San Miguel County Courthouse

The iconic courthouse on Colorado Blvd. was built in 1897 and is still in use today. The first photo dates to 1910.


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Mule Train

It was not uncommon to see lengthy mule trains in downtown Telluride while the mines were florishing. Here they are crossing Colorado Blvd. in 1909 (click to enlarge).


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New Sheridan Hotel

The anchor of Telluride was the Sheridan Hotel built in 1892. Five years later the new, three-story Sheridan was built next door. It was the site of William Jennings Bryan’s famous “Cross of Gold” speech on July 4, 1903. After that, in 1906, the original hotel burned and the lot was empty until the hotel was accurately reconstructed in 1994. The top photo dates to 1899.



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The Telluride Community Hospital, which was seen in the flood picture in last month’s post, was filled to overflowing during the worldwide flu pandemic of 1918. One in ten Telluride citizens died. Today the building looks remarkably as it did then and now houses the Telluride Museum.


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Telluride Colorado is the best ski town with the best skiing and the best self-guided “then and now” tour anywhere. It has so many well preserved sites that it will take three months to tell the whole story. Not surprisingly, the core district was designated a National Historical Landmark in 1964. It also boasts the second-oldest alternating-current power generating plant in the world (1895) The oldest is eight miles away in Ophir.

Telluride’s main street is Colorado Blvd. and is seen here in a photo taken in 1892.


Telluride was founded because of large gold strikes in the surrounding mountains. Getting miners and equipment up to the mines was a challenge. In this 1897 photo we see 52 mules carrying 10,000 continuous feet of cable for a mine tramway. The cable weighed 17,000 pounds. (Click to enlarge)


Hose company races were a big pastime as seen in this July 4, 1909 photo.


In 1914, Cornet Creek just north of town flooded and deposited as much as eight feet of mud inside stores. In an ultimate irony, the First National Bank seen in both photos had been constructed using mud from the same creek!


Cornet Creek falls off a cliff forming a beautiful waterfall as seen in this 1907 photo. A strenuous hike is worth it for the view.



Here is another view of the flood damage from 1914 with the Community Hospital (now Telluride Museum) in the background.


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Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Located on the Washington side of the Columbia River where it meets the Pacific Ocean, Cape Disappointment Lighthouse stands 53 feet tall and is the first lighthouse built in the Pacific Northwest (1856). It is a fixed light so no rewinding is necessary, but the keepers still had to haul 170 pounds of oil up the stairs every day. A cannon was placed on site in 1862 to protect it during the Civil War. In 1930 a black stripe was added to distinguish it from a similar lighthouse in the area. After 159 years of operation it is still active.



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Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

Located 20 miles south of the mouth of the Columbia River and 1 1/2 miles offshore lies Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. It was built in 1881 and, at that time, was the most expensive lighthouse ever built – $3,000,000 in today’s dollars. Construction began by blasting off 4600 cubic yards of rock in order to make a level surface. Under extremely difficult conditions, it took 575 days to build. Due to high operating costs, the lighthouse was replaced by a lighted buoy in 1957. In 1980 it was converted to a columbarium (stores ashes) but that operation failed in 1999. It is now a haven for sea birds.The first photo is dated 1890.



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St George Reef Lighthouse

St George Reef Lighthouse is located six miles off the California/Oregon coast, 144 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Construction began in 1882 but was not completed until 1892 . The cost was the staggering sum of 19.8 million in today’s dollars – twice the cost of any lighthouse ever built! Each of the 1,339 stones had to be shipped then shaped to fit perfectly. Many keepers requested transfers some having mental breakdowns. In 2007 it was commemorated on the 41 cent stamp. It is currently undergoing restoration and they hope to restore helicopter service in 2016 – the only such service to a lighthouse in the country. Although abandoned in 1975 St George Reef Lighthouse was  relit in 2012. The first picture shows construction  and the third is undated.

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Pt Loma Lighthouse

Pt Loma Lighthouse is located at the mouth of San Diego Bay. In contrast to the previous two entries, Pt Loma was built and opened in the same year (1855)  and cost only thirty thousand in today’s dollars. It sits atop a  400-foot cliff and was the highest lighthouse in the country. That also was its downfall because of fog and clouds, and it was deactivated in 1891. A new, lower lighthouse was built, and Pt Loma fell into disrepair. In 1933 it became part of the National Park Service and was restored in 1935. Currently it operates as a museum. The first 4 photos are dated 1865, 1888, 1905 and 1917, respectively.


Point Loma Lighthouse San Diego, CA




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Gay Head Lighthouse

Gay Head Lighthouse was built on Martha’s Vineyard in 1856. It had to be moved in May 2015 over a three-day period over a distance of 130 feet and at a cost of $3.5 million. The lighthouse reopened in August 2015 and is seen here  in an 1880’s photo. Click to enlarge.




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