Road To Silver Mountain
Photograph - Digital Capture, Watermark Not On Actual Print
Aspens on hillside in the San Juan mountains of Colorado with Silver Mountain peak in the background. Originally established by miners chasing silver and gold in the surrounding mountains, the town of Ouray at one time boasted more horses and mules than people. Prospectors arrived in the area in 1875. At the height of the mining, Ouray had more than 30 active mines. The town, after changing its name and that of the county it was in several times, was incorporated on October 2, 1876, named after Chief Ouray of the Utes, a Native American tribe. By 1877 Ouray had grown to over 1,000 in population and was named county seat of the newly formed Ouray County on March 8, 1877.
The Denver & Rio Grande Railway arrived in Ouray on December 21, 1887. It would stay until the automobile and trucks caused a decline in traffic. The last regularly scheduled passenger train was September 14, 1930. The line between Ouray and Ridgway was abandoned on March 21, 1953.
In 1986, Bill Fries, a.k.a. C. W. McCall, was elected Mayor, ultimately serving for six years.
The entirety of Main Street is registered as a National Historic District with most of the buildings dating back to the late nineteenth century. The Beaumont Hotel and the Ouray City Hall and Walsh Library are listed on the National Register of Historic Places individually, while the Ouray County Courthouse, St. Elmo Hotel, St. Joseph's Miners' Hospital (currently housing the Ouray County Historical Society and Museum), Western Hotel, and Wright's Opera House are included in the historic district.
October 7th, 2012
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