CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. (KREX) — Crested Butte, now a ski resort destination and wildflower capitol of Colorado. But this wasn’t always the case, and if you trace back hundreds of years, the town may just be…unrecognizable.
For centuries, this territory belonged to the Native American Utes, who would use it as a seasonal hunting ground.
But by the late 1800’s, a new force was driving Native Americans out.
Cowboys, settlers, and trappers fended off Ute tribes for years, before mining drilled out the remaining Indians.
Silver and coal mines started popping up – one of which was Big Mine, which produced a record of 11,000 tons in one week.
Once the mines opened, the town exploded. Crested Butte was officially incorporated in 1880, and by 1881, a thousand miners broke ground in the area, the Denver Rio-Grande narrow-gauge train rolled through town, and fifty businesses were booming.
But the ferocious rise of Crested Butte soon fell just as fast, when the Jokerville Mine exploded in 1884, killing 60 men.
And fire devoured most businesses when frozen water lines couldn’t stop it in 1890.
Through all of the loss affecting the town, the residents still stood tall. But, from 1952 until the 60’s, the town was on the verge of becoming a ghost town. But once locals started advertising the mountain, a new economic driver was formed.
All the way through today, skiing and tourism is the main economic driver for this mountain resort.
As the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus says, change is the only constant. Who knows where the future will take us.