Historical Markers in
Conejos County, Colorado

The first documented discovery of gold in Colorado was in 1858, when a group of prospectors found gold near present-day Denver. This discovery led to the Pike's Peak Gold Rush and a population boom in the area.
Conejos County, Colorado has a rich and diverse history. It was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Ute and Jicarilla Apache. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers arrived in the area, laying claim to the region and establishing a presence with missions and settlements. The Spanish influence remained strong until the early 19th century when the area came under Mexican control.

In 1848, with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Conejos County and the rest of Colorado became part of the United States. The area began to attract American settlers, many of whom were farmers looking to take advantage of the fertile soil and abundant natural resources. With the advent of the Colorado Gold Rush in the late 1850s, mining also became an important industry in the county.

Conejos County experienced continued growth and development throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The expansion of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad in the 1870s brought increased connectivity and economic opportunities to the region. Agriculture, particularly sheep and cattle ranching, thrived, and the county became known for its agricultural production.

Today, Conejos County remains a rural community with a mix of farming, ranching, and tourism industries. The county is home to several historic sites, including the scenic Conejos River and the historic town of Antonito. The rich history of Conejos County is celebrated through various events and festivals that showcase the region's diverse cultural heritage.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Conejos County, Colorado.

  • 1851: Mexican territory of Conejos established.
  • 1854: U.S. government establishes the Territory of New Mexico, which includes Conejos County.
  • 1871: Conejos County officially organized.
  • 1876: Colorado achieves statehood, Conejos remains part of the state.
  • 1880: Railroad reaches Conejos County, aiding in its economic development.
  • 1911: Conejos County suffers from devastating floods.
  • 1939: First ski resort opens in Conejos County, attracting tourists.
  • 1981: Great Sand Dunes National Monument is designated in Conejos County.
  • 2000: Conejos County celebrates its 129th anniversary of organization.
  • 2010: Conejos County's population reaches approximately 8,200.