|City of Gunnison|
"Base Camp Of The Rocky Mountains"
|Incorporated||March 1, 1880|
|Named for||John W. Gunnison|
|• Type||Home Rule Municipality|
|• Mayor||Jim Gelwicks|
|• City Manager||Russ Forrest|
|• Total||4.18 sq mi (10.84 km2)|
|• Land||4.18 sq mi (10.84 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
|Elevation||7,703 ft (2,347 m)|
|• Density||1,586.62/sq mi (612.55/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (MST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6 (MDT)|
81230-81231 and 81247
|GNIS feature ID||2410674|
|Website||City of Gunnison|
The City of Gunnison is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Gunnison County, Colorado, United States.As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 5,854. It was named in honor of John W. Gunnison, a United States Army officer who surveyed for the transcontinental railroad in 1853.
The City of Gunnison got its name from the first known European-American explorer of the area, John W. Gunnison. He was searching for a route for the transcontinental railroad in 1853 and only stayed for three days before traveling west to Utah. Gunnison saw its first population increase in the 1870s, due to the mining surge throughout the state. The railroad arrived soon after in 1880 to appreciative miners, ranchers, and farmers.
In the early 1800s, the groups moving into the Gunnison area were mainly fur trappers and mountain men, trying to make a living for themselves in the rocky mountain terrain. But a drop in fur prices in the 1840s essentially cut out the need for their jobs.
The late 1850s saw the start of people joining the hunt for gold in Gunnison county. Miners were in search of placer gold, but with the growing numbers of white men in the area, this brought conflict between the Ute tribes still around the county. At least several miners were killed by these tribes and this caused some of the miners to flee the area, caring more for their lives than potential gold bonanzas.
With the mining boom, Gunnison began to see an increase of people around the 1870s. Along with the miners coming in, ranchers and farmers were among the others that led to the Ute people becoming forced out of the area. The mining camps in Gunnison and around the county reportedly produced about 130,000 ounces of gold from the beginning of the gold rush through 1959. At the start this was mostly from placer deposits, but the largest amounts were from a by-product of silver-lead ore. The largest deposits were found along the Taylor River, as well as the Tincup and the Washington Gulch districts.
Before the railroad reached Gunnison in 1880, there was a debate as to which railroad line would claim the town as their territory. The D&RG and DSP&P were both battling for control over the area. This split the town into two sides, both disagreeing as to where the railroad depots should be placed in town. The "old" and "new" sides of town ended up agreeing to disagree and were happy to have any railroad come through town. Both lines ended up coming through town anyway, although the DSP&P shortly discontinued service to Gunnison. The D&RG was later reorganized as the D&RGW railroad and was a prominent line to Gunnison for about seventy years; it served as the primary means of transportation for the townspeople into the 1950s.
Also in 1880, the cattle industry in Gunnison was established. Realizing the poor conditions for farming (with only about eleven inches of rainfall annually and the short growing season due to the high elevation and alpine environment) the local farmers turned to ranching and began breeding cattle. To do this effectively, they had to clear and level fields for grazing purposes. Irrigation ditches also had to be cut into the ground to properly irrigate the fields in order to grow hay for the horses and cattle. Many of these practices are still in use, which can be seen while driving through and around the town to the various ranches that are still in operation.
John and William Outcalt were among the earliest settlers of Gunnison. They started their own ranch just north of town along the southeast bank of the Gunnison river. The brothers hailed from New Jersey, but decided to make the trip west for the sake of adventure and the prospect of making money. The eldest brother, John, built the irrigation system for their ranch and quickly began growing hay and other various grains. When the railroad came through town, he convinced them to expand more and ended up paying for and building the rail that ran through his property. Naming this stop Hay Spur, they produced enough hay to ship out over 800 carloads each year, which mainly headed north to the settlers of which is now the town of Crested Butte, helping feed their mules. Along with the hay, carloads of potatoes and other vegetables from the Gunnison area were being sent to Crested Butte to supply the miners with food and also to support their animals. John Outcalt is also known to be one of the most famous men in the town. He helped build the Paragon School, which is still standing today in the Gunnison Pioneer Society museum on the east end of town. Originally a shipbuilder and carpenter in New Jersey, he incorporated his skills in the building of the school which is why it is still standing today. John was also praised by the local natives; when he first arrived in town he worked as a carpenter on the Los Pinos Indian reservation, and was considered the most trusted White man in the area. This helped in the long run because, according to legend, they saved his life on numerous occasions.
