Telluride is the county seat and most populous town of San Miguel County in the southwestern portion of the U.S. state of Colorado. The town is a former silver mining camp on the San Miguel River in the western San Juan Mountains. The first gold mining claim was made in the mountains above Telluride in 1875 and early settlement of what is now Telluride followed. The town itself was founded in 1878 as "Columbia", but due to confusion with a California town of the same name, was renamed Telluride in 1887, for the gold telluride minerals found in other parts of Colorado. These telluride minerals were never located near Telluride, causing the town to be named for a mineral which was never mined there. However, the area's mines for some years provided zinc, lead, copper, silver, and other gold ores.
Telluride is located at an elevation of 8,750 feet (2,670 m) in an isolated spot in Southwest Colorado. From the west, Colorado Route 145 is the most common way into Telluride; however, there are two alternate passes to enter the town, Imogene Pass and Black Bear Pass.
On the eastern side of town, there are two waterfalls: Ingram Falls, which is visible from town, and Bridal Veil Falls and the Bridal Veil Hydroelectric plant, which are just out of sight from town to the right of Ingram. The power plant house was leased for a period of time by Eric Jacobsen, who restored the house and the generator inside. The hydroelectric plant was built in 1895 to power the Smuggler-Union Mine.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,221 people, 1,013 households, and 357 families residing in the town. The population density was 3,143.3 people per square mile (1,207.8/km²). There were 1,938 housing units at an average density of 2,742.8 per square mile (1,053.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 92.57% White, 0.81% Native American, 0.72% Asian, 0.41% African American, 4.14% from other races, and 1.35% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.20% of the population.
There were 1,013 households out of which 19.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 25.2% were married couples living together, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 64.7% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 1.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.79.
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