Denver and the surrounding area is full of automobile history and action. The Forney Museum of Transportation is one of the city’s best attractions, yet it is one that relatively few visitors or residents know about or go to. This museum was formed from the personal vehicle collection of industrialist J.D. Forney, who based his businesses out of Fort Collins, Colorado.
Forney used to talk to visitors to his collection when the museum first opened in the 1960s. He also used to make up information to put on the signs for some cars if he did not know much about them. Today, the signs describing vehicles are much more accurate and complete compared to when the museum first opened.
I am the daughter of a hot rod / muscle car – old American cars from the 1930s to the 1970s – and diesel truck mechanic. I lived in Littleton, south of Denver, in the mid-1990s between the ages of nine and 13 and visited the museum a number of times during my years here, as well as attended several drag races at Bandimere Speedway, near Morrison.
Although I never took up my father’s intense interest in planes, trains, automobiles, or anything else with an engine, I remember being thoroughly mesmerized – amazed – by all that was in the museum. Even when I returned to Texas, where I am originally from, I had fun memories of my trips to Forney.
In particular, I remember the massive locomotives – old steam trains -, the funeral carriage, and the very detailed model train. The Forney Museum is full of history and vehicles to keep children and adults, males and females, entertained. If you like history at all, the Forney Museum is definitely worth a visit.
Some of the attractions the museum boasts include the “Big Boy” locomotive, a massive steam train built to haul extremely heavy loads. Amelia Earhart’s 1920’s Kessler automobile is also housed at the museum. Earhart was a famous female pilot of the 1920s and 1930s who disappeared in her plane on a solo trip around the world. A 1916 Detroit Electric, a 1927 Rolls Royce, an 1811 overland coach, a 1934 Pierce Arrow and a 1912 Renault are other vehicles in the approximately 650-strong Forney collection, which is rotated regularly.
The collection also includes vehicles drawn by horses, bicycles, old clothing, and farm equipment. The 1923 Case Steam Tractor with a steam traction engine is of particular note. This tractor could also work as a heavy road grader and a road roller, and it burned straw, wood and coal. It could also burn oil with some changes. Forney’s wife collected antique clothing, and it is on display throughout the museum as well.
The museum is quiet and nice to visit alone, with friends, or with your family. It is home to one of the best car collections in the United States. Forney also has at least twelve examples of vehicles that are the only ones still in existence. It is a massive building with cars, planes, trains, carriages and other curiosities, mainly from the turn of the 20th century. Everywhere you look, there is something more to see and explore.
Hours and Location
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Admission prices are very reasonable, and they vary according to age. The price for adults is $8 per person, and seniors aged 62 or older cost $6. Children between the ages of 3 and 15 are $4 per person, and children under the age of three are free.
The Forney Museum of Transportation is located at 4303 Brighton Boulevard in Denver. The musem is near the Denver Coliseum, and it is easily accessible by bus and car. It is situated near the intersection of Interstates 25 and 70.
Call the museum for a current list of cars that the museum is selling if you are interested in purchasing an antique car. Also call for holiday closures and to confirm hours and admission prices, or if you need directions at 303-297-1113.
Although I haven’t returned to the Forney Museum since my return to Colorado a few years ago, I plan to visit again soon. It is one of the best transportation museums around. (I visited one in Glasgow, Scotland when I lived there, and I like the Forney better!) Perhaps I’ll see you there.