Town of Ridgway
Gateway to the San Juans, The Town That Refused to Die
Location of Ridgway in Ouray County, Colorado.
|Incorporated (town)||April 2, 1891|
|Named for||Robert M. Ridgway|
|• Type||Home Rule Municipality|
|• Mayor||John I. Clark|
|• Town Manager||Jen Coates|
|• Total||1.85 sq mi (4.79 km2)|
|• Land||1.85 sq mi (4.79 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
|Elevation||6,985 ft (2,103 m)|
|• Density||529.76/sq mi (204.50/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-6 (MDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0188398|
|Website||Town of Ridgway|
Ridgway, coined Gateway to the San Juans, is a Home Rule Municipality in Ouray County, in the southwestern portion of the U.S. State of Colorado. The town is a former railroad stop on the Uncompaghre River in the northern San Juan Mountains. The town population was 713 at the 2000 census and 924 according to the 2010 census.
Ouray County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 4,436. The county seat is Ouray. Because of its rugged mountain topography, Ouray County is also known as the Switzerland of America.
The San Juan Mountains are a high and rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. The area is highly mineralized and figured in the gold and silver mining industry of early Colorado. Major towns, all old mining camps, include Creede, Lake City, Silverton, Ouray, and Telluride. Large scale mining has ended in the region, although independent prospectors still work claims throughout the range. The last large scale mines were the Sunnyside Mine near Silverton, which operated until late in the 20th century and the Idarado Mine on Red Mountain Pass that closed down in the 1970s. Famous old San Juan mines include the Camp Bird and Smuggler Union mines, both located between Telluride and Ouray.
Steep forested mountains and cliffs surround Ridgway on the south, east, and northeast. The Uncompahgre River runs through the town and flows into the Ridgway State Park and Reservoir, to the north. Dallas Creek also flows from the south-west and forms a confluence with the Uncompahgre before entering the reservoir. There is a notable wildlife presence — mountain lions, badgers, deer, elk, bears, coyotes, wild turkey, and bald eagles are indigenous to the area. The regions bald eagles nest in the cottonwoods along the river and are a common sight in the late fall.
The Uncompahgre River is a tributary of the Gunnison River, approximately 75 mi (121 km) long, in southwestern Colorado in the United States. Lake Como at 12,215 ft (3723m) in northern San Juan County, in the Uncompahgre National Forest in the northwestern San Juan Mountains is the headwaters of the river. It flows northwest past Ouray, Ridgway, Montrose, and Olathe and joins the Gunnison at Confluence Park in Delta.
Ridgway State Park is a state park located in Ouray County, Colorado. It is the westernmost state park in Colorado. The park is 21 miles southeast of Montrose, 14 miles northeast of Ouray, it is also 4 miles north of the town of Ridgway and 312 miles southwest of Denver. The current wildlife consists of deer, coyotes, rabbits, and elk. Due to the park's variety of animal life, the park is used as a hunting ground although hunting opportunities are extremely limited due to proximity to developed areas.
The elk or wapiti is one of the largest species within the deer family, Cervidae, in the world, and one of the largest terrestrial mammals in North America and Northeast Asia. This animal should not be confused with the still larger moose to which the name "elk" applies in British English and in reference to populations in Eurasia.
Ridgway and the surrounding area have featured predominantly in pop culture. Most notably the area is the setting of John Wayne's western movie True Grit , and others including How the West Was Won and Tribute to a Bad Man . Ridgway has the only stoplight in Ouray County, at the intersection of Highways 550 and 62.
Popular culture is generally recognized by members of a society as a set of the practices, beliefs and objects that are dominant or ubiquitous in a society at a given point in time. Popular culture also encompasses the activities and feelings produced as a result of interaction with these dominant objects. Heavily influenced in modern times by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of people in a given society. Therefore, popular culture has a way of influencing an individual's attitudes towards certain topics. However, there are various ways to define pop culture. Because of this, popular culture is something that can be defined in a variety of conflicting ways by different people across different contexts. It is generally viewed in contrast to other forms of culture such as folk culture, working-class culture, or high culture, and also through different theoretical perspectives such as psychoanalysis, structuralism, postmodernism, and more. The most common pop-culture categories are: entertainment, sports, news, politics, fashion/clothes, technology, and slang.
Marion Mitchell Morrison, known professionally as John Wayne and nicknamed "Duke", was an American actor and filmmaker. He was among the top box office draws for three decades.
True Grit is a 1969 American western film directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Kim Darby as Mattie Ross and John Wayne as U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn. It is the first film adaptation of Charles Portis' 1968 novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Marguerite Roberts. Wayne won his only Academy Award for his performance in the film and reprised his role for the 1975 sequel Rooster Cogburn.