Gunnison residents isolated themselves from the surrounding area during the Spanish Influenza epidemic for two months at the end of 1918. All highways were barricaded near the county lines. Train conductors warned all passengers that if they stepped outside of the train in Gunnison, they would be arrested and quarantined for five days.This served as partial inspiration for the novel The Last Town on Earth (2006) by Thomas Mullen. The isolation was ultimately unsuccessful, as townspeople became restless after a few months, and the isolation was lifted in February 1919 only to have the flu arrive a month later, killing several.
Gunnison is situated at an altitude of 7,703 feet (2,348 m).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.16 square miles (10.8 km2). All of it is land and none of it is covered by water. Gunnison is near Blue Mesa Reservoir. Primary access to Gunnison is from Salida to the east via Monarch Pass or from Montrose, Colorado to the west via Cerro Summit on U.S. Highway 50. U.S. Highway 50 is the main east-west thoroughfare through the town. There are numerous other ways to get to Gunnison, some of which are subject to seasonal closures (Kebler Pass, Cottonwood Pass). At the 2010 Census there was a population of 15,324 within the county.
Gunnison is located at the bottom of several valleys. Due to its location in the Rocky Mountains, cold air in all the valleys settles into Gunnison at night, making it one of the coldest places in winter in the United States, especially when snowpack is present. The average January low is −8 °F (−22 °C), and the average July high is 82 °F (28 °C). The record low is −60 °F (−51 °C), recorded at Blue Mesa Reservoir. The record high is 98 °F (37 °C), set on August 15, 1931.
The city typically experiences moderate snowfalls, with an average of 50 inches (130 cm) per year. Early fall and late spring snows are not uncommon, and snow can remain on the ground in town from as early as November to as late as April. Surrounding mountains experience very heavy snowfall with longer periods of snow on the ground. Many locations average 300–400 inches (760–1,020 cm) of snow annually. The snow is welcome to the area, as it is beneficial to water supplies and local ski resorts. Total liquid precipitation averages nearly 11 inches (280 mm) per year in the city of Gunnison, while surrounding mountains may receive anywhere from 15 to over 40 inches (380 to 1,000 mm) annually, depending upon elevation and local topography.
Under the Köppen climate classification, Gunnison has a semi-arid continental climate (Bsk).
|Climate data for Gunnison, Colorado (1981–2010)|
|Average high °F (°C)||26.6|
|Average low °F (°C)||−6.2|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||0.68|
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||9.5|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the censusof 2010, there were 5,854 people, 2,318 households, and 991 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,829.4 people per square mile (705.3/km2). There were 2,645 total housing units at an average density of 826.6 per square mile (318.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.9% White, 0.6% African American, 2.4% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 6.6% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.2% of the population.
There were 2,318 households, out of which 20.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.6% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 57.2% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.2 and the average family size was 2.9.
In the city, the population breakdown was 26.1% under the age of 19, 23.4% from 20 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 16.8 from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 120.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 128 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $39,181, and the median income for a family was $59,836. Males had a median income of $35,818 versus $28,476 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,776. 18.9% of families and 30.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 42.2% of those under age 18 and 16.6% of those age 65 or over.
Gunnison is home to Western Colorado University which received its third renaming since its beginnings from an approval of Governor John Wright Hickenlooper on August 1, 2012. The college was founded as The Colorado State Normal School for Children by a bill signed on April 16, 1901 by Governor James B. Orman. In 1923, the college's name was changed to Western State College of Colorado because its role expanded from a teaching institution to a liberal arts college. Historical papers in the Leslie Savage Library on campus state that the school was the first liberal arts college on the Western Slope of Colorado.
