For more than ten thousand years Ute Indians spent the milder months of each year in these “shining mountains.”
By the turn of the last century however, miners and prospectors flooded the region. Word traveled fast. The San Juan Mountains were laden with riches including gold, silver, zinc, lead and copper.
A testament to the riches in these mountains, Telluride became the first town in the world to boast long-distance transmission of A/C electricity and with the arrival of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad in 1891, the region flourished with a population swelling to nearly 5,000 residents.
By the 1960s, however, the mining industry had waned. The hospital and even the banks closed. Only 300 locals remained.
In 1972, despite the remoteness of Telluride a ski resort was born and slowly, the town welcomed new residents, guests and industries.
The last mine closed in 1978.
Today Telluride remains a prosperous town no longer mining for the yellow gold, but rich in white gold that beckons people from around the world.