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Old 09-18-2018, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by otowi View Post
Alamosa is a college town and that helps keep it alive. Walsenburg has been really struggling economically almost since its founding, and it shows in many ways. You said you work remotely, you might check into what speeds, etc., are available in these towns. My grandmother lives in the Veterans' home in Walsenburg and that place itself is nice. The state park there is nice particularly if you like to get on water - Lathrop State Park - and there are some decent fairly remote outdoor things to do around there. The town itself has very little in the way of food choices, things to do, etc., and may be less used to "new folks" moving in, fyi. Alamosa is much more used to people coming and going and has a bit more to offer in terms of basic amenities, imho - but you do need to be prepared for colder temps in winter. I think Alamosa is prettier, too - but that is subjective.

^^Good notes here.^^

It's sad to see the population of Walsenburg continuously dropping but that is what's happening. In 2000 they were at 4182 in population, then 3068 in 2010, and last year they were at 2966.

Things have not gone well in So. Colorado and in the case of Burg, as the locals call it, the closing of the coal mines and CF&I had quite a bit to do with it. I would stop short of saying that Walsenburg was a company town but it's fairly close to it. The company basically built up the town from downtown buildings to the railroad. The coal mines and a couple of iron ore mines were run by CF&I for nearly a century and there were literally a few dozen coal mines that were owned and operated by them. Who was CF&I's owner in its heyday-- a guy by the name of John D Rockefeller.

The industry certainly had its ups and downs, there were a few labor strikes, and a few big financial hits took place, such as the Panic of 1907. Later there were labor issues that really blew up on Rockefeller's watch, take a look at some online stories in regards to the "Ludlow Massacre" which took place around World War I time. It was an ugly chapter in regards to organized labor with the coal industry.

The wheels started to come off the industry with the steel market crash of the early 1980's. In 1990 CF&I filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Walsenburg has struggled ever since. In 1982 I worked on a CO2 pipeline that Amoco ran which started 15 miles northwest of Walsenburg on Sheep Mountain in the Wet Mountain Range. The line ran through southeastern Colorado and southeastern New Mexico, ending up north of Hobbs, NM. At that time Walsenburg was fairly much full regarding local businesses. But Walsenburg, along with Trinidad, Aguilar, and Raton N.M. saw decreasing population and coal mines shutting down. And AFAIC the towns never really recovered. I worked with a lot of laborers who lived in Walsenburg, Gardner, Pueblo, and Aguilar and they told me stories of their fathers and grandfathers working those mines.

Last edited by DOUBLE H; 09-19-2018 at 04:38 PM.. Reason: spelling, addition
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Old 09-19-2018, 04:02 PM
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Great background info, Double H!
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:26 AM
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Some notes on Alamosa.

I agree with Otowi and TCHP with their posts. Adams State College is there. They are in the RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) are are NCAA division 2. You do have your basic chain retailers, two that come to mind is Walmart and Auto Zone. Another contributor to the economy is agriculture as the climate seems to favor cool weather crops such as lettuce, spinach, and particularly potatoes.

You don't automatically think tourism when Alamosa is brought up but Alamosa does have a fair amount of tourists who stay at motels. The Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Cumbres Toltec Scenic Railroad are close. The Sand Dunes reached national park status several years ago. The Cumbres is every bit as scenic as the Durango/Silverton train but doesn't get as much publicity.

I've never spent a night in Walsenburg in winter as it's not as cold as Alamosa, they do seem to get more snow. One thing to keep in mind about Alamosa, you have a 35 to 40 degree swing in temperatures. I've spent some nights in the San Luis Valley in late June where the temps go over 90 but it cools down to 50, sometimes 45. And winter? Bitter cold temps at night. January to March goes to 0 to -20,
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Old 09-20-2018, 10:04 AM
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I'd take Alamosa for the Monte Vista Wildlife refuge right next door.

Great duck hunting and they also have that Crane Festival every year.
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Old 09-20-2018, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by LHS79 View Post
I'd take Alamosa for the Monte Vista Wildlife refuge right next door.

Great duck hunting and they also have that Crane Festival every year.
And it's not that far from La Veta which is a cool town in its own right.
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Old 09-20-2018, 05:57 PM
Location: Arvada, CO
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Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
And it's not that far from La Veta which is a cool town in its own right.
Yeah, but La Veta is much closer to Walsenburg!
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Old Today, 12:57 PM
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I'm curious why the OP focused on these two places. I'd look at other Colorado small towns ahead of either one. Cortez immediately comes to mind. It's much warmer than Alamosa year round, warmer in summer than Walsenburg, has a better economy, and I'd argue is nearer more scenery than either with desert/red rocks as well as mountains and of course Mesa Verde and other Anasazi. Montrose is another place that I'd take ahead of either of the spots the OP is considering.
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