Oliver Holmes and Thomas Raley pose in front of a house in Parrott City with Baldy Peak in the background. Parrott City was established in 1874 near the La Plata River about 4 miles northeast of today’s Hesperus. John Moss found placer gold in the La Plata River in 1873. He financed a mining company to operate in the area through a San Francisco banker named Tiburcio Parrott. The town was named after his financial backer. Parrott City thrived for a short time with two stores, a hotel, a school, post office, lumber mill and numerous residential dwellings. It became the La Plata County seat with its own courthouse in 1876 and had a population of about 50. With the arrival of the railroad, Durango took over as county seat in 1881, but Parrott City continued to grow to a peak population of 250 in 1885. From there, its decline was fairly steep, though its post office was not decommissioned until 1898. The former town site is now in private ownership, but almost nothing remains. By the 1940s, fire and demolition erased almost every remnant of the town.
Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, [email protected]