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  • Silverton

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    Silverton was established in 1874 and quickly became the social and economic center of the surrounding mining district.
  • Baker's Park

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    Silverton is located in Baker's Park, where prospector Charles Baker discovered gold in 1860. The park is a valley formed where Cement Creek and Mineral Creek join the Animas River.
    Baker's Park
  • Silverton, 1885

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    Silverton developed slowly until the arrival of the Denver & Rio Grande Railway in 1882 sparked a long boom. The town's population quickly doubled to about 2,000.
    Silverton, 1885
  • Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge

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    After World War II, passenger traffic started to increase on the narrow gauge railroad line from Durango to Silverton. By the 1960s, the railroad was actively courting tourists, and after Silverton's last major mine closed in 1991, the railroad's steady stream of tourists helped the town survive.
    Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge
  • Silverton Today

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    Today Silverton has a population of about 600 and is the only town in San Juan County. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and attracts many visitors interested in its history and natural beauty.
    Silverton Today
  • Town of Silverton

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    The town of Silverton,at an elevation of 9,318 feet, is a only township in San Juan County. It was famous for mining at the turn of the 20th century, but it is a popular tourist town. They yellowish river on the right is Animas River.
    Town of Silverton



Rob Blair, ed., The Western San Juan Mountains: Their Geology, Ecology, and Human History (Niwot: University Press of Colorado, 1996).

Bruce Finley, “EPA Puts Gold King Mine, Other Colorado Sites on Priority List and Pegs Acid Muck Flow at 5.4M Gallons a Day,” The Denver Post, September 7, 2016.

Duane A. Smith, Silverton: A Quick History (Fort Collins, CO: First Light, 1997).

Duane A. Smith, Song of the Hammer and Drill: The Colorado San Juans, 1860–1914 (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2000).

Karen A. Vendl and Mark A. Vendl with the San Juan County Historical Society, Mines Around Silverton (Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2015).

Additional Information: 

Ray Matteson and Joseph Scott Mendinghall, “Silverton Historic District,” National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form (December 10, 1975).

San Juan County Historical Society