Durango, Colorado -- Holy Cow -- Steve Carlton!
Durango, Colorado October 14, 2020
Durango is the county seat and the most populous municipality of La Plata County, Colorado, United States. It is home to Fort Lewis College. The Census Bureau reported a population of 16,887 in the 2010 census.
The town was organized in September 1880 to serve the San Juan mining district. The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad (D&RG) chose the site on the Animas River for its depot following a brief and most likely perfunctory negotiation with Animas City, two miles to the north.] The city was named by ex-Colorado Governor Alexander C. Hunt after Durango, Mexico, based on his favorable impression of that city resulting from a scouting trip undertaken on behalf of William J. Palmer, the head of the D&RG.
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 inches. Demographics Edit
Census Pop. %±
1980 11,649 12.7%
1990 12,430 6.7%
2000 13,922 12.0%
2010 16,887 21.3%
2019E 18,973 12.4%
Arts and Culture
- 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 railway that travels from Durango to the historic mining town of Silverton, Colorado via steam-powered trains. The history of the town and the D&SNG are inextricably woven, dating back to the 1880s.
- 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 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.
- Snowdown Festival
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.
- 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.
Durango is served by U.S. Highway 160 (the Old Spanish Trail), running east–west, and U.S. Highway 550, running north–south. Part of U.S. 550 offers high-speed access (primarily a 4-lane, divided highway) to Albuquerque, New Mexico. North of Durango, 550 is nicknamed the Million Dollar Highway, and is part of the scenic San Juan Skyway.
Durango is served by a major regional airport for southwestern Colorado, Durango-La Plata Regional Airport, near Ignacio. Durango-La Plata County Airport (IATA code: DRO) is serviced year-round by regional carriers Mesa Airlines (American Eagle), SkyWest Airlines (American Eagle and United Express), Republic Airways (United Express), and American Eagle (Envoy Air).
Durango is served by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Fort Lewis College is on a 350 foo mesa overlooking downtown Durango and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. As of 2014, 4,028 students were enrolled at FLC. FLC is a public 4-year liberal arts college.
Southwest Colorado Community College, a branch of Pueblo Community College, is in the Durango Highschool building on North Main Ave.
Paco Ahlgren, writer
Ross Anderson, World Cup/professional speed skier, All-American record holder
Steve Carlton, Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher
James Garesche Ord, United States Army Major General, born at Fort Lewis near Durango
Missy Giove, cyclist inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame
Howard Grotts, cyclist
Greg Herbold, cyclist inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame
Sepp Kuss, cyclist
Matt Miller, NFL offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns
Ned Overend, cyclist inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame
Stuart Roosa, NASA astronaut and former USFS Smoke Jumper, carried Redwood seeds on the Apollo 14 Moon mission which are now planted in several US parks
Ed Stasium, record producer
Tom Tully, actor, Oscar nominee for The Caine Mutiny
Shan Wells, sculptor and illustrator
Todd Wells, cyclist
References in Film and Television
- Much of the 1953 western movie The Naked Spur starring James Stewart was shot in Durango.
- Several parts of the 1955 western film Run for Cover starring James Cagney, were filmed just north of Durango in and around the upper Hermosa Valley area.
- Portions of the 1957 western Night Passage starring a returning James Stewart, as well as Audie Murphy and Brandon DeWilde were filmed near Durango and on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway.
- In 1965, Rosemary DeCamp played Durango newspaper editor Caroline Romney in the episode, "Mrs. Romney and the Outlaws" of the syndicated television series, Death Valley Days. In the story line, Romney sounds the alarm for citizens to fight the Kimball/Sykes gang. Willard Sage played Marshal Christy.
- Parts of the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were filmed north of town along the Animas River.
- The television series Cannon, episode "Sky Above, Death Below" was filmed in and around Durango, Purgatory Resort, and Chimney Rock.
- Part of the 1991 film City Slickers was shot in Durango.
- The 1999 movie Durango Kids describes a time tunnel in the old mines outside of Durango.
- Parts of the 1993 film Cliffhanger were shot in Durango.
- The 1978 Roger Corman film Avalanche, starring Rock Hudson and Mia Farrow, was filmed mainly at Durango Mountain Resort and at the Lodge at Tamarron in north Durango.