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Out in the San Juan Mountains stands Silverton, the last mining camp in the country. Established in 1874 on land once populated by the Southern Ute tribe, this small town was settled after the Civil War by numerous miners digging up deposits of gold and silver from along the Animas river as well as workers of the steam railroads. By the time wives and families moved out here, town life was divided into two sections: one of saloons, dance halls, gambling, and prostitution, and another more “family-friendly” neighborhood plotted with churches. Low demand for mining caused operations to close in the early 1990s and the town to shrink from more than 2,000 people in its hey day to merely 630, but visitors can still come tour this history-rich stop by car or railway.
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