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.
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Also, read our local special feature sections on
Verde National Park.
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