The narrow-gauge Denver & Rio Grande (D&RG) Railroad, the first rail system to challenge and successfully conquer Colorado's Rocky Mountains, arrived in the Uncompahgre (un-cum-PAH-gray) Valley on the state's western slope in 1882. Montrose was established to supply mines in the mineral-rich San Juan Mountains and provide a freight transfer depot and a shipping point for gold and silver ore. The US government had forced the Ute Indians off their traditional lands the previous year and opened the area to settlement. Land was quickly claimed and cleared as the booming mining districts created a ready market for all agricultural produce. By the 1893 repeal of the Sherman Silver Act and the US economic decline, Montrose was well established, but continued growth revealed a serious need for supplemental water. Selected as an inaugural project by the newly created US Bureau of Reclamation, the resulting Gunnison Tunnel has provided water since 1909.
Housed in the 1912 D&RG Railroad Depot, deeded to the city of Montrose for that purpose, the Montrose County Historical Society & Museum strives to preserve, display, and interpret the historical and cultural legacy of Montrose County. This volume contains material and photograph’s gathered from the museum’s collection.
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