Durango, Colorado History, Travel and Tourism Information - From the "Wild West" to the ancient Anasazi Indians and Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings.
   
   
 
 
 

Durango, Colorado History
Durango Tourism & History.

History of Durango, Colorado
History enthusiasts will enjoy the rich history of the Durango area. Durango's long and unique past sets Durango apart from other mountain destinations and adds to the undeniable authentic feel found in Durango & the surrounding San Juans. From the Mesa Verde National Park to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, you'll feel as if you've stepped back in time.

Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in just 35 minutes from Durango, Colorado. The park occupies 81.4 square miles (211 square kilometers) and features numerous ruins of homes and villages built by the ancient Pueblo people. The Mesa Verde National Park is best known for several spectacular cliff dwellings — structures built within caves and under outcroppings in cliffs — including Cliff Palace, which is thought to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America. The Spanish term Mesa Verde translates into English as "green table".

The Ancient Pueblo People
The Pueblo culture in Mesa Verde is known as the Classic Pueblo Period (A.D. 1100-1300). The exact number of dwellings in Mesa Verde is unknown, but over 600 cliff dwellings have been documented. Scientists study the ancient dwellings of Mesa Verde, in part, by making comparisons between the Ancestral Pueblo people and their contemporary indigenous descendants who still live in the Southwest today. Twenty-four Native American tribes in the southwest have an ancestral affiliation with the sites at Mesa Verde.

To fully enjoy Mesa Verde, plan to spend a day or two exploring its world-class archaeological sites as well as its beautiful landscape. The entrance to Mesa Verde is 9 miles east of Cortez and 35 miles west of Durango in Southwestern Colorado on US Highway 160.

The "Wild West" Comes to Durango, Colorado
The town of Durango, Colorado was organized in September 1880 by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad to serve the San Juan mining district. The D&RG chose a site south of Animas City for its depot after Animas City refused to pay a "dowery" to the D&RG. The city is named after Durango, Mexico. The word Durango originates from the Basque word "Urango" meaning "water town".

Many of the original buildings constructed by Durango's pioneers are still standing and are used today in the historic districts of Main and Third Avenues.

Modern Day Durango
We are all fortunate to be able to stroll through Durango and witness the town as it was in the early years of its rich western heritage. Nowadays, Durango offers an unchallenged combination of heritage & sophistication.

Experience Historical Durango
Durango continues to shape its own history. Let us guide you to the treasures hidden within this Colorado mountain town. Begin planning your Durango vacation today.

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