Before it became a well-known skiing and hiking destination, people flocked to Telluride, Colorado in search of a different reward. This former mining town has a rich history that can still be discovered today for those who take the time to look past the world-famed ski slopes and luxury mountain homes! Read on to learn more about Telluride’s history!
A Historic Mining Town
Prior to being settled by outside explorers, Telluride was used as a summer camp by the Ute Native American tribe. In the 1870s when it was discovered as a silver and gold mining destination, a tent camp was established and given its current name of Telluride. With the arrival of the railroad in 1890, a flood of immigrants came to Telluride to seek their fortunes, and it became a more bustling town with a population of 5,000. However, in the late 1890s, World War I brought the crash of silver prices and the mining boom, drastically changing the town’s course.
Building Its Reputation
With the population dwindling and its main purpose no longer viable, it took nearly 100 years for the town to recover. The entire direction of the town changed in the 1970s, with the opening of the Telluride Ski Resort. In addition to becoming known as a top skiing destination, the town offered cultural events, music, and festivals that make it a lively and attractive destination year-round, and people began to flick to Telluride as a vacation destination.
Telluride As We Know It Today
Today, while Telluride is known as a skiing and outdoor adventure destination, there are still remnants of its mining history to be found. In fact, its mining area has been designated a National Historic Landmark District since 1961. Between days on the slopes, be sure to stop in some of Telluride’s best historical sites to get a full picture of the role this small mining town played in America’s history!
Telluride Historical Museum
The Telluride Historical Museum does a great job of telling the town’s story from the start of its humble beginnings. From dinosaur fossils discovered in the area to Native American artifacts, the museum takes special care to paint a picture of the area before the introduction of western influences. Visitors also get a strong sense of what mining life was like in the 1800s through a collection of photos, maps, and artifacts. This museum housed in a historic stone building is worth spending a couple of hours in to get a sense of the events that led to Telluride’s present-day status as a top skiing and outdoor destination!
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