In 1913, the city of Trinidad, Colorado, became the site of the first successful oil well-drilled west of the Mississippi River. The discovery led to a boom in oil production in the region, and Colorado became a major oil-producing state.
Custer County, located in the beautiful state of Colorado, has a rich and intriguing history. Named after General George Armstrong Custer, this county was established in 1877 when Colorado was still a territory. The area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Ute and Apache, who utilized the land for hunting and gathering.

In the late 1800s, the discovery of gold and silver brought a wave of settlers to Custer County, resulting in a period of intense mining activity. Numerous mines were established, including the famous silver mining town of Silver Cliff. The mining industry provided significant economic growth and attracted people from all walks of life seeking their fortune in the Colorado Rockies.

As mining activities declined in the early 1900s, Custer County's economy shifted towards ranching and agriculture. The vast open spaces and fertile valleys made it ideal for cattle ranching and farming. Homesteading became popular, with families settling in the area to cultivate crops and raise livestock.

In recent times, Custer County has become a popular tourist destination due to its breathtaking natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. Located near the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the San Isabel National Forest, this county draws visitors looking to engage in hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching. Its rich history and picturesque landscapes continue to attract people, making Custer County a beloved and historically significant region of Colorado.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Custer County, Colorado.

  • 1866 - Custer County is established.
  • 1877 - Silver and lead are discovered in the area, leading to a mining boom.
  • 1881 - The town of Rosita is founded.
  • 1881 - The town of Silver Cliff is established.
  • 1882 - The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad reaches Silver Cliff.
  • 1891 - The town of Westcliffe is incorporated.
  • 1893 - The last mine in Rosita closes, leading to a decline in population.
  • 1915 - A forest fire destroys many structures in Westcliffe.
  • 1933 - The Great Depression causes economic hardship in the area.
  • 1970 - Custer County is designated as a National Historic District.
  • 1994 - The Westcliffe and Silver Cliff communities merge into one municipality.
  • 2002 - The Conforming Zoning Resolution is adopted to manage growth and development.