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town, seat (1883) of San Miguel county, southwestern Colorado, U.S., located on the western flank of the San Juan Mountains at an elevation of 8,750 feet (2,667 metres). Telluride sprang up in 1875 as a mining camp called Columbia and quickly flourished with the discovery of abundant lodes of silver, gold, iron, zinc, lead, and copper. It was renamed in 1880 after the mineral tellurium, which is not found locally. A branch of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad arrived in 1890, when the town's population reached 5,000. Most of the town's residents were immigrants from mining districts in the British Isles and Scandinavia. The population fell with the collapse of the silver market in 1893, and by the mid-20th century Telluride had fewer than 500 residents. In 1972 a ski area was developed and became regionally, and then internationally, popular. The present town, a National Historic Landmark District, hosts film and music festivals throughout the year. The town is surrounded by the Uncompahgre National Forest. Bridal Veil Falls, the highest (425 feet [130 metres]) cascade in Colorado, lies close to the city centre. Inc. 1887. Pop. (1990) 1,309; (2000) 2,221.