The Gunnison Valley is also served by the Gunnison Watershed RE1J School Districtwhich includes Public and Non Public schools. The public schools in the RE1J school district are located in Crested Butte and Gunnison; Marble Charter School is located in the Statutory Town of Marble in northwest Gunnison County. Public Schools in Gunnison Watershed RE1J School District:
The law concerning non public schools, 22-33-104, C.R.S., requires that a sequential program of instruction be provided by an independent or parochial school. Such program shall include, but not be limited to, communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, and science.Some of the non-public schools in Gunnison County adhering to these C.R.S. are:
Gunnison's newspaper, Gunnison Country Times , is published weekly.There are also various radio stations that serve the area, including KWSB-FM (91.1), which is affiliated with Western Colorado University. KBUT of Crested Butte also simulcasts NPR broadcasts at 90.3 FM.
The 1902 silent film short The Girls in the Overalls directed by Harry Buckwalter is set on the Vidal Ranch in Gunnison.
Gunnison County is the setting of the science fiction film Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem , although the film was actually shot in the towns of Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, British Columbia.
Gunnison is the setting of the 1960–1961 syndicated western television series Two Faces West .
Gunnison is the birthplace of the American actress Donna Anderson, a supporting cast member of the ABC western series, The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963–1964).
Gunnison is the setting for Season 11, Episode 19 of the CW series Supernatural entitled "The Chitters".
In 2009, Gunnison appeared as a launch site and mission control facility in Stephen Baxter's post-apocalyptic science fiction novel Ark .
Gunnison is the setting for Eternal Starling, the first book in the Emblem of Eternity trilogy by Angela Corbett.
The Gunnison–Crested Butte Regional Airport serves the valley and nearby Crested Butte with both commercial airline and general aviation flights. Gunnison Valley Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) operates bus service between Gunnison and Crested Butte serving Western Colorado University and Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Gunnison is part of the statewide Bustang system, which connects the town to Denver.
The League of American Bicyclists has awarded Gunnison the silver level in bicycle friendliness.
Winter activities for Gunnison include skiing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, skiing at Monarch Ski Area, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, back country skiing, ice fishing, ice skating, hunting, and snowshoeing.
Activities during the summer in Gunnison include fishing on the Gunnison River, Tomichi Creek and Blue Mesa Reservoir. Hiking in any of the numerous areas within a short distance of town like Curecanti National Recreation Area, Tomichi State Wildlife Area, Sapinero State Wildlife Area, McIntosh State Wildlife Area. Biking activities include road biking and mountain biking; Hartman's Rock has many bike trails for mountain biking as well as motorcross and rock climbing. One rafting practice is to rent a raft in Almont and drift 10 miles (16 km) down the Gunnison River to the town of Gunnison. Below the Hwy 50 bridge on the Gunnison river is the kayak park. The Gunnison Ranger District Office located at 216 North Colorado Street offers maps and information about details particular to vehicle access, private, BLM, federal and state properties, trails, and other areas of interest.
Gunnison also hosts festivals and farmers markets during the summer months.
A rodeo in Colorado takes place over a 10-day period in July featuring PRCA Rodeo activities as well as family-based activities. Cattlemen’s Days celebrated its 112th year of rich western heritage in a first class and nationally recognized rodeo event for the year 2012.In 2011, this rodeo was nominated as one of the five finalists for Mid-sized rodeo of the year. It continues to be a leader in PCRA rodeos in fund-raising for breast cancer with their Tough enough to wear pink campaign. Cattlemen's Days also offers scholarships to support and further the education of 4-H and FFA exhibitors.
Gunnison County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population was 16,918. The county seat is Gunnison. The county was named for John W. Gunnison, a United States Army officer and captain in the Army Topographical Engineers, who surveyed for the transcontinental railroad in 1853.
The Town of Buena Vista is a Statutory Town located in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 2,855 at the 2020 United States Census.
The City of Delta is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Delta County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 9,035 at the 2020 United States Census. The United States Forest Service headquarters of the Grand Mesa, Gunnison, and Uncompahgre National Forests are located in Delta.
The Town of Carbondale is a home rule municipality located in Garfield County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 6,434 at the 2020 United States Census. Carbondale is a part of the Glenwood Springs, CO Micropolitan Statistical Area.
The Town of Crested Butte is a home rule municipality located in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 1,639 at the 2020 United States Census. The former coal mining town is now called "the last great Colorado ski town". Crested Butte is a destination for skiing, mountain biking, and a variety of other outdoor activities.
