“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Animas Forks in San Juan County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)

Animas Forks

Animas Forks Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, July 8, 2021
1. Animas Forks Marker

The first prospectors wintered in "Three Forks of the Animas" in 1873, looking for silver and gold. In 1875 the name was changed to Animas Forks to accommodate the Post Office Department, and funds were committed by the San Juan County Commissioners to build a road between Silverton and Animas Forks to connect with the trail from Lake City, now known as Cinnamon Pass. By 1885, the summer population reached 450 people. Few people braved the harsh winters when most mining activity stopped.

The town weathered the boom and bust cycles of the mining industry until the early 1920's when metals prices fell worldwide and it began its slow transformation into a ghost town.

1. This view of downtown Animas Forks looks south towards Silverton. In the foreground is the famous "Bay Window House" which was built by William W. Duncan in 1879. The San Juan County Historical Society has stabilized this important historic house with the help of the Ghost Town Club of Colorado, Outward Bound and a grant from ISTEA.
2. Animas Forks became a town....and businesses and had electricity, telephone, and telegraph.
Animas Forks Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, July 8, 2021
2. Animas Forks Marker
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Fire destroyed much ..... In 1943 an avalanche demolished several buildings in Animas Forks' busines district. The Silverton Northern Railroad connected the town with Eureka and Silverton in 1904. Built as an extension of the railroad by pioneer rail builder Otto Mears, this line saw few years of active service. The rails remained in place until 1938, when most of the right-of way became the present county road.
3. The Gold Prince Mill was constructed for $500,000 in 1904 and was the costliest mill ever built in Colorado to that time. The mill was constructed with structural steel instead of heavy timber, and was later salvaged for use in the Sunnyside Mill in Eureka in 1917. It was connected to the Gold Prince Mine by a cable tramway 12,000 feet long which brought the ore to the mill in buckets. It had 100 stamps and processed 500 tons of ore a day. In 1904 the extension of the Silverton Northern Railroad from Eureka carried the refined ore concentrates to Silverton. The mill closed in 1910 after operating for only 6 years.
4. At 11,200 feet, the Animas Forks Pioneer was the only newspaper ever published and printed at so high an elevation in the United States.

Erected by U.S. Department of the Interior - Alpine Loop.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce
The view of the Animas Forks Marker from the road image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, July 8, 2021
3. The view of the Animas Forks Marker from the road
Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1873.
Location. 37° 55.866′ N, 107° 34.249′ W. Marker is in Animas Forks, Colorado, in San Juan County. Marker is on County Highway 9, half a mile north of Highway 2, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Silverton CO 81433, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The William Duncan House (within shouting distance of this marker); Ute Homeland (approx. 3.1 miles away); Bonanza Empire Chief (approx. 4 miles away); White Death (approx. 4 miles away); A Town with Three Names (approx. 4.3 miles away); Tellurium or Was It Whitecross (approx. 4.3 miles away); Rose Lime Kiln (approx. 5.2 miles away); This Marker in Memory of Rev. Marvin Hudson (approx. 5˝ miles away).
Also see . . .  Alpine Loop.
The Alpine Loop is truly a backcountry experience. Make sure someone knows your travel plans and do your homework before you start your trip. Make sure you have plenty of water, food and fuel to make it to your destination. Electronics and wireless devises DO NOT work in most places on the Alpine Loop. It is recommended that you download or print hard copy maps prior to your trip. The Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway is a rugged
Old House in Animas Forks image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, July 8, 2021
4. Old House in Animas Forks
4x4 road that winds through the spectacular scenery of the San Juan Mountains, connecting Lake City, Silverton, and Ouray. The Alpine Loop byway traverses passes up to 12,800 feet while showcasing old mines, ghost towns, natural wonders, beautiful wildflowers, and abundant wildlife. Alpine Loop is an avenue for exploring nature and history amidst thrilling views and stunning geography. Tackling the loop in its entirety is easily an all-day experience event. However, the main loop is only part of the experience; miles of designated side routes allow visitors to either take a short tour or extend their trip to multiple days. For more information, please contact the Gunnison Field Office.
(Submitted on July 21, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 
The view of Animas Forks from the mountain image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, July 8, 2021
5. The view of Animas Forks from the mountain
Credits. This page was last revised on July 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 21, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 71 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 21, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.

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Jan. 28, 2022