The Archive Research Center of the San Juan County Historical Society is located on Court House Square to the north of the Court House and next to the 1902 County Jail. Cement Creek runs alongside the Archive building.
Allen Nossaman formulated plans for the Archive Research Center over a period of years, beginning in 1964. The basement of the library was it's first home, and Allen meticulously cataloged and stored the historical documents, photos, manuscripts, maps and other materials donated to the Society. He continued in that capacity until his health dictated that he move to the lower altitude of Durango in 2001. His many years of faithful service are the foundation of the present Archive. Allen passed away in 2006 at the age of 66.
Freda Carley Peterson worked at the Archive for approximately 10 years while she was living in Silverton. During this time, the Archive records were computerized, allowing digital access to both documents and photographs. Freda is currently living in the lower altitude of Oklahoma City.
Silverton and the Archives would not be what it is today without Allen and Freda's dedication to preserving Silverton's history.
The Archive Research Center was opened to the public in 1995. Contract labor and an amazing number of volunteers accomplished the construction.The building, designed for storage of historic materials, has a 32'x 32' concrete temperature and humidity controlled vault. Steel shelving, map cases and acid-free boxes are utilized for storage.
The second story of the Archives building is used for offices and preparation of exhibits, as well as storage space. Housed in the Archive Research-Center are large collections of historical documents that deal with the San Juan County region. Silverton is the only remaining town in the county, but in the past there were several others including Chattanooga, Howardsville, Eureka and Animas Forks, teeming with all types of businesses and residents. The surrounding mountains were full of mining operations, large and small, as well as individual prospectors.
The Archive Research Center has become the final home for many of the surviving records of all that activity with all types of business records, survey notes, personal correspondence, diaries, maps, books, tapes and photographs. The oral history collection is outstanding. The Archive Research-Center is unusual for a town as small as Silverton.
Rail buffs, genealogists, students, different departments of governmental agencies, writers, newspaper, magazine, radio and television personnel have made use of the extensive records.
No taxpayer money was involved in the building of the facility and it is not now tax supported. The collections are available for study and research for a modest fee.
The Archive is maintained by Casey Carroll and Ray Dileo. The Archive is open to the public, Thursdays from 10-4.