Crystal City Colorado

Crystal City Colorado was named for the Crystal River which flowed nearby.  Here this boom town consisted of hotels, general store, saloon, two newspaper offices and a pool hall.


The first prospectors arrived in the valley around 1860.  They followed a trail that led from Crested Butte across Scofield Pass.

It was not until twenty years later, that mineral deposits were discovered by a geologist, John Hallowell, in 1883.


What he found was not gold or silver, but zinc, iron and copper.  Many flocked to the town when they heard of the discovery of these minerals.

Roads to and from the camp were only trails over and around the mountains.  The area was famous for snow and rock slides.


In 1900, the town became buried in snow.  The stage road was under thirty feet of snow.  Mines had to close up because there was no way to get the ore out or supplies in.

Eventually, a railroad spur was built by the Crystal River and San Juan Railway.  However, heavy snow and drifts made it impossible for the train to run until the spring thaw.


Any communication out of Crystal City was on snowshoes.  Drifts reached roof high and some residents said it was the worst storm in the Elk Mountains they had ever seen.

Even the postman, who would always deliver the mail, only visited once a week during winter months with the use of snowshoes.

When the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1893 was passed, there was widespread panic and Crystal City was abandoned.


Today, the spot where Crystal City stood consists of a handful of summer cabins that are enjoyed between June and October.

Driving there is easy on paved Hwy. 133 from Carbondale to Marble, then take the old stage road from Marble to Crystal City.



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