Near Durango in La Plata County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Captain Charles H. Baker, who discovered gold in the San Juan in 1860, led a party of prospectors to this area in 1861. They placer mined on El Rio de las Animas, built the first bridge (300 feet north), and established the town called Animas City. It was a mile and a half north of the present site of Durango. Many suffered great hardships. Some perished from the winter storms. When no profitable mines were found the area was abandoned for a decade. Baker joined the Confederate forces during the Civil War. Later he returned to the San Juan where he was killed by Indians. Baker's first bridge was used for half a century.
Erected 1961 by State Historical Society of Colorado, Mrs. J.N. Hall Foundation and Sarah Platt Decker Chapter, D.A.R.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & Viaducts • Native Americans • War, US Civil • Wars, US Indian. A significant historical year for this entry is 1860.
Location. 37° 27.534′ N, 107° 47.971′ W. Marker is near Durango, Colorado, in La Plata County. Marker is on Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 12922 County Road 250, Durango CO 81301, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Pinkerton Hot Springs (approx. 0.6 miles away); La Plata County Freedom Trees (approx. 12.2 miles away); Summer of Flames (approx. 12.2 miles away); Community of Heroes (approx. 12.2 miles away); Seasons of Healing (approx. 12.2 miles away); Southern Durango with views of Smelter Mountain (approx. 13.3 miles away); Early Durango circa 1889 (approx. 13.4 miles away); Old Main Post Office Professional Building (approx. 13.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Durango.
Also see . . . Animas River.
Spanish explorer Juan Maria de Rivera of Santa Fe recorded the name "Rio de las Animas" (in English, River of Souls) in 1765. One theory is that the full name of the river was once "Rio de las Animas Perdidas" (River of Lost Souls) commemorating people who died in the river. A handful of commentators have suggested that the origin of this river's name is confused name with the Purgatoire River of southeastern Colorado. Source: Wikipedia(Submitted on July 17, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 22, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 17, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 212 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on June 21, 2022, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 17, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.