Settled by Europeans in the 1860s, Morrison in Jefferson County, only 10 miles west of Denver, is one of the surviving small gateway towns that had flourished in the Front Range of Colorado during the Gold Rush.
Morrison Historic District
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in September 1976, 70 sites and buildings in the downtown area and on the neighboring streets are listed and have fascinating backgrounds. For example:
TOWN HALL, built in 1896, was renovated with help from the Colorado Historical Society in 1995.
SCHNEIDER’S GROCERIES, RESTAURANT & ROOMS was a two-story frame building with outside stairs like you see in western movies. Burned down in the 1931 fire, it was replaced by the present brick building.
JOHN ROSS HOME, built in 1878, was a restaurant and a stage coach passenger pick-up site.
In the late 1800s, a regional geologic layer of Late Jurassic age sedimentary rock was excavated. The Morrison Formation, named after this small town, became famous as the first discovery site of three 150-million-year-old dinosaurs. The Morrison Formation covers a part of 13 western states and has yielded much information about the extinct animals.
One of the historic dig sites and Cretaceous age dinosaur tracks can still be viewed at Dinosaur Ridge east of Morrison. Also near Morrison is an archaeological site, the LoDaisKa Site, which was inhabited for approximately 7,500 years.
Morrison Natural History Museum
This displays some found fossils including rare adult Stegosaurus tracks and the first hatchling Stegosaurus tracks.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
This well-known rock structure is an open-air entertainment amphitheatre located in Red Rocks Park, which is part of the Denver Mountain Parks system. There is an amazing seating area that can hold up to 9,450 visitors! You’ll find a large disc-shaped tilted rock, a very large vertical rock, and large outcrops angled outwards. This was his vision in the early 1900s when John Brisben Walker wanted artists to perform on a stage nestled in perfect acoustic surroundings, which were likely used by the Ute tribe. Construction began in 1936 and was formally dedicated on June 15, 1941.
Performances have been held at Red Rocks for more than 100 years. The earliest documented performance was Pietro Satriano and his 25-piece brass band at the Grand Opening on May 31, 1906. Regular concert seasons have been held every year since 1947, and the first performance of each season is the Easter Sunrise Service.
Pete Morrison, grandson of the town’s founder and son of the first mayor, achieved fame during the early 1900s as a cowboy star in silent films and ultimately had his own studio in Hollywood.