Montezuma: Mines, myths and mighty hearty locals |

Montezuma: Mines, myths and mighty hearty locals

Tenacious best describes the spirit of the town of Montezuma.

In 1865, a group of silver prospectors braved the rugged passes of the Continental Divide to find a tent commune in a high valley along the Snake River. One of the prospectors, D.C. Collier, branded the name “Montezuma” on a tree, naming the tent village for the golden treasures of the Aztecs’ last emperor.

It didn’t take long for the miners to make strikes. When Loveland Pass opened in 1868, more prospectors clambered through to stake their claims. By 1881, when the town officially incorporated, the population had grown to 800.

Since the boom, the town, located above Keystone in southeastern Summit County, has dwindled to about 50 people ” some of whom live without running water. The population has not changed much since the 1920s, when mining began to wind down. Though winters are harsh, during the summer the area is a popular recreation spot for hikers, campers, fishermen and four-wheelers.

Montezuma has waxed and waned in activity throughout the years. Recently, the town has united to become more active as a government and community.

Montezuma re-established its town charter in the 1980s. In the November 1999 election, Montezuma residents approved a 2 percent sales tax to fund town activities. Since 2005, a small, low-powered FM station, KMZM 96.5, has operated out of one of the houses. The station is receivable only near town. ≈


10,400 feet


About 60

Town Hall:

5425 Montezuma Rd.


Steve Hornback


(970) 468-8509

Average home sale transaction price:

2006: $267,438*

* Source: Land Title Guarantee Company.

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