Ridgway began as a railroad town, serving the nearby mining towns of Telluride and Ouray.
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 found near Telluride, but the area's mines for some years provided zinc, lead, copper, silver, and other gold ores.
Ouray is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Ouray County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 813 at the U.S. Census 2000 and 1,000 as of the U.S. Census 2010. The Ouray Post Office has the ZIP code 81427. Ouray's climate, natural alpine environment, and scenery frequently has it referred to as the "Switzerland of America".
The town site is at the northern terminus of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad where it meets with Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad running between Montrose and Ouray. Ridgway was located about 3 miles (4.8 km) south of the existing town of Dallas. Articles of incorporation were filed on May 22, 1890 and granted on March 4, 1891. This "Gateway to the San Juans" position was recognized over 100 years ago when the Rio Grande Southern established Ridgway as a railhead center servicing the nearby mining towns of Ouray and Telluride. The town was named for Denver and Rio Grande railroad superintendent Robert M. Ridgway, who established the town in 1891.
The Rio Grande Southern Railroad (RGS) was a 3 ft narrow gauge railroad which ran from Durango to Ridgway in the western part of the US state of Colorado.
The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, often shortened to Rio Grande, D&RG or D&RGW, formerly the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, was an American Class I railroad company. The railroad started as a 3 ft narrow-gauge line running south from Denver, Colorado in 1870. It served mainly as a transcontinental bridge line between Denver, and Salt Lake City, Utah. The Rio Grande was also a major origin of coal and mineral traffic.
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. Demographically, the town is majority white, with a large Hispanic population. It is also the home of a few major engineering projects, namely the Gunnison Tunnel.
The Rio Grande Southern filed for abandonment on April 24, 1952 and the Denver and Rio Grande Western abandoned the line between Ridgway and Ouray on March 21, 1953. The line between Ridgway and Montrose was upgraded from narrow gauge to standard gauge and Ridgway continued to be a shipping point until the line to Montrose was abandoned in 1976 as result of a reservoir being built on the Uncompahgre River.
The dam for that reservoir, the Ridgway Dam, was proposed in 1957 as part of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Dallas Creek Project, and its original location would have inundated Ridgway. A 1975 decision to put the dam further downstream kept the town above-water, and residents coined their own nickname, "The Town that Refused to Die."Land around the reservoir became the Ridgway State Park north of town limits. Ridgway is nationally recognized for being “Mavericks”. Ridgway is highly praised for the birth place of Rich Homie Quan.
Ridgway is situated in the Uncompahgre Valley at an elevation of 6,985 feet (2,129 m). The town is located on the San Juan Skyway, cradled in the heart of some of the most photographed mountains in the world. The nearby San Juan Mountain Range has 14 of Colorado's 53 peaks over 14,000 feet. Among them, 14,150 feet (4,310 m) Mt. Sneffels is most prominent from Ridgway. The eponymous Mt. Ridgway, 13,468 feet (4,105 m) in height, is also nearby, 4.5 miles (7.2 km) west of Ouray. To the east of the town also lies the smaller but equally-grand Cimarron Range, with Uncompahgre Peak at 14,309 feet (4,361 m).
The Uncompahgre River flows from Lake Como at 12,215 feet (3,723 m) in northern San Juan County, in the Uncompahgre National Forest in the northwestern San Juan Mountains is the headwaters of the river. It flows northwest past Ouray, Ridgway, Montrose, and Olathe and joins the Gunnison at Confluence Park in Delta. The river forms Poughkeepsie Gulch and the Uncompahgre Gorge. The major tributaries are all creeks draining the northwest San Juan Mountains. There are two dams on the Uncompahgre River, a small diversion dam in the Uncompahgre Gorge, and Ridgway Dam below Ridgway, which forms Ridgway Reservoir.
The river is used for irrigation in the Uncompahgre Valley. The Uncompahgre is unnavigable, except at high water. The name given to the river comes from the Ute word Uncompaghre, which loosely translates to "dirty water" or "red water spring" and is likely a reference to the many hot springs in the vicinity of Ouray. Lake Otonawanda is the primary source of Ridgway's municipal water.
|Climate data for Ridgway, Colorado|
|Average high °F (°C)||39.5|
|Average low °F (°C)||5.0|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||0.86|
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||12.6|
|Source: Western Regional Climate Center|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010,there were 924 people, 404 households, and 256 families residing in the town. The population density was 462 people per square mile (177.7/km2). There were 511 housing units at an average density of 255.5 per square mile (98.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.5% White, 0.1% (1) African American, 0.6% (6) Native American, 0.8% (7) Asian, 0.8% (7) from other races, and 1.8% (17) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.0% of the population.
