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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

And the West is History: Mail Delivery Downtown – 1884

Winter 1883-84 was for many years referred to as “the winter of the big snow” by area residents. Snow started falling Feb. 2, and fell for 20 days without letting up, said people who lived through it. Communication and transportation from Durango was completely halted for a time. The train between Silverton and Durango could not operate for 73 days and the one between Alamosa and Durango for 76 days. One old-timer claimed 84 men were killed in snow slides between Silverton and Telluride that winter. This picture depicts the first mail delivery to make it through to Durango in the late spring, coming from Gallup, N.M. The brick building shown was the Luttrell building, named after James Luttrell, the town agent of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. He was instrumental in designing the street configuration of early Durango. Luttrell married Katherine Whittman in November 1880, the first marriage in Durango. He also lent the tent to Mrs. C.W. Romney, in which the first Durango newspaper was published in December of that year. Today, a picture taken at this location would depict the north side of Ninth Street just west of Main Avenue. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org (Catalog Number: 19.08.8 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)