Local History Timeline
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Juan Maria Antonio de Rivera, searching for gold and silver, names the Rio de los Animas.
August 8 & 9, 1776
Franciscan friars Francisco Dominquez and Silvestre Escalante pass through today’s La Plata County on their expedition to find an overland route from Santa Fe to Monterey, California.
1829 - 1848
Traders and travelers from Santa Fe pass through La Plata County on the Old Spanish Trail en route to California.
Learn more about the Old Spanish Trail.
Brunot Agreement signed by President Grant: Utes cede land in San Juan Mountains for mining and settlement.
September 6, 1876
Plat of Animas City filed in the United States Land Office, Lake City, Colorado.
Learn more about the history of Animas City.
September 13, 1880
First surveyor stake driven in Durango.
Fort Lewis moves to a site near Hesperus.
Learn more about Fort Lewis.
July 28, 1881
Denver & Rio Grande Railroad arrives in Durango.
Learn more about the D&RG and play Railroad Bingo
January 15, 1887
Electric arc lights illuminate Durango's streets.
Silver Panic destroys much of the economy of SW Colorado.
June 3, 1905
San Juan National Forest created.
Learn more about the San Juan National Forest
Mesa Verde established as a national park with the signing of the Antiquities Act by Theodore Roosevelt.
September 14, 1941
Vallecito Dam dedicated.
During World War II, the smelter (closed in 1930) was reactivated to process pitchblende, vanadium, and carnotite ores into uranium.
January 1, 1948
Ordinance Number 227 takes effect--Animas City annexed to Durango.
May 30, 1957
Fort Lewis College officially dedicated at its new location atop Reservoir Hill overlooking Durango.
Animas City School building is added to the National Register.