Settlement: Located in the Heart of the Rockies, Salida is surrounded by three mountain ranges: Sangre de Cristo, Mosquito Range, and Collegiate Peaks. Salida was first settled by the Ute Indians. Chaffee County was established in 1879. It was named for Jerome Chaffee, Colorado's first United States Senator. In 1859-60 an unknown explorer went up the Arkansas River and found gold in it’s sand and gravel. Explorers, miners, railroad expansionists, farmers and ranchers flooded the area. Railroad pushed west to serve thousands of miners. The Denver & Rio Grande Western battled for the Royal Gorge route up the Arkansas, establishing Salida in late May 1880.
Economics: Salida is the service, supply, and tourism center for the Upper Arkansas Valley. Being a gold mine town, The city developed quickly, and became the hub of a prosperous mining and agricultural region within a decade of its founding. Salida endured devastating fires in its business areas in 1886 and 1888, but rebounded to build a substantial commercial area consisting principally of two-story brick buildings. The burned buildings deprived many jobs - which drove the unemployment rate up to 15-30 percent in the late 1980’s - though the citizens of salida slowly recovered.
Transportation: The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad bypassed the existing settlement of Cleora to establish Salida in 1880. Salida became a major division point for the D&RG, which erected extensive railroad facilities north of the commercial district on the opposite bank of the Arkansas River. Salida experienced devastating fires in its business district in 1886 and 1888, but rebounded to build a substantial commercial area consisting of two-story brick buildings. Railroad activity began to decline in the 1950s and, in 1971, Salida ceased to be a division point for the D&RG.
Folklore: Turret, just a few miles outside of Salida, is supposedly home to many supernatural occurrences. Originally harboring miners, there are...