Telluride's story began with nomadic Ute Indians who hunted and fished this abundant valley –imparting legends and lore that survive today. The San Juan Mountains surrounding Telluride were named by Spaniards on their many fur-trapping explorations extending north from Santa Fe in the late 1700's. With the discovery of gold in 1858, this isolated mountain hideaway became known to a melting pot of fortune seekers and prospectors. Telluride was established as a town in 1887 and grew to 5,000 people as mining boomed and silver, zinc, lead and copper were carved from the San Juan Mountains. Butch Cassidy made his first bank heist at the local Bank, L.L. Nunn created the world's first long distance AC power transmission, revolutionizing the mining industry, and gambling saloons and the red-light district thrived alongside traditional family life.
When silver prices crashed in 1893, followed by World War I, the town shrunk to about 600 people. Mining continued until 1972, when Telluride's magnificent mountain beauty was discovered by skiers who were charmed by this main street historic town. A vibrant arts community attracted summer visitors and in 1972, the Colorado's first legendary festivals ----Film, Chamber Music, and Bluegrass came into being. Today, the flavor of Telluride's colorful past still lingers in Telluride's Historic District where fine restaurants and boutiques reside in Victorian era buildings.