Durango, Colorado, United States of America
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The City of Durango is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of La Plata County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 19,071 at the 2020 United States Census. Durango is the home of Fort Lewis College.
The town was organized from September 1880 to April 1881 by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad (D&RG, later known as the Denver and Rio Grande Western railroad) as part of their efforts to reach Silverton, Colorado, and service the San Juan mining district, the goal of their "San Juan Extension" built from Alamosa Colorado. The D&RG chose a site in the Animas Valley close to the Animas River near what's now the Downtown Durango Historic Business District for its railroad facilities following a brief and most likely perfunctory negotiation with the other establishment in the area known as Animas City, two miles to the north. The city was named by ex-Colorado Governor Alexander C. Hunt, a friend of D&RG President William Jackson Palmer, after Durango, Mexico, based on his favorable impression of that city resulting from a scouting trip undertaken on behalf of Palmer.
Palmer among other D&RG associates such as William Bell started a subsidiary company known as the Durango Trust to sell land and plan a Main Street, 2nd, and 3rd Avenue, and so on to organize the town, taking inspiration from how Palmer founded the city of Colorado Springs. Sales from the Durango Trust skyrocketed by the completion of the D&RG's Silverton Branch, by 1885 Durango’s business district had seven hotels and restaurants, eleven saloons, dancehalls and stores, two bakeries and blacksmith shops, and a variety of other businesses, also boosting the town of Silverton’s population to 2,000 at the time.
The D&RG(W) and the Rio Grande Southern Railroad were vital resources to many places including Durango before the major introduction of the automobile, helping transport goods such as produce and mineral traffic in and out of the Southwestern Colorado area, along with other businesses such as the Durango Smelter, immensely supporting the town's economy. However, the Great Depression and aftermath of World War II ended up hurting the area's railroad industry, resulting in the Rio Grande Southern losing most of its traffic in 1951, which later closed and removed from 1952-3. The D&RGW ended their San Juan Express passenger service from Durango to Alamosa as well. However, the natural scenery along their Silverton Branch had been recognized as a major tourist attraction. In turn, the D&RGW introduced the major tourism industry into the Durango area, transporting visitors up to Silverton and back and attracting Hollywood into La Plata County for a time. Once the D&RGW ended up losing its freight traffic in 1968, the tracks from Durango east to Chama, New Mexico, and south to Farmington, New Mexico was removed, but the Silverton Branch remained in operation until 1981 when it was sold and became the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
There are significant archaeological sites surrounding the Durango area featured on the State and National historical registers, including:
Durango is located at 2020 United States Census, the town had a total area of 10,946 acres (44.296 km2) including 1,533 acres (6.203 km2) of water. at an elevation of 6,512 ft (1,988 m). At the
According to the Köppen climate classification system, Durango has either a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Csb) or a humid continental climate (Dsb) depending on which variant of the system is used. The average annual precipitation is 19.33 in (491 mm). Its hardiness zone is 5b.
As of the 2000 census, there were 13,922 people, 5,492 households, and 2,603 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,052.4 people per square mile (792.8/km2). There were 5,819 housing units at an average density of 857.8 per square mile (331.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.8% White, 0.5% African American, 5.5% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.1% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.3% of the population.
There were 5,492 households, out of which 22.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.2% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a single female householder, and 52.6% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.83.
In the city, 16.6% of residents were under the age of 18, 26.1% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 104.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,892, and the median income for a family was $50,814. Males had a median income of $31,812 versus $25,022 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,352. 17.2% of the population and 7.3% of families were living below the poverty line. 11.2% of those younger than 18 and 8.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Main Avenue is a Nationally Registered Historic District that cuts through downtown Durango and is home to galleries, boutiques, restaurants, bars, and other businesses. Two notable and historic hotels, The General Palmer and The Strater, lie at the south end of the avenue, near the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad depot. With its combination of historic architecture, entertainment, and shopping, Main Avenue has historically comprised the center of Durango and is a popular year-round tourist destination.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Durango is known worldwide for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a heritage railroad that operates what was the Denver & Rio Grande Western's Branchline to the historic mining town of Silverton, Colorado, also still notably using historic D&RGW Steam Locomotives and other historic rail equipment.
Animas River Valley
The Animas River Valley begins in the heart of the San Juan Mountains and runs through downtown Durango. It boasts gold medal fly fishing waters and is popular for whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing. On warm summer afternoons, a popular diversion is to buy an inflated inner tube and float from Animas City to Schneider Park or below.
