Crested Butte: From Coal Camp to Ski Town

Crested Butte: From Coal Camp to Ski Town

by Duane A. Smith


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Like many old mountain mining communities, Crested Butte began life in the feverous excitement of a Colorado gold and silver mining camp, only to see the rich discoveries quickly disappear. However, unlike so many communities that became ghost towns, Crested Butte switched to mining the huge local deposits of top-quality coal. Through both good times and bad, the coal mining was carried on until the 1950s. Then Crested Butte slid quickly into "ghost town" status, only to be revived by the ski industry in the 1960s and 1970s.

Certainly the coal mining industry is an unusual partner for a Colorado ski town, but for Crested Butte, coal and skiing are inseparably intertwined. Crested Butte is the story of poor immigrants, labor strife, dirty and extremely dangerous coal mining, the D&RG Railroad, and two rich and greedy companies called the Durango Trust and Colorado Fuel and Iron. Duane Smith illustrates how such a mixture can make for an amazing tale of intrigue, joy, and sorrow. As Smith puts it: "Americans tend to make legends out of things they want to believe. We have tended to glorify gold and silver camps, while ignoring the immigrant and company-dominated coal community."

Unlike many coal towns, Crested Butte is a true Cinderella story. She was not left to die unrecognized in her squalor. She has become a premier ski town - the queen of the ball.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781932738063
Publisher: Western Reflections Publishing
Publication date: 06/17/2008
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.46(d)

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