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1876-1887: Mining district established, first big strikes, town arises, train arrives

The establishment of the Pioneer Mining District in 1876 led to an abundance of mining, and in the spring of 1879 rich oxidized silver was discovered on Blackhawk and Telescope Mountains. Rico became incorporated and surveyed; cabins, saloons, a general mercantile and the Pioneer Hotel and Restaurant sprung up on the newly platted streets. The Enterprise Lode was struck in 1887 by David Swickhimer, creating jobs for miners from Dolores. The Rio Grande Southern Railroad's route included a stop in Rico as it huffed from Dolores to Ridgway.

The Rico Fire Brigade
©Engel Collection
©Engel Collection
Interior of the Rico Mercantile
Historical information provided by Dara Kinsey of the Rico Sun-Times.