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.
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
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