Center of Southwest Studies

Early views of Durango, Colorado:
A sampling of historical photos from special collections in the Delaney Library at the Center of Southwest Studies

This page contains a sampling of historical photos of Durango and vicinity. 

Topical categories:

Architecture Ethnic groups General
Mining Railroads Ranching

Click on the following images for a larger view:

Item # URL (click for larger image) Description

Thumbnail image

Architecture:

P 001 I-02-07

https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00110207Page.htm Peacock store and stagecoach (Durango, Colo.), 1881-1882. Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 I-01-02 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00110102Page.htm La Plata County courthouse (Durango, Colo.), undated. Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 I-01-24 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00110124Page.htm Elks Club building on E. 2nd Ave. (Durango, Colo.), undated. Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 I-01-27 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00110127Page.htm Durango Rifles in front of the La Plata County Courthouse, late 1880s. Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 I-01-01 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00110101Page.htm Gardenswartz building (corner of 9th St. and Main Ave., Durango, Colo.), undated. Photo -- click to view larger image
SWM 194, Vol. 1, item #46 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M194/M1941046FPage.htm Library (Durango, Colo.), circa 1907/1910.  Click here to view other view of the exterior of Durango's Carnegie library: http://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/inventory/DgoGov.htm#LibDig Picture side of postcard -- click to view larger image
P 001 I-01-15 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00110115Page.htm Mercy Hospital (Durango, Colo.), undated. Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 I-10-01 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00111001Page.htm Main Ave. (Durango, Colo.), circa 1910. Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 I-10-27 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00111027Page.htm Electric streetcar (Durango, Colo.), undated.  Street cars on Main Ave in front of the Kiva Building.  From the Durango Herald, March 16, 1975. The building was constructed in 1892. Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 I-10-26 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00111026Page.htm Strater Hotel (Durango, Colo.) looking south, undated. A front view of the hotel, with Smelter Mountain in the background.    Photo -- click to view larger image
Ethnic groups:

P 018 
1994:01006.002

https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P018/P0181006002Page.htm Durangoans circle Ute Indians below the Longfellow School, Durango, Colorado, circa September-October 1890.  Possibly a photo by Jacob A. Boston, who was an active photographer in Durango during that time; it was found with other early Durango photos, one of which was stamped on the back by the J. A. Boston photo studio. Possibly the Indians were there to perform a Dog Dance.
P 001 IV-02-22 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00140219Page.htm The Weaver, Navajo portrait photo, 1930. Toh-Atin Trading Company.  Photographer: Pennington Studio (Durango, Colo.)
 
Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 IV-03-09 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00140309Page.htm Portrait of a Ute Indian man.  Undated.  Photographer: W. R. Rowland (Durango, Colo.)
 
Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 IV-03-03 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00140303Page.htm Dedication of Dominguez and Escalante Monument dedication group photo, 1946. Photo -- click to view larger image
General:

P 001 I-07-02

https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00110702Page.htm Panoramic view of  Durango, Colorado, undated.   Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 I-07-01 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00110701Page.htm Early view of the city of Durango (Colo.), 1885.  This photo was taken up the hill from the intersection of 3rd Ave. and Florida Road looking west. In the foreground one can see the present day bridge of the D&SNGR and the Animas River. In the background 20-30 other houses and buildings can be seen.    Half of St. Columba's Church is visible at extreme right. Railroad bridge in foreground. Photo -- click to view larger image
2008:002.033 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M194/M1941506FPage.htm View of early Durango with Perins Peak in background and Gibson Lumber Company in the middle of the photo, undated.
2008:002.030 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M194/M1941503FPage.htm

Graden Mercantile parade float on unpaved Main Avenue in early Durango, undated.  Several men in hats are holding the four horses in harness. Postmarked (not legible) and mailed to Gertrude Broughton in Salt Lake City from Gus, with 1 cent stamp.

