Durango, Colorado

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Durango Business Signs

The ancient Pueblo (Anasazi) peoples initially inhabited the area of Colorado, which would eventually become Durango prior to United States’ involvement in the region.

By the late nineteenth century the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad (D&RG) wanted to build a depot at Animas City, in order to serve the San Juan mining district.  Animas City refused to pay D&RG a dowry, so the railroad company built Durango to serve as that depot instead.  Animas City was named after the Animas River, a tributary of the San Juan River.  Animas River flows through Durango.  Spanish explorer Juan Maria de Rivera of Santa Fe named Animas River in 1765.  It either means “river of souls” or “river of lost souls.”

As for Durango, the city was named after Durango, Mexico, which itself was named after Durango, Spain.  The word ‘Durango’ is Basque in origin and means “water town.”  Durango, Colorado was officially incorporated on April 27th, 1881.

Today, the City of Durango is a Home Rule Municipality and the county seat and most populous municipality of La Plata County, Colorado.  According to a 2013 estimate by the United States Census Bureau, the population of Durango, Colorado is 17,557.

Durango, CO is known for its rich cultural heritage.  The ancient Pueblo (Anasazi) peoples left behind many artifacts and other archeological sites.  Among these sites include the Darkmold Site, which was left behind by Basketmaker culture, Spring Creek Archeological District, and Talus Village.

In fact, the Durango Rock Shelters Archeology Site, which features Basketmaker and Pueblo culture, was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1985.  Durango Rock Shelters Archeology Site is also known as the Fall Creek Rock Shelters Site.  It was initially excavated by archeologist Earl H. Morris in 1938-1939 and “was the first site [rediscovered] where dwellings had been found of the early Basketmakers with actual house structures.”

The city of Durango, CO sits comfortably within the Animas River Valley.  It is surrounded by the San Juan Mountains.  The Animas River provides “gold medal fly fishing waters” and features great places to whitewater raft, kayak, and canoe.  One of the greatest attractions in the Durango, CO area is Durango Mountain Resort, or as it is more commonly referred to: Purgatory Resort.  This skiing destination has a top elevation of 10,822 ft (3,299 m) and boasts 85 runs in total.

Durango, CO is not lacking for education.  In fact, the city is home to Fort Lewis College.  Fort Lewis College is a public liberal arts college for undergraduates, which was established in 1911.  Fort Lewis College had 3,864 undergraduates enrolled as of 2011.

Additionally, according to the National Science Foundation, due to Fort Lewis College’s “unique origins as a military fort turned Native American boarding school turned state public school, [the college] follows a 1911 mandate to provide tuition-free education for qualified Native Americans.  Fort Lewis College awards approximately 16 percent of the baccalaureate degrees earned by Native American students in the nation.”  Fort Lewis College has even been “designated as one of six Native American-serving, non-tribal colleges by the U.S. Department of Education.”

Own a small business in the Durango, CO area?  Considering it?  These resources could prove beneficial to you in the near future:

Apply for a Business License in Durango, CO

Durango, CO – Official Website – Business

Durango, CO Chamber of Commerce

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