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This page was last updated on: December 28, 2005
Hinsdale County is the least populated county in Colorado and it is bordered by Gunnison County, Saguache County, Mineral County, Archuleta County, La Plata County, San Juan County, and Ouray County. It was formed from portions of Conejos, Costilla, and Lake Counties in 1874. The county seat was moved from San Juan City to Lake City early in its history, the first cabin being erected by Enos Hotchkiss in 1874. By late 1875, Hotchkiss's cabin was merely one of sixty seven structures.
The economic interests of early Hinsdale County were rooted in mining, particularly around the Burrows Park and Sherman areas. In 1900, the White Cross and Tellurium camps became active despite rugged road conditions. Carson and Capitol City were two camps which also proved profitable.
Like many mining districts in Colorado, Hinsdale County experienced a wide array of peculiar phenomena, such as snowslides which decimated bunkhouses and carried miners to their deaths and fires which leveled the town. These events were reported by the "The Silver World", the Lake City newspaper from 1875 to 1938.
In the 1940s, investors from nearby states arrived in Lake City with notions of profiting from the tourism potential. Soon, animosity between the natives and newcomers created a rift. Rumors were spread about indiscretions among county employees (who were natives) and the newcomers infiltrated the government offices and subsequently the city government positions. The goals of the newcomers were better roads and more fishing lakes which would attract tourists.
Today, Hinsdale County's population is less than 500. The economy is based on tourism. In the summer, visitors frequent the many eclectic restaurants, such as Poker Alice's, and revisit the past at the Hinsdale County Museum and the county courthouse. The winter attracts snowmobilers and cross-country skiing enthusiasts.
Here you will find links and addresses to historical, genealogical, and practical Hinsdale County off-site information.
Copyright@2000-2006 Dan and Linda Deslauriers
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