Circa 1929

Our History

Where history and tradition collide

You can’t tell the story of Garden of the Gods Trading Post without embarking on a rich history of its founder, Charlies E. Strausenback. His love for the Garden of the Gods Park began at just 10 years old—and would last a lifetime.


The man behind it all

Charles E. Strausenback was a born entrepreneur. At the age of 10, Charles spent his summers selling paintings and figures that he carved from gypsum to visitors in the Garden of the Gods. Always enamored with Garden of the Gods, Charles even worked one summer at Balanced Rock—taking photographs of tourists. He opened his first store in 1917 and it took off running.


A dream realized

In 1929, construction of The Trading Post was completed. Charles and his wife, Esther, spent $10,000 on the new store, resembling a true adobe with cupolas—traditional hollow frames that protrude up from the roof. At that time, Charles was already a well-established entrepreneur in the Garden of the Gods area. The Trading Post opened for business on June 9, 1929—realizing Charles Strausenback’s dream of a quarter of a century.


The end of an era

Strausenback passed away in October of 1967 from an unexpected stroke, near his home in Lupton, Colorado. His widow, Esther, continued to run the Trading Post until 1979 when T.A.T. Enterprises acquired the business. Since then, the store has drastically expanded.


Years of expansion

The store expansion, from 2,000 square feet to an impressive 25,000 square feet, now houses a general store, restaurant, art gallery, gold panning and arcade games—all while honoring the original building and its nearly century of history.

Take home history

From work by local artists, to traditional and contemporary Native American jewelry, Navajo rugs, sculptures, and pueblo pottery—history is right at your fingertips here at the Garden of the Gods Trading Post.