San Miguel County
The San Miguel County Courthouse
Location within the U.S. state of Colorado
Colorado's location within the U.S.
|Founded||March 2, 1883|
|Named for||San Miguel River|
|• Total||1,289 sq mi (3,340 km2)|
|• Land||1,287 sq mi (3,330 km2)|
|• Water||2.0 sq mi (5 km2) 0.2%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||5.7/sq mi (2.2/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (Mountain)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6 (MDT)|
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 Miguel County was given the Spanish language name for "Saint Michael" due to the nearby San Miguel River. On 27 February 1883, Ouray County was split to form San Miguel County. Originally the San Miguel County portion was to retain the name Ouray County with the new portion called Uncompahgre County.
Mining operators in the San Juan mountain area of Colorado formed the San Juan District Mining Association (SJDMA) in 1903, as a direct result of a Western Federation of Miners proposal to the Telluride Mining Association for the eight-hour day, which had been approved in a referendum by 72 percent of Colorado voters.The new association consolidated the power of thirty-six mining properties in San Miguel, Ouray, and San Juan counties. The SJDMA refused to consider any reduction in hours or increase in wages, helping to provoke a bitter strike.
In 1875, the Smuggler gold vein was discovered near Telluride. The Smuggler-Union, Tomboy, and Liberty Bell mines combined produced over a hundred tons of gold by 1920, third in the state of Colorado. 51,83:
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,289 square miles (3,340 km2), of which 1,287 square miles (3,330 km2) is land and 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2) (0.2%) is water.
|U.S. Decennial Census |
At the 2000 census there were 6,594 people, 3,015 households, and 1,423 families living in the county. The population density was 5 people per square mile (2/km2). There were 5,197 housing units at an average density of 4 per square mile (2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 93.57% White, 0.29% Black or African American, 0.85% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 3.37% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. 8.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Of the 3,015 households 22.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.30% were married couples living together, 5.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 52.80% were non-families. 32.70% of households were one person and 2.50% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.77.
The age distribution was 17.60% under the age of 18, 9.90% from 18 to 24, 43.30% from 25 to 44, 25.80% from 45 to 64, and 3.40% 65 or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 120.80 males. For every 100 females age eighteen 18 and over, there were 126.40 males.
The median household income was $48,514 and the median family income was $60,417. Males had a median income of $35,922 versus $30,278 for females. The per capita income for the county was $35,329. About 6.60% of families and 10.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.10% of those under age 18 and 8.00% of those age 65 or over.
In June 2021, U.S. News & World Report ranked the San Miguel County as having the best life expectancy in the United States at 100+ years old.
For most of the 20th century, San Miguel County was a national bellwether. It voted for the winner in every presidential election from 1912 to 1984. Since 1988, the county has become one of the most Democratic in Colorado and the nation, largely due to the presence of the Telluride Ski Resort and the influx of liberal-minded voters in the 1960s and 1970s. These trends have made San Miguel similar in vein to other heavily Democratic ski resort counties like Blaine County in Idaho, Teton County in Wyoming, and Pitkin County within Colorado. In the 2000 presidential election, San Miguel County was Green Party candidate Ralph Nader's best countywide performance in the country with 17.2% of the vote.
The San Juan Mountains is 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.
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.
San Juan County is located in the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, the population was 130,044, making it the fifth-most populous county in New Mexico. Its county seat is Aztec. The county was created in 1887.
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.
Ouray County is a county located in 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.
Montrose County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 41,276. The county seat is Montrose, for which the county is named.
Mineral County is one of the 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 712, making it the second-least populous county in Colorado, behind San Juan County. The county seat and only incorporated municipality in the county is Creede. The county was named for the many valuable minerals found in the mountains and streams of the area.
Lake County is one of 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,310. The county seat and the only municipality in the county is Leadville. The highest natural point in Colorado and the entire Rocky Mountains is the summit of Mount Elbert in Lake County at 14,440 feet elevation.
Hinsdale County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 843, making it the third-least populous county in Colorado. With a population density of only 0.75 inhabitants per square mile (0.29/km2), it is also the least-densely populated county in Colorado. The county seat and only incorporated municipality in the county is Lake City. The county is named for George A. Hinsdale, a prominent pioneer and former Lieut. Governor of Colorado Territory.
Gunnison County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,324. 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.
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.
Costilla County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 3,524. The county seat is San Luis, the oldest continuously occupied town in Colorado.
Archuleta County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 12,084. The county seat and the only incorporated municipality in the county is Pagosa Springs.
Rico is an incorporated small town in Dolores County, Colorado, United States. It was settled in 1879 as a silver mining center in the Pioneer Mining District; today it functions as a historic and tourism site. The population was 265 at the 2010 census, up from 205 at the 2000 census. Its current form of government is that of a Home Rule Municipality.
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 City of Ouray is the Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Ouray County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 1,000 as of the 2010 census. The Ouray Post Office has the ZIP code 81427. Ouray's climate, natural alpine environment, and scenery has earned it the nickname, "Switzerland of America".
Ridgway 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 Uncompahgre River in the northern San Juan Mountains. The town population was 713 at the 2000 census and 924 according to the 2010 census.
Mountain Village is a Home Rule Municipality in San Miguel County, southwestern Colorado. It is located just southwest of Telluride in the San Juan Mountains. The elevation of the town rises above Telluride to 9,540 feet. The population was 1,320 at the 2010 census and estimated at 1,426 as of 2019.
The Town of Sawpit is a Statutory Town located in San Miguel County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 40 at the 2010 census, making Sawpit the fourth least populous incorporated town in the state of Colorado. The Telluride Post Office serves Sawpit.
Uncompahgre National Forest is a U.S. National Forest covering 955,229 acres in parts of Montrose, Mesa, San Miguel, Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale, San Juan, and Delta Counties in western Colorado. Only its headquarters is in Delta County, in the city of Delta. It borders the San Juan National Forest to the south.