A Brief History of Hinsdale County
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Hinsdale County was formed in 1874, from Conejos, Costilla and Lake Counties. Hinsdale County is located in the mid-southwestern part of Colorado. It is the least populated (number of citizens per square mile) County in Colorado with 790 residents (per the 2000 Census) . It is approximately 96% public lands, with 49% of that land designated as wilderness. The second largest natural lake in Colorado, Lake San Cristobal (photo to left), is located in Hinsdale County and lies three miles south and west of Lake City. The lake was formed naturally over 700 years ago by the Slumgullion Earthflow, which blocked the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River. There are five mountain peaks over 14,000 feet in Hinsdale County - Uncomphagre, Wetterhorn, Sunshine, Handies and Redcloud - all located near Lake City, the only incorporated town in the County and the County seat. Additional information is available from the Hinsdale County/Lake City Chamber of Commerce. They have a calendar of events, what to see and do in the area and other general information about the area. The County Clerk has marriage and land records recorded. The County Vital Statistics Office has birth and death records and the County Court has divorce, probate and civil court records. The Hinsdale County website is available here: Hinsdale County Official Website.
At an elevation of 8,671 feet, Lake City (photo to right) is located in high mountains and beautiful alpine valleys. The year round population of about 400 enjoys an average of 300 days of sunshine per year. In July the temperatures have been known to range from a high of over 80 degrees to a low of 52 degrees. Lake City was formed in 1874 when a road building crew found gold in the nearby hills and the Town was officially established in 1875. During the 1880's the town boomed to almost 5,000 residents and had two breweries, two banks, seven saloons, and the first newspaper and Protestant church on the Western Slope of Colorado. Today, Lake City is a national historic district with many ghost towns such as Spencer, Vulcan (Vulcan Hill), Carson, Sherman, Burrows Park, Capitol City and others nearby.
Hello, my name is MaryAlice Schwanke, I do not live in the area and I am unable to help you research your ancestors, but I hope you find this site useful. All the information I have for Hinsdale county and the people who once lived here is on this website, please use the search tool (to the right) to see what information is available for your ancestor.
If you have information for the county or its people, would be interested in volunteering to do lookups or help transcribe material for the website, please send me an email.