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Telluride, Colorado
Festivals, Fun, and Funkiness
by Carl Burnham

Situated at the base of 14,000-foot peaks of the San Juan Mountains in the San Miguel valley lies the rustic and funky town of Telluride. The town has preserved its rich history (the town is a National Historic area) and evolved since the 1970s into a snow skiing mecca, and also hosts a wide range of festivals throughout the year.

The Ute Indians were the first occupants, hunting the box canyon for food and wild game. They named the area "Valley of Hanging Waterfalls" after the picturesque waterfalls that surround the canyon. Founded in 1878 as Columbia (changed after mail kept being sent to a California town by the same name), it was a base for area silver and gold mining (in addition to lead, copper and zinc) for many years. The local mines (some still in use) have produced many millionaires, especially during the early pioneer years. Mining tunnels meander throughout the surrounding mountains, comprising a total of 350 miles. Telluride was the site of Butch Cassidy and his gang’s very first bank robbery in 1889, getting away with almost $25,000 of the area miners' money. The town contains many original storefronts and Victorian houses that were built by the pioneers. The town is a National Historic Landmark District, which will ensure that the town will continue to have an authentic old West appeal. It is said that a local resident still ambles into the New Sheridan Hotel saloon while on his horse to get a beer. In the early years, property for a house could be had for less than a dollar in town...that is definitely not the case today.

Telluride - Next Page

Also, read our local special feature sections on Durango, Silverton, Mancos, and Mesa Verde National Park.

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