Purgatory Ski Resort
Purgatory Resort, located 25 miles north of downtown Durango, has 99 trails, 12 lifts, a vertical drop of over 2,000 feet, and more than 1,500 acres of skiable terrain. The resort features lodging, ski rentals, shopping, and dining. Purgatory is also a popular summertime recreation destination.
Durango is home to Snowdown, an annual midwinter event popular for its Parade of Lights and other events. The event lasts 5 days, with competitions and costumes.
Music in the Mountains
Music in the Mountains is an annual classical summer music festival with performances at Purgatory Resort, Ft. Lewis College, in downtown Durango, and Cortez.
As of 2019, the festival is no longer being held at Purgatory Resort.
Durango Ragtime & Early Jazz Festival
The annual Durango Ragtime & Early Jazz Festival features noted musicians from around the country. It is held in the Strater Hotel, a historic Victorian hotel in Durango.
Iron Horse Bicycle Classic
Founded in 1972, the Iron Horse is a 61-mile bicycle road race held annually in Durango, CO. Every year cyclist from around the world come together and race the Durango Narrow Gauge Train on its journey from Durango to Silverton.
The picturesque tree-lined street and quiet neighborhood are all part of the charm and warmth of a true Bed & Breakfast
Durango’s Premier Bed & Breakfast
This Bed and Breakfast the perfect inn for your vacation in scenic Durango, Colorado. Built in 1892, it is listed on the National & State Historic Register. It is an elegant Queen Anne Victorian home, in the heart of Durango. The picturesque tree-lined street and quiet neighborhood are all part of the charm and warmth of a true Bed & Breakfast."We hated to leave." August 16, 2021 - A Tripadvisor Traveler
Where History Meets Comfort
Rooms are intimate and elegantly appointed with antique period furnishings, and each has a private entrance. King, queen, double and single beds are available, as well as extra space if needed and WIFI included.
In addition, the handsome and artistically decorated Victorian parlor is a wonderful place to relax and visit with your hostess and other guests. Reservations are suggested. Join your hostess each morning for a deliciously prepared full, hot breakfast, elegantly served on fine china and silver. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of Durango, Co its history and all it has to offer. Visitors enjoy the amenities of a Durango hotel with the charm and personal attention of a Durango inn..
We look forward to helping you enjoy a home away from home as you explore beautiful Durango, CO.
An elegant Queen Anne Victorian Lady
One of the most notable and attractive of the historic homes in Durango is now known as our bed and breakfast is located at 805 Fifth Avenue. Delving into history is always fun–especially when it enables us to know the people and “places” of Durango’s past. Exploring the history and architecture of this home was particularly interesting.
The bed and breakfast is a three-story Queen Anne Victorian brick building with a wooden wrap-around porch of ornate banisters and relief work. The house also features two balconies on the second floor. Four gables join the steep main roof along with an imposing turret on the third floor. The gable ends are fish-scaled shingles with ornate fascia.
The bed and breakfast was built in 1892 by James and Eliza Schutt. Mr. Schutt owned a flour mill and mercantile store in Durango and was also active in buying and selling real estate in Durango and Cortez. Possibly due to the Silver Crash of 1893 and his real estate dealings, Mr. Schutt, in a subsequent year, placed ownership of the house in Eliza’s name only. This may have occurred because early Colorado laws would not allow a home belonging to a woman to be taken from her. Eliza Schutt owned the home until 1898 when it was sold to J.L. Rachofsky.
The new owner, Rachofsky, operated a mercantile shop called The Famous. He apparently did quite well with his shop, selling such goods as shoes, material, flour and other items commonly needed in Durango. In 1913, however, The Famous caught fire, and the house was sold to its most illustrious owner, Dr. B.J. Ochsner.
Dr. Ochsner was renowned as one of the best medical men in the Four Corners and also held international acclaim as a photographer and pistol shot. After moving to Durango from Telluride, Dr. Ochsner practiced at Mercy Hospital. Because of some dissatisfaction there, he purchased the large home and converted it to a private hospital, and from 1913 through 1937, it was known as Ochsner Hospital.
In 1937, the house was sold to Drs. Leo Lloyd and Christopher Martin, who continued its use as a hospital. In 1942, they sold the home to the County and it became the County’s first public hospital. In 1962, the County sold the home to JAME Corporation and in 1966 it was sold to one of the stockholders, Marvin Dale.
In 1970, Dale sold the home to its owners, Jeffrey and Heather Bryson. Heather now operates it as the Gable House Bed and Breakfast. Indeed, the Gable House has flourished under the care and ownership of Ms. Bryson. She has paid careful attention to the home’s architectural features and historic importance. As a result of her hard work and attention, the home was featured in Victorian Homes Sourcebook, May 1995. Additionally, the home is now on the National Register of Historic Places.