Our History


Gothic was a silver boomtown in the 1880s, but its heyday was short lived.  By 1890 prospectors seeking the motherlode had moved on.  In the 1920s Dr. John Johnson, a biology professor at Western Colorado College, led his students on field trips near Gothic.  Recognizing the rare and rich ecology of the remote high valley, in 1928 he set up a field station amid the ruins of the old mining town. Now more than eighty years later, the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory has become an internationally renowned center for scientific research on high-altitude ecosystems.

Read more about our history and scientific research at the Gothic Visitor’s Center next summer!


old lab for home slide
Gothic townsite in 1929 with the old Gothic Hotel converted into the first laboratory