Telluride, Colorado

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For other meanings, see telluride (disambiguation).
Old Town Telluride
Old Town Telluride

Telluride is a town located in San Miguel County in southwestern Colorado on the San Miguel River on the west side of the San Juan Mountains. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 2,221. Originally a mining town; it is now a major ski resort. In the summer, there are festivals almost every weekend, including the Telluride Film Festival and a bluegrass festival. It is the county seat of San Miguel County6.

Telluride sits in a glacially formed U-shaped valley. Steep forested mountains and cliffs surround it. Spectacular Bridal Veil Falls is at the head of the canyon. Numerous weathered ruins of old mining operations dot the hillsides. Some people consider it to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth.



Location of Telluride, Colorado

Telluride is located at 37°56'21" North, 107°48'59" West (37.939153, -107.816317)1.

It is situated at an altitude of 8,750 feet

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.8 km² (0.7 mi²). 1.8 km² (0.7 mi²) of it is land and none of the area is covered with water.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 2,221 people, 1,013 households, and 357 families residing in the town. The population density is 1,207.8/km² (3,143.3/mi²). There are 1,938 housing units at an average density of 1,053.9/km² (2,742.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 92.57% White, 0.41% African American, 0.81% Native American, 0.72% Asian, 4.14% from other races, and 1.35% from two or more races. 7.20% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 1,013 households out of which 19.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 25.2% are married couples living together, 6.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 64.7% are non-families. 31.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 1.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.19 and the average family size is 2.79.

In the town the population is spread out with 14.3% under the age of 18, 12.2% from 18 to 24, 50.9% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 1.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 122.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 127.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town is $51,938, and the median income for a family is $66,136. Males have a median income of $35,329 versus $30,096 for females. The per capita income for the town is $38,832. 11.5% of the population and 8.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 16.2% of those under the age of 18 and 6.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Telluride, originally named Columbia, a name rejected by the post office, was named after a rare rich gold ore, Telluridium, which was never actually found in the mountains of Telluride.

In June of 1889 Butch Cassidy and his gang robbed the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride. This was his first major recorded crime.

In 1891, Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse set up the first commercial AC power plant in Telluride.

Shortly after the turn of the century there were very serious labor disputes in the mines near Telluride. The Colorado National Guard was called out and there were deaths on both sides.

Further reading

The Telluride Story by David Lavender, Photography by George H. H. Huey, Wayfinder Press, Ouray, CO, 1987, ISBN 0-9608764-6-4.

For a comprehensive look at the labor history of Telluride, see The Corpse On Boomerang Road: Telluride's War on Labor 1899-1908 by MaryJoy Martin, Western Reflections Publishing Company, Montrose, CO, 2004, ISBN 1-932738-02-9.

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