ANIMAS FORKS

NAME: Animas Forks
COUNTY: San Juan
ROADS: 4WD
GRID: 8
CLIMATE: Elevation: 11,584', cold winter, snow, cool summer.
BEST TIME TO VISIT:
After 1st of July
COMMENTS: A Jeep is a must!!! Excellent off-roading adventure for those taking either Engineer Pass or Cinnamon Pass.Three ways to get to town. Two of which require a Jeep, or such a vehicle with four wheel drive and high ground clearance. One way on State Highway 110 out of Silverton, following road for 12 miles through Howardsville, Middleton and Eureka
REMAINS: Some buildings remain, in poor condition. Scenery is breath taking. Take a camera.Update 9/9; Harold Frodge) When I was there in 5/99, a cabin near the parking area was being restored. Returning 9/99, the restoration is complete with a very bright, shiny new sheet metal roof--sticks out like a very sore thumb. Let's hope it rusts severely, quickly. One piece of good news though. In 5/99, the CO Historical Society had plastered a large green sign on the side of the premier building on the site, the Bay Window Building. Fortunately, whether on purpose or by vandalism, the sign was gone. It would have been perfectly happy on a post down the road.

Animas Forks once boasted to be the "largest city in the world", with small print saying "at this altitude". The mining camp started in 1877. Ore extracted was galena and silver-bearing gray copper and there were 5-7 mines surrounding the town. . The original town contained several stores, a hotel, saloons, two assay offices, shops and many other buildings. One problem that plagued this town was avalanches, which frequently destroyed buildings and stopped incoming travelers. SUBMITTED BY: Peter Keire

Animas Forks was off to a good start in 1875 and advertised itself as being the "largest town in the world." But then the fine print that followed said "at this altitude" which was 11,300 feet above sea level. Avalanches were the curse of the town. Often, the snow would slide down one side of the mountain and up the other side, the sides of the canyon being that close together. At one end of town were the mines and mills together with a boarding house, which served other purposes as well. The 70s and 80s were good years for Animas Forks but it didn't last into the next century. Most of the richer mines began to peter out forcing the mills to close down and allowing the town to return to a much slower pace. Travel northeast on highway 110 from Silverton and you will reach Animas Forks. Submitted by Henry Chenoweth.

I have a correction to your web page on Animas Forks, Colorado, regarding the photo and information about the “Walsh” house.  Information at the house at Animas Forks states that it is a common misconception that Tom Walsh lived there and that his daughter Evelyn Walsh McLean (owner of the Hope diamond) either lived there or was born there.  This is not true.  The house is more properly known as “the bay window house.”  It was built by William Duncan.  It was later purchased by Tom Walsh but  his daughter never actually lived there. 


Animas Forks
Courtesy Dolores Steele


House
Courtesy Dolores Steele


Columbus Mine
Courtesy Dolores Steele


Animas Forks - July 2000
Todd Underwood


Animas Forks - July 2000
Todd Underwood


Animas Forks - July 2000
Todd Underwood


Animas Forks - July 2000
Todd Underwood


Animas Forks
Courtesy Dolores Steele


The Walsh House - was the home of Evelyn Walsh McLean, daughter of
Tom Walsh, discoverer of the famous Campbird Mine and once owner of the Hope
Diamond.

Courtesy Dolores Steele


The Walsh House
Courtesy Dolores Steele

Animas Forks
Courtesy Dolores Steele


Animas Forks
Courtesy Dolores Steele


Animas Forks
Courtesy Dolores Steele


Animas Forks
Courtesy Dolores Steele


Animas Forks - July 2000
Todd Underwood


Animas Forks - July 2000
Todd Underwood


Columbus Mill from the bay window of the second story of the Walsh house
Courtesy Joe Grumbo

 BACK