On a recent visit to southwest Colorado, we decided to take the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Rail Road to Silverton, a 50-mile 3.5 hour scenic rail trip that offers breathtaking views of the Animas River and the adjacent mountains and mountain lakes. The train passes through no towns or villages along the way, although it does stop at two trailheads. Much of the Animas is whitewater, but we never saw anybody shooting the rapids during our trip, which lasted just short of four hours due to brake problems.
Wiki says of Silverton:
The town is laid out on a standard grid, with wide rights-of-way and mostly unpaved streets. Sidewalks are concrete – a recent concession to the tourism trade, as I heard from a local. Alleys provide access to the rear of frontage properties and most utilities are in the alleys as well. The built environment of the downtown is in an excellent state of preservation and I only recall seeing one modern building amongst the downtown fabric.The Town of Silverton is a Statutory Town that is the county seat of, and the only incorporated municipality in, San Juan County, Colorado, United States. Silverton is a former silver mining camp, most or all of which is now included in a federally designated National Historic Landmark District, the Silverton Historic District. The town population was 531 at U.S. Census 2000.
Silverton is linked to Durango by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a National Historic Landmark. Silverton no longer has active mining, but subsists by tourism, maintenance of US 550 (which links Montrose with Durango via Silverton), mine pollution remediation, and retirees.
Building materials ranged from frame with wood siding, masonry (including brick, red sandstone and grey sandstone) and cast iron. Indeed, the cast iron fronts were quite impressive although I only saw a maker’s mark on one (from Durango) but none from the major mid-west fabrication centers such as Evansville or Louisville. Many of the frame buildings were painted in bright colors, while the masonry buildings were trimmed with similar colors. It must be satisfying during the greys of winter: in summer it is rather bright. Styles include Second Empire, Italianate, Neo-Classical, as well as some vernacular forms.
The town does indeed subsist on tourism these days. Restaurants and bars, hotels, souvenir and tee-shirt shops, a train memorabilia shop (or two), and ice cream/snack shops are pretty much the only businesses we saw in the downtown. (Admittedly, we were there for just a few hours.) If there was a grocery store, or a pharmacy, or a bank (aside from the ubiquitous ATMs downtown), they weren’t in downtown per se. Other than places named Holiday World or Six Flags, Silverton is the only place I’ve ever visited that seemingly existed exclusively to separate me from my money.
Let me apologize in advance for a smudge on my lens visible in several images. I didn't notice it until I downloaded the images. They shouldn't mar your viewing experience.
The Planning Department must be on the second floor
Parked across the street from City Hall: no coincidence, IMO:
Wait, is that one of zman’s renegade pooches?