2008:002.031 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M194/M1941504FPage.htm Overall view of the city of Durango, facing Smelter Mountain. Written on back and postmarked 1948 to Dr. and Mrs. G. P. Burdon in Clinton, Indiana from their daughter Mildred.
M 194, 
Vol. 1, item #96
https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M194/M1941096.htm

Photographed before the Durango Public Library was built in 1907.  This postcard was mailed on 12/21/1908.

2008:002.032 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M194/M1941505FPage.htm A view of railroad buildings etc., with the city of Durango visible in the distance and the smelter's low buildings in the foreground.
P 0561002; item # 2008:002.061 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P0561002Page.htm Rocky Mt. Burro Express, 1884.  Photo by F. S. Balster (Durango, Colo.).  A sepia-toned cabinet card view of a burro hitched to a cart, in which the driver is seated, well dressed. In the background are some of the early structures of Durango, Colorado, including on bank building on Main Avenue.
D 00205086 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/D00205/D00205086Page.htm Children standing in front of what they called the school bus (carriage) in Rockwood (Colo.) , 1922. Mary (Lechner) Moss is the little girl on the far left. The driver of the bus is her mother, Annie Lechner, and she is the partially hidden figure to Mary's left. Later, Mary would drive that bus.  From L-R: Mary Lechner, her sister Leola, cousin Milton Lechner, partially hidden figure: Annie Lechner, mother of Mary and Leola, Walter Lechner, Arvila Tyler in cap, and Eddia Fiant. The horses are Nellie and Snookie.  Photo courtesy of Dorothy Lechner
 

P 001 I-10-10 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00111010Page.htm Snow on Main Ave. (Durango, Colo.).  Three men wearing black suits are walking on a plowed sidewalk next to a large snow bank, in the Spring of 1926. Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 I-10-32 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00111032Page.htm Large snow banks next to a street in Durango in the spring of 1962. This view is looking south.    Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 I-01-17 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00110117Page.htm Three men shoveling snow in front of a building, undated.  Left to right: Ray Goodman, Zeke Brady, and Delaney.   Photo -- click to view larger image
Mining:

P 001 II-02-02

https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00120202Page.htm Durango canary birds, 1879-1881.  Actually, this is Animas City (Colo.).  The "Rocky Mountain Canary" is a donkey.  In the foreground is a man on a burro, surrounding him are cattle. In the background are some building in Animas City.  Photo -- click to view larger image
P 0561001; item # 2008:002.060 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P0561001Page.htm A sepia toned early view of two men (prospectors?) on the hillside (still vegetated at that time) above the smelter, looking north across the Animas River toward the city of Durango, Colorado, with the La Plata mountains in the background.  The depot was completed circa January of 1882, so this was probably the late summer or early fall of 1881, several months after the train reached Durango.  A cabinet card, a gift to the Center of Southwest Studies by Nina Heald Webber, 2007.
P018199401006003 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P018/P0181006003Page.htm View of the smelters at Durango (in the distance), with the Animas River running along the left edge of the photo and a dirt road and railroad tracks crossing the river in the foreground. Possibly a photo by Jacob A. Boston, who was the active photographer in Durango during that time; it was found with other early Durango photos, one of which was stamped on the back by the J. A. Boston Photo Studio.
P018199401006004 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P018/P0181006004Page.htm View of the smelters at Durango (in the distance), from directly across the Animas River (i.e., looking west). Smoke from the stacks is blowing toward the north/toward the city of Durango. Stamped on the back, J. A. Boston, Photographer, galleries at Durango and Silverton, Colo.
P 001 V-01-05 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00150105Page.htm Crew at May Day Mine ((Hesperus, Colo.), undated. Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 V-01-06 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00150106Page.htm Mining cabins at Trout Lake (Colo.), undated. Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 V-01-09 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00150109Page.htm New snow on a mine in Southwest Colorado, undated. Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 V-01-17 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00150117Page.htm Group portrait at Neglected Mine (near Durango, Colo.), July 4, 1910. Photo -- click to view larger image
Negative #1500 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P042/P0421500Page.htm Ore wagon, early 1900s. Photographer: Byers Photo (Montrose, Colo.).  From a glass plate negative in the Walker Art Studio collection at the Center of Southwest Studies. Photo -- click to view larger image
P01701003 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P017/P01701003Page.htm Olga Little's mule train going over a hill, circa 1926/1956.  Note the deep snow and how the rider lags behind the train. Photo -- click to view larger image
P01701012 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P017/P01701012Page.htm Olga Little's pack mules on the trail, circa 1926/1956.

