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We Bet You Didn’t Know These Three Things about Telluride!

Added: Apr 04, 2019
Category: Explore Colorado

The next time you’re sitting on the lift going up to the mountain and you feel like breaking out your inner Cliff Clavin from “Cheers,” here are a couple of interesting, fun facts about Telluride that will charm your companions:

1. Telluride claims it had the first electric streetlights in the world.

Back in 1890, the need to process all the goldminers’ ore led to harnessing the hydropower of the San Miguel River at the Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant. Constructed in Ophir (about 12 miles outside Telluride), it became the world's first commercial system to produce and transmit alternating current (AC) electricity for industrial use.

As such, Telluride’s claim to fame is that it is “the site of the first long-distance transmission of alternating current for commercial purposes.” Connected by a 2.6-mile transmission line to the one of two alternators, it was used to power the Gold King Mine in Gold King Basin.

But that claim doesn’t roll off the tongue easily, does it? Hence Telluride’s additional claim that it was the first town in the world to have electric streetlights. Well, as the Telluride Historical Museum points out, this claim has its doubters. All we know is that it was one of the first AC hydroelectric plants ever constructed – and that’s a fact!

2. Mount Wilson was the inspiration for the Coors mountains on the brewery’s logo.

Now, this fun fact is a little bit more verifiable. If you’re going up on the lift or the gondola, this 14er can be easily seen from the Telluride Ski Resort, which provides a snow-capped visual to your story, particularly if you’re holding the beer can for reference. (Just make sure it’s not an open container).

Coors Banquet® and Coors Light® drinkers will immediately recognize Wilson Peak from the northern vantage point in the San Juan Mountains behind the red and white logo. Just don’t get this 14,023-foot mountain confused with another 14er, Wilson Peak. And seriously, don’t call it “Coors Peak.”

There’s not a lot of information about why Mount Wilson was chosen as background for the Coors logo, but suffice it to say, Coors Brewing Co. was founded in Colorado, and with ads claiming the brew was made with “mountain-fresh water,” it only makes sense to choose one of the most iconic peaks.

3. Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank in Telluride

This titillating tidbit is one of the biggest hallmarks of Telluride’s Wild West infamy.

In 1889, Robert Leroy Parker, better known by the alias Butch Cassidy, was about to become one of the Old West’s most notorious outlaws. He and his accomplice, Matt Warner, walked into the San Miguel Valley Bank (now the Mahr Building on W. Colorado Avenue) and after terrorizing the tellers, made off with more than $20,000, which in today’s currency would be around a cool $1 million.

Once they blazed out of Telluride on horseback, firing revolvers to deter their pursuers, they met up with friends and accomplices on Keystone Hill, whom they paid with the stolen cash to switch horses. And the rest, they say, is legend…

For more exciting ways to enjoy all that Telluride has to offer on your next vacation, contact SilverStar Telluride Luxury Rentals online or at 970-728-3001.

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