Buena Vista, Colorado

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Town of Buena Vista, Colorado
Motto: "8,000 Feet Above Average"
Location in Chaffee County and the State of Colorado
Location in Chaffee County and the State of Colorado
Coordinates: 38°50′20″N 106°7′58″W / 38.83889°N 106.13278°W / 38.83889; -106.13278Coordinates: 38°50′20″N 106°7′58″W / 38.83889°N 106.13278°W / 38.83889; -106.13278
Country  United States
State  State of Colorado
County Chaffee County[1]
Incorporated November 8, 1879[2]
 • Type Statutory Town[1]
 • Total 3.4 sq mi (8.9 km2)
 • Land 3.4 sq mi (8.9 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 7,965 ft (2,428 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 2,195
 • Density 645.6/sq mi (246.6/km2)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code 81211[3]
Area code(s) 719
FIPS code 08-10105
GNIS feature ID 0189268
Website Town of Buena Vista
Buena Vista at the foot of the Collegiate Peaks
Mount Princeton (Colorado) - 2006-05

Buena Vista is a Statutory Town in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. The population was 2,195 at the 2000 census.


Buena Vista is located in central Colorado roughly midway between Salida and Leadville in the Upper Arkansas River Valley at an elevation of 7,965 feet (2,428 m). The area between Buena Vista and Salida is often referred to as the Denver & Rio Grande, South Park & Pacific, and Colorado Midland railroads. Many of the existing buildings of Buena Vista date back to this era, and were built in the 1880s and 1890s.

Note: The name "Buena Vista," Spanish for "Beautiful View," can often be heard pronounced locally as "Biewna Vista." This Americanized pronunciation was specified by Alsina Dearheimer, who chose this name for the town, which was officially selected over other names (Cottonwood, Mahonville) on the occasion of the