advent of the railroad, and Dumont was one of many Clear Creek County communities to have a fine depot. Now, instead of ore wagons and mill sites, the area is home to numerous rafting companies where patrons enjoy the thrill of riding the rapids of Clear Creek, which runs through the small town. Mill Creek, another stream which runs through Dumont and empties into Clear Creek, is the giver of our society’s name.
A few dedicated residents of Dumont (originally named Mill City) established the Mill Creek Valley Historical Society in 1981. The reason behind its formation was the obtaining and preserving of the old one room Dumont Schoolhouse built in 1909. The building had become a storage site for the Clear Creek County School District and was falling into disrepair. After the formation of the non-profit organization and the hard work to gain ownership of this fine brick building, the society set about the work of restoring the structure to its former glory. It is now listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites. The building once again shows off its oak door frames, arched windows and sideboards. The beautiful ash wood floor has been gently sanded and refinished. Indoor plumbing and a kitchen area have been added. Although the building belongs to the Mill Creek Valley Historical Society, it is often used for community meetings, other nonprofit group meetings, and community celebrations.
A few years later, the town of Georgetown offered the society the Coburn Cabin. At one time this small cabin was located in the town of Lawson, until the building of I-70 forced its removal. Georgetown took the building and for a time used it as a visitor center. When they built a larger structure, the building was offered to the then president of our society, Joan Drury. She accepted it immediately, as the structure was originally a part of her family history. It was a mother-in-law cabin built for Margaret Coburn, Joan’s great-great-grandmother. The Coburn’s were the founders of Little America, or what is now known as the town of Lawson, Colorado. The cabin was placed in the schoolyard and after a number of years, is finally on a permanent foundation. Work is now going on to return it to its former use for the benefit of future generations to see.
In 1989, the Society was once more given a building. This time it was the Mill City House in Dumont. Built in 1858, the building is actually two one and one half story log cabins which were attached and used as a roadhouse in the 1800s. The building at times housed 20 or more miners but was decorated with fine expensive wallpaper, with a billiard room to the rear. We have been fortunate to have this building added to the National Registry as well. Work now will begin on restoring this building, a daunting and expensive task for a small community.
The Dumont Cemetery to the north of town is rich with history. Still used today, it also contains the final resting place of many of the Dumont, Downieville, and Lawson pioneers. Although under county care, the Mill Creek Valley Historical Society is the guardian of the site.
Also in our jurisdiction is the Mill Creek Arastra site and it is one of the very few arastras still preserved in Colorado. Usually placed near water, a horse or mule would walk around the stone and grind the rock placed on it until fine enough to be washed in a sluice to remove the gold.
Our community picnic in August is a time for the county to get together for good food and casual conversation. Open to all, this carry in picnic is great fun.
We also host a huge yard sale over Labor Day weekend to benefit the restoration of the Mill City House.
Since 1999, October sees the black caped villain chase the fair damsel in our yearly melodrama or play presentation. At this time the schoolhouse rocks with boos and hisses as the audience and the cast, a group of local thespians, tell a tale of good versus evil. The boisterous auctioning of bakery items by the local ladies follows each performance. This is the major fundraiser for our Society, and we invite all to join our fun.