Sunday, August 7, 2016
Red Mountain Mining District & Silverton, CO (7/20/2016)
In the early 1880s, an area of roughly eight square miles nestled among the Red Mountains became home to more than 3000 people in six mining towns. Hundreds of buildings and all the expected facilities for that time were constructed in short order. While several of the towns had one or more mines, others developed primarily to provide supplies and other support for the mining towns. Fire departments, water systems and other types of infrastructure were implemented. Most of those structures have totally disappeared, but the remains of others give us a little insight into the life and times of the mining boom.
Red Mountain Creek carries most of the drainage from this area. Like the mountains it's named for, the creek has a reddish color from all the iron oxide resulting from exposed iron ore.
Late for lunch, we hustled on to Silverton to find a restaurant and do a little window shopping. One of my favorite towns, Silverton sits at an altitude of 9400 feet and is a great tourist stop, primarily because of the Durango-Silverton Railroad that brings thousands to the town almost every day. We chose one of the better restaurants, called Handlbars, but had a short wait because a trainload of people had arrived in town shortly before we did.
After a successful shopping spree, it was late enough that we decided to return to Montrose. That evening, while sipping wine and relaxing on the patio, we enjoyed the sunset at the end of a fine day.