 

Photo -- click to view larger image
P01701016 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P017/P01701016Page.htm Parade of mules with Olga Little, circa 1926/1956. Photo -- click to view larger image
P01701017 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P017/P01701017Page.htm Olga Little and her mules pose by a railroad car, circa 1926/1956. Photo -- click to view larger image
Railroads:

M 238 Series 7 Box 10 Folder 30 Item 01

https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M238Lyons002.htm Denver and Rio Grande Railroad group photo,  circa 1893-1895, possibly in Durango.  Undated cabinet card photoprint; gift to the Center of Southwest Studies by Alva Lyons (accession 1966:02224, in 1966).
P018199401006005 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P018/P0181006005Page.htm View of a locomotive at the Animas River near the Needle Mountains, with a man fishing in the river to the right of the train. Two men are standing in the coal feeder of the engine.
P 001 I-07-21 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00110721Page.htm Santa Rita (Durango, Colo.).  This is a picture looking west across the present day Santa Rita Park. In this photo several dozen houses can be seen as well as the train tracks and the smelter. In the background is the hogback and Perins Peak.  Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 III-02-31 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00130231Page.htm Boston Coal & Fuel Co. (Durango, Colo.) Perins Peak locomotive and passengers Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 III-01-112 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00130112Page.htm Denver & Rio Grande Railroad washout and derailment between Durango and Florida, 1934. Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 III-01-92 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00130192Page.htm Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad snow scene at Mile Post 493 (Colo.)   Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 III-01-150 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00130150Page.htm Denver & Rio Grande Railroad depot (Durango, Colo.) in winter, circa 1930? - 1949. Photo -- click to view larger image
Ranching:

 

https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00110509Page.htm

A. P. Camp's ranch house (Florida Mesa, Colo.), undated.

Photo -- click to view larger image
Negative #1692. https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P042/P0421692Page.htm

Calf branding, circa 1900/1930.  Photographer: Byers Photo (Montrose, Colo.).  From a glass plate negative in the Walker Art Studio collection at the Center of Southwest Studies.

Photo -- click to view larger image
P 001 I-09-14 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/P001/P00110914Page.htm La Plata County Cattlemen's Association Fiesta Days parade float (Durango, Colo.), 1955. Photo -- click to view larger image
M 130 Box 5 Folder 15, Item1 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M130/M130Box5Fol15001Page.htm Horse race photo finish at the La Plata County Fairgrounds (Durango, Colo.), circa 1930/1950.
M 194, Vol. 1, item #197 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M194/M1941197FPage.htm Spanish Trails Fiesta horse race at the La Plata County Fairgrounds (Durango, Colo.), on a Sunday, circa 1954/1950.  The first use of the photo-finish in a horse race was here,  circa 1954. Picture side of postcard -- click to view larger image
M 194, Vol. 1, item #346 https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M194/M1941346FPage.htm Bucking bronco at Spanish Trails Fiesta (Durango, Colo.).  Sanborn Photo, circa 1930/1950. Picture side of postcard -- click to view larger image

2008 Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College.  1000 Rim Dr., Durango, CO 81301-3999 ~ Phone 970-247-7126 ~ Fax 970-247-7422
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The collections are located at the Center of Southwest Studies in the Delaney Library, on the campus of Fort Lewis College.  Interested researchers should phone the archivist at 970/247-7126 or send electronic mail to the archivist at archives@fortlewis.edu or click here to use our E-mail Reference Request Form (or phone the archivist at 970/247-7126).  The Center does not have a budget for outgoing long-distance phone calls to answer reference requests, so please email if you wish to receive a response from the Center.  To request reproductions/copies, click here for instructions.


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Page revised: February 22, 2008