History of Garfield County | PostIndependent.com
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History of Garfield County

The Ute Indians were the earliest known settlers of Garfield County. They knew the healing qualities of the hot springs pools in Glenwood Springs and considered them a sacred place. The Utes called the springs Yampah, meaning “big medicine.”White settlers came relatively late to the area. In 1845, Captain John Fremont crossed the Flat Tops and traveled along the Colorado River on a geographic survey for the U.S. government.In 1860, Richard Sopris, an explorer and prospector, named the hot springs Grand Springs.In the late 1800s, Walter Devereux and a few investors bought the Yampah Springs from early settler Isaac Cooper, and set to work to build the worlds largest hot springs pool and the Hotel Colorado which opened its doors in 1893.The area has had its share of colorful characters including Doc Holliday who died in Glenwood Springs and as legend has it, is buried in Glenwoods Linwood Cemetery.Teddy Roosevelt came west on a hunting trip in 1905 and stayed at the Hotel Colorado.Glenwood and points south and west were opened up to development when the railroad made its way through Glenwood Canyon and arrived in Glenwood in 1887.Coal has been a primary economic driving force in Garfield County with deposits in New Castle, Spring Gulch outside Carbondale and South Canyon near Glenwood Springs drawing thousands of immigrants to the area.Garfield County, which is also home to the White River National Forest, has an economy that continues to depend on tourism and outdoor recreation.


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