Crested Butte, Colorado

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Crested Butte is a Home Rule Municipality in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. A former coal mining town now called "the last great Colorado ski town," Crested Butte is a destination for skiing, mountain biking, and a variety of other outdoor activities. The population was 1,529 at the 2000 census.

The Colorado General Assembly has designated Crested Butte the wildflower capital of Colorado.



The East River Valley where Crested Butte is located was once used as a summer residence by Ute Native Americans. However, they were quickly displaced when white explorers first entered the area. The first Caucasians to explore the valley were beaver trappers, followed by surveyors. Captain John Gunnison, after whom Gunnison County is named was one of the early explorers to enter the area.

In the 1860s and 1870s coal and silver mines began to open in the surrounding area and many little mining towns formed. However, when silver mining hit on hard times, many of these towns failed. Crested Butte was in a better position to survive because it served as a supply town to the surrounding area.

The other industry that supported Crested Butte was ranching.

When the coal mines closed, the town began to shrink, and eventually the local high school was closed. Students had to travel to Gunnison to go to high school. The town did not revive until a ski area was built on Crested Butte Mountain in the 1960s.

In 1993 the Crested Butte Academy opened in Crested Butte, bringing a private high school into town. However, on 9 July 2008, the Academy was closed permanently due to financial difficulties that had plagued its entire existence.[4] In 1997, the Crested Butte Community School was opened, and Crested Butte finally had a public high school again.

US Energy Corp. owns rights to mine molybdenum on Mount Emmons ("Red Lady") near Crested Butte and as molybdenum prices rise, the town is fighting to prevent a molybdenum mine from being opened.

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