Mt. Crested Butte is a home rule municipality in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. Mount Crested Butte is the home of the Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The population was 801 at the 2010 census. ZIP code 81225 serves post office boxes for Mount Crested Butte and for neighboring Crested Butte; mail must be addressed to Crested Butte.
The City of Montrose is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Montrose County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 19,132 at the 2010 United States Census. The main road that leads in and out of Montrose is U.S. Highway 50. The town is located in cardinal-western Colorado, in the upper Uncompahgre Valley and is an economic, labor, and transportation waypoint for the surrounding recreation industry. It is also the home of a few major engineering projects, namely the Gunnison Tunnel.
The Western Slope is the part of the state of Colorado west of the Continental Divide. Bodies of water west of the Divide flow toward the Pacific Ocean. Water that falls and flows east of the Divide heads east. The Western Slope encompasses about 33% of the state, but has just 10% of the state's residents. The eastern part of the state, including the San Luis Valley and the Front Range, is the more populous portion of the state.
The Elk Mountains are a high, rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains of west-central Colorado in the United States. The mountains sit on the western side of the Continental Divide, largely in southern Pitkin and northern Gunnison counties, in the area southwest of Aspen, south of the Roaring Fork River valley, and east of the Crystal River. The range sits west of the Sawatch Range and northeast of the West Elk Mountains. Much of the range is located within the White River National Forest and the Gunnison National Forest, as well as the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and Raggeds Wilderness. The Elk Mountains rise nearly 9,000 ft. above the Roaring Fork Valley to the north.
Gunnison–Crested Butte Regional Airport is a county-owned, public airport one mile southwest of Gunnison, in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. Also known as Gunnison County Airport, it serves the valley and nearby Crested Butte, Colorado with airline and general aviation flights.
Crystal is a ghost town on the upper Crystal River in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. It is located in the Elk Mountains along a four-wheel-drive road 6 miles (9.7 km) east of Marble and 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Crested Butte. Crystal was a mining camp established in 1881 and after several decades of robust existence, was all but abandoned by 1917. Many buildings still stand in Crystal, but its few residents live there only in the summer.
Ashcroft, originally known as Castle Forks City then Chloride until 1882, was a mining town located ten miles (16 km) south of Aspen, Colorado, United States. A few buildings remain standing as a testament to the town's past.
Almont is an unincorporated community and U.S. Post Office in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. The ZIP Code of the Almont Post Office is 81210.
KBUT, is a National Public Radio-member station in Crested Butte, Colorado. It features an eclectic mix of locally produced music shows. The shows range from classical to jazz to rock to hip-hop. KBUT has been on air since December 1986 and has its studio in Crested Butte, with its main transmitter on Sunlight Ridge in Mt. Crested Butte and translators in Almont and Gunnison. It also streams its signal online and is available at www.kbut.org. In June 2010, the Sunlight Ridge transmitter began broadcasting in HD as well as analog. On April 15, 2012, KBUT-FM's parent, Crested Butte Mountain Educational Radio, Inc. was granted a U.S. Federal Communications Commission construction permit to increase ERP to 1,000 watts and decrease HAAT to -208 meters.
Crested Butte is a prominent mountain summit in the Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 12,168-foot (3,709 m) peak is in Gunnison National Forest, 2.1 miles (3.4 km) northeast by east of the Town of Crested Butte in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. Ski lifts and runs of the Crested Butte Mountain Resort occupy the north side of the mountain.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort is a ski resort at Mount Crested Butte in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States.
Mount Gunnison is a prominent mountain summit in the West Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 12,725-foot (3,879 m) peak is located in the West Elk Wilderness of Gunnison National Forest, 22.2 miles (35.7 km) west by south of the Town of Crested Butte in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. The mountain is named in honor of John Williams Gunnison who explored the area.
The 1966 NCAA Skiing Championships were contested at the Crested Butte ski area in Created Butte, Colorado at the thirteenth annual NCAA-sanctioned ski tournament to determine the individual and team national champions of men's collegiate alpine, cross country skiing, and ski jumping in the United States.