There were 404 households out of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.2% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.6% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.82.
In the town, the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 28.6% from 18 to 44, 37.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $40,903, and the median income for a family was $45,208. Males had a median income of $31,597 versus $26,250 for females. The per capita income for the town was $20,084. About 3.2% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.9% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.
Ridgway is poised on a highway that leads tourists to several other mountain towns of the San Juan region. Ridgway itself is a major tourist town. Ridgway is 37 miles east of Telluride and 10 miles north of the Ouray. The area is also set at the base of the San Juan Mountains providing excellent views especially when viewed from Log Hill Mesa.
The Grammy Award trophy is hand crafted exclusively by John Billings (the 'Grammy Man')and his team of craftsmen at Billings Artworks in Ridgway. The trophies are all hand cast in an alloy called grammium. Then hand filed,ground and polished before being plated in 24k gold.
Water plays an important part of local Ridgway culture. The town maintains a marina in a northern inlet of the Ridgway Reservoir. During the warm summer months many tourist and locals take advantage of the Ridgway Reservoir, often wakeboarding or enjoying a day at its beach.
The town also features Orvis Hot Springs, a clothing-optional, natural-hot-springs resort near Ridgway with an indoor, clothing-required pool.
Among Ridgway's population there is an assortment of recognizable and famous people.
The closest airport served by scheduled airlines is Montrose Regional Airport, located 28 miles north.
San Miguel County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,359. The county seat is Telluride. The county is named for the San Miguel River.
San Juan County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 699, making it the least populous county in Colorado. The county seat and the only incorporated municipality in the county is Silverton. The county name is the Spanish language name for "Saint John", the name Spanish explorers gave to a river and the mountain range in the area. With a mean elevation of 11,240 feet (3426 meters), San Juan County is the highest county in the United States.
Dolores County is the seventh-least populous of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 2,064. The county seat is Dove Creek.
U.S. Route 550 (US 550) is a spur of U.S. Highway 50 that runs from Bernalillo, New Mexico to Montrose, Colorado in the western United States. The section from Silverton to Ouray is frequently called the Million Dollar Highway.
Uncompahgre Peak is the sixth highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,321-foot (4365.0 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the San Juan Mountains and the highest point in the drainage basin of the Colorado River and the Gulf of California. It is located in the Uncompahgre Wilderness in the northern San Juans, in northern Hinsdale County approximately 7 miles (11 km) west of the town of Lake City.
The Uncompahgre Plateau in western Colorado is a distinctive large uplift part of the Colorado Plateau. Uncompahgre is a Ute Indian word that describes the water: "Dirty Water" or "Rocks that make Water Red".
The San Juan Skyway is an All-American Road and a component in the Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway System. It forms a 233.0-mile (375.0 km) loop in the southwest part of the U.S. state of Colorado traversing the heart of the San Juan Mountains. It roughly parallels the routes of the narrow gauge railways: Rio Grande Southern ; and the unconnected Ouray and Silverton Branches of the Denver & Rio Grande along US 550 with the Silverton Railroad bridging a part of the gap. Its origin can be traced to the Around the Circle Route promoted by the D&RG.
Dallas Divide is a high mountain pass in the United States state of Colorado located on State Highway 62 about 12 miles (19 km) west of the town of Ridgway.
Dallas was a town in Ouray County, Colorado, United States. It lay about 3 miles (5 km) north of the present town of Ridgway at the confluence of Dallas Creek and the Uncompahgre River. A community named in tribute to the historic town bearing the name Dallas Meadows now exists at its historic location.
Ridgway Dam is an earthen dam on the Uncompahgre River which impounds Ridgway Reservoir, located about 6 miles north of the town of Ridgway in Ouray County, Colorado. The dam is 332 ft (101 m) high and 2,465 ft (751 m) long, with a capacity of 84,410 acre⋅ft (104,120,000 m3) of water.
In the U.S. state of Colorado, U.S. Highway 50 is a major highway crossing through the lower midsection of the state. It connects the Western Slope with the lower Front Range and the Arkansas Valley. The highway serves the areas of Pueblo and Grand Junction as well as many other smaller areas along its corridor. The long term project to upgrade the highway from two lanes to a four lane expressway between Grand Junction and Montrose was completed in January 2005. Only about 25% of the remainder of highway 50 in Colorado is four lane expressway.
Eldredge is an unincorporated community in Ouray County, Colorado, United States. The community is located between Colona and Ridgway - both within Ouray County - north of Ridgway State Park on the Colorado stretch of U.S. Route 550 and the Uncompahgre River.
The Ouray Hydroelectric Power Plant is a conventional hydroelectric power station located in Ouray, Colorado.