By Nel Burkett
The Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum (CBMHM) is located in the historic Crested Butte Hardware, affectionately known as “Tony’s Conoco,” on Elk Avenue and Fourth Street. The Crested Butte Hardware was the longest running business in Crested Butte, beginning as a blacksmith shop in 1883 and later becoming a garage, hardware store and gas station before closing in 1996. From 1939 until 1996, the building was known as Tony’s Conoco, and was owned and operated by A.J. Tony Mihelich and his family. During this time, the business became an accidental visitor’s center and community gathering place. Locals would hang around the pot-belly stove in the winter and on benches out front during the summer, sharing news and stories about the community. As a gas station and hardware store, Tony’s Conoco was often the first place visitors would stop in town, picking up fishing licenses and filling up the tank, often making Tony the first person in Crested Butte visitors would meet.