Dolores County is the
seventh least populous of the 64
counties of the State of Colorado of the United States.
The county population was 1,844 at U.S. Census
. The county seat is
Dolores County, as well as much of southwestern Colorado, is rich
in Indian ruins
and sites of the Anasazi
. It is thought that the area has been the
site of human habitation since at least 2500 B.C. According to the
Heritage Center, Dolores County contained at least 816 recorded
1989. Also, the county contains a site of regional historic
interest, the Dominguez-Escalante Trail of 1776. The trail marks a
historic 1800-mile trip, intended to discover an overland route
Mexico and Monterey, California.
County was created by the Colorado legislature on February 19,
1881, from the western portions of Ouray
County, and was named for the Dolores River.
The complete Spanish
name was Rio de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores (River of our
Lady of Sorrows),
as reported by Father Silvestre Vélez de
in 1776. Originally set in Rico, the county
seat was moved to Dove Creek in 1941.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, the county has a total
area of 1,068 square miles (2,766 km²), of which,
1,067 square miles (2,763 km²) of it is land and
1 square mile (3 km²) of it is water
. The total area is 0.11% water.
County, like other counties in Colorado along its border with
Utah, is split into two geographically distinct regions,
and in fact, under normal travel conditions, it is necessary to
leave the county to travel between the two regions.
western portion of the county along the Utah border is relatively
low (6500–7500 feet in elevation) and flat, and consists of
irrigated and dryland farming areas; it is especially well-known
for the cultivation of various varieties of beans, including
and many variety of old
beans. The eastern portion of the
county is located in the highest peaks of the San Juan Mountains
, around the old mining
and modern tourist town of Rico, and except for cattle grazing in
the San Juan National Forest, has virtually no agriculture, in part
because its elevations range from 9,000 to 14,000+. Rico is developing in
many ways as a bedroom community
for the much wealthier town of Telluride
in San Miguel
County to the north.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 1,844
people, 785 households, and 541 families residing in the county.
The population density
people per square mile (1/km²). There were 1,193 housing units at
an average density of one per square mile (0/km²). The racial
makeup of the county was 95.28% White
, 0.05% Black
or African American
, 1.95% Native American
, 0.38% Asian
, 0.05% Pacific Islander
, 0.60% from
, and 1.68%
from two or more races. 3.85% of the population were Hispanic
of any race.
There were 785 households out of which 24.50% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 57.70% were married couples
living together, 8.50% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 31.00% were non-families.
26.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.40% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.82.
In the county the population was spread out with 21.90% under the
age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 26.30% from 25 to 44, 27.80% from
45 to 64, and 17.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median
age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 107.20 males.
For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.50
The median income for a household in the county was $32,196, and
the median income for a family was $38,000. Males had a median
income of $30,972 versus $20,385 for females. The per capita income
for the county was
$17,106. About 10.20% of families and 13.10% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 9.80%
of those under age 18 and 18.30% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns
National forest and wilderness