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Vail, Colorado

Vail's Population (2000): 4,531 (approx. 3,000 part-time)

Vail's Estimated 2005 Population: 4,589

Vail's Elevation: 8,150 Feet

Vail lies in Eagle County

Click here for a Mapquest Map of Vail

Vail was a hunting ground and summer residence of the Ute Amerindians before the arrival of Anglo settlers in the mid-1800s. From 1854 to 1856, Irishman George "Lord" Gore and American frontiersman Jim Bridger spent the summers hunting and exploring the peaks northeast of what is now Vail, and, a few years later, Bridger returned to the region and named the mountain range and valley after Gore. (Yes, no word on whether this was ŗ la Brokeback Mountain (not that there's anything wrong with that...).)

By the 1870s, seekers of gold and silver were headed to the Gore Range as word spread that it contained those precious metals. Mines and railroad tracks appeared, and the Utes were driven from their land, but not before they allegedly set fire to thousands of forested acres and created the barren region today known as the Back Bowls (seems the palefaces had the last laugh - the Back Bowls are today the centerpiece of Vail's ski industry).

Gore Valley's mineral resources were soon mined out, and the valley was left to sheep ranchers until 1939, at which time construction on Highway 6 (running from Denver through Gore Valley) began. The project's engineer Charlie Vail lent his name to Vail Pass and eventually to the Town of Vail as well.

Vail, Colorado's History: The Rest of the Story...


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