San Juan County, Colorado

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San Juan County is the least populous of the 64 counties of the State of Colorado in the United States. The county name is the Spanish language name for Saint John, the name Spanish explorers gave to a river and the mountain range in the area. The county population was 558 at U.S. Census 2000.[1] The county seat and the only municipality in the county is the Town of Silverton.



Mining operators in the San Juan mountain area of Colorado formed the San Juan District Mining Association (SJDMA) in 1903, as a direct result of a Western Federation of Miners proposal to the Telluride Mining Association for the eight hour day, which had been approved in a referendum by 72 percent of Colorado voters.[2] The new association consolidated the power of thirty-six mining properties in San Miguel, Ouray, and San Juan counties.[3] The SJDMA refused to consider any reduction in hours or increase in wages, helping to provoke a bitter strike.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 388 square miles (1,006 km²), of which 387 square miles (1,003 km²) is land and 1 square mile (2 km²) (0.22%) is water. The County is located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, with numerous peaks above 14,000 feet in height. It has the highest mean elevation of any county in the United States, at 11,240 feet (3,426 m). [1]

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