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Barney Ford

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  • Barney Ford

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    Born into slavery in 1822, Barney Ford eventually became one of the most prominent businessmen in Colorado, with diverse holdings that included restaurants, hotels, and mining investments.
    Barney Ford
  • People's Restaurant

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    After being run out of Breckenridge and working as a barber in Denver, Ford built the People’s Restaurant on Blake Street in 1863. The building has been altered significantly since Ford’s time, but the interior bricks and the columns along the front façade are thought to be original.
    People's Restaurant
  • Ford House in Breckenridge

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    In 1880 Ford moved to Breckenridge, where a popular restaurant and wise mining investments quickly made him wealthy. In 1882 he built an elegant house for his family on Washington Avenue.
    Ford House in Breckenridge
  • Ford Honored in the Colorado State Capitol



Kathryne McKinney, “Barney Ford’s People’s Restaurant,” National Register of Historic Places Inventory—Nomination Form (November 23, 1975).

Forbes Parkhill, Mister Barney Ford: A Portrait in Bistre (Denver: Sage Books, 1963).

Ronald J. Stephens, La Wanna M. Larson, and the Black American West Museum, African Americans of Denver (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2008).

Additional Information: 

Albert S. Broussard, Expectations of Equality: A History of Black Westerners (Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, 2012).

Douglas Flamming, African Americans in the West (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2009).

William Loren Katz, The Black West: A Documentary and Pictorial History of the African American Role in the Westward Expansion of the United States, rev. ed. (New York: Harlem Moon, 2005).

Quintard Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West, 1528–1990 (New York: W. W. Norton, 1998).