The state capital, Denver, was originally called "Denver City" when it was founded in 1858. It was named after James W. Denver, the governor of the Kansas Territory, and the city's founders hoped that he would help promote their new settlement. However, Governor Denver never actually visited the city.
Montezuma County, located in southwestern Colorado, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Ancestral Puebloans, who built elaborate cliff dwellings and left behind a significant cultural legacy. Evidence of their settlements, such as Mesa Verde National Park, provides a glimpse into their advanced civilization.

With the arrival of Spanish explorers in the late 16th century, the region became part of the Spanish Empire, and later, part of Mexico. The Spanish influence remained strong, as evidenced by the numerous Spanish place names that still exist in the area. However, the territory eventually became part of the United States following the Mexican-American War in the mid-19th century.

The area experienced a significant boom in the late 19th century with the discovery of various natural resources, such as gold, silver, and coal. This led to an influx of settlers and the establishment of mining towns, such as Rico, which became important economic centers in the region. Additionally, Montezuma County played a crucial role in the development of the railroad, providing transportation for both people and goods.

In more recent history, Montezuma County has focused on preserving its cultural heritage and natural treasures. Mesa Verde National Park, established in 1906, has become a UNESCO World Heritage site and attracts visitors from around the world. The county has also seen growth in tourism and agriculture, with the production of crops like apples, barley, and livestock becoming significant industries. With its diverse history and beautiful landscapes, Montezuma County continues to be a unique and vibrant part of Colorado.

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

  • 1883 - Montezuma County is established as one of the original 17 counties of Colorado.
  • 1886 - A narrow gauge railroad, known as the Dolores Branch, is completed in the county, providing transportation for mining and agricultural products.
  • 1890 - The population of Montezuma County reaches over 6,000, mainly due to increased mining activity.
  • 1906 - The construction of the McElmo Flume begins, a wooden flume used to transport irrigation water to farmland in the county.
  • 1911 - The Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores is established as a museum and research center for the culture of the ancient Anasazi people.
  • 1917 - Montezuma County experiences a boom in oil and gas production, contributing to its economic growth.
  • 1923 - Mesa Verde National Park is established, protecting and preserving the ancient cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloans.
  • 1958 - Construction of the Dolores Project, a large-scale irrigation and dam system, begins to help provide water resources for agricultural development in the county.
  • 1979 - The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is established, protecting an extensive collection of archaeological sites.
  • 1992 - The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe opens the Ute Mountain Tribal Park, offering visitors guided tours of ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites.
  • 2000 - The population of Montezuma County is estimated to be around 24,000 people.