We visited the tiny town of Tincup, Colorado today. We found it by accident, we stopped to ask for directions and fell in love with the area. :-) We saw pack horses loaded down and ready for overnight trips, we found awesome shops with unusual items for sale and more incredibly friendly people from Colorado.
Taylor Park is named for James Taylor who came into the area while prospecting for gold in 1859. Purportedly, a member of his party dipped his tin drinking cup into a stream and found gold in 1860. The party named the area Tincup, and the river and the park were given Taylor's name. The lack of huge promise for gold and the Civil War kept many early prospectors at bay. The first great strike in the area was made at the Gold Cup Mine in 1878, and the area became flooded with prospectors in 1879. The people who came renamed the Tincup Camp, Virginia City. For the first few years, this renaming led to a great deal of confusion until in 1882, when the local citizens voted to keep the name Tincup.
Taylor Trading Post, where we stopped for directions, was originally homesteaded in the 1880s by Adam Murdie. Bill and Leona Murdie sold the land to Sherman and Edna Cranor of Gunnison in 1940. The Cranors planned on building tourist cabins on the spot; they figured if tourism didn't work out there, the land could be used for ranching. The Cranors began building their first cabins in 1942; however, Mr. Cranor was called to military duty for World War II.
Having a new cabin mostly built, he asked the Army for a few more days to complete his project. Permission was granted and Mr. Cranor built his roof before heading overseas for the next three-and-a-half years. The Murdies did not request payment for the land the entire time Mr. Cranor served his country. Upon Sherman's return home, the Cranors set the goal of building a new cabin each year. Most of the cabins are built by hand of lumber harvested by the couple. The store building standing today was constructed in 1961, on the site of the original store building constructed in the 1940s. The Taylor Trading Post is still owned by the Cranor family today.
The beautiful Taylor Dam is located a few miles down the road from the trading post. In 1933, the Bureau of Reclamation approved the plan presented by Western Slope Congressman Ed Taylor to install a dam at the site. Between 1935 and 1937, more than 300 men worked to construct the dam, which has a structural height of 206 feet. The dam is part of the Uncompahgre Project and keeps the water on the Western Slope for irrigation. Taylor Reservoir covers 2,030 acres of land.
We stopped at the dam for a picnic and just enjoyed the breathtaking beauty of this incredible area. Another great day of exploring in Colorado, check back later for more.