Fun Facts About Durango
All of the Fun Facts on this page are provided through the Durango Area Chamber of Commerce.
Durango’s name comes from the Basque word Urango meaning “water town”.
Durango was “born” on April 13, 1881.
Colorado Governor A.G. Hunt gave our town its name after Durango, Mexico.
Anasazi Indians were the first settlers in the area who vacated the four-corners around 1300.
The term Anasazi Indians has been replaced with Ancestral Puebloans.
Mesa Verde National Park was established as a National Park in 1906.
Durango has always been a railroad town.
The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company founded the town of Durango in 1880.
The Durango depot looks the same as it was constructed in 1882.
The railroad tracks reached Silverton in July 1882. The labor force was paid an average of $2.25 per day.
The narrow gauge rails are thirty-six inches apart, while standard gauge rails are fifty-six inches apart.
Locomotives used by the D&SNG RR are from the 470-480 series, manufactured between the years of 1923-25.
Throughout the course of many years the D&SNGRR has carried over three hundred million dollars in precious metals.
The roundhouse burned on February 10, 1989. The fire destroyed the roundhouse and damaged 6 of the locomotives. This did not prevent the train from running as scheduled that year in May.
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad carries 200,000 passengers a year.
The D&SNGRR uses 10,000 gallons of water per round-trip and 12,000 pounds of coal; the coal is shoveled one shovel full at a time.
The Animas River’s official name is El Rio de las Animas Perdidas, roughly translated means, “The River of Lost Souls.” The Spanish explorers named the river after several explorers traveled on the river and were lost. Their bodies were never found, and last rites could not be administered, being devoted Catholics, they believed the dead men’s souls could not enter heaven and would be relegated to Purgatory.
This legend also explains the name of our ski area- Purgatory Ski Resort. Purgatory Creek is near lift 4 at the ski area.
Purgatory Ski Resort opened in 1965.
The word “Hermosa” means beautiful in Spanish. Hermosa Cliffs is located north of Durango.
The Animas is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the entire Western United States.
There is a two-mile stretch on Animas River that is “gold medal” water. “Gold Medal” water has the highest quality of fishing for large trout. Only lures and flies are allowed in this stretch of water.
Average yearly peak flows are measured in Durango at around 5,000 cubic feet per second. During years of high runoff, the volume reached 7,000 cubic feet per second.
The Strater Hotel, Durango’s elegant landmark was built in 1887.
The altitude of Durango is 6,512.
Jack Dempsey fought Andy Malloy on October 7, 1915 in the Jarvis Suites Hotel. Dempsey, born in southern Colorado, became the heavy weight champion in 1919.
The Iron Horse Bike Classic began in 1972. The road cyclists race the D&SNGRR to Silverton on Memorial Day weekend. It is the longest continuously run cycling event in the United States.
Fort Lewis College was originally an Indian school located on the Ute Reservation.
The local newspaper, The Durango Herald was originally The Durango Democrat in the 1880’s.
The honeybees in Honeyville live for 6 weeks working 24 hours a day 7 days a week. They also fly at speeds as fast as 14 miles an hour.
The Diamond Belle Saloon first opened its doors in 1957 and has a bullet hole in the far east drawer behind the bar.
Buried under the concrete in Carver’s Restaurant’s walk-in cooler is the Durango Heralds printing press.
Diamond Circle Melodrama did its first production in 1962.
1,200 members of the Southern Ute Tribe live in Ignacio.
Trimble Hot Springs mineral water contains the following minerals: zinc, sulfate, sodium, potassium, phosphate, nitrogen, manganese, magnesium, lithium, iron, fluoride, chloride, calcium and boron.
The Columbine, Colorado’s state flower, thrives in moist, cold habitats of the Sub-Alpine Zone.
Louis L’Amour wrote the Sackett Series, a set of western novels while staying at The Strater Hotel.
The original owner of the Strater Hotel, Henry Strater was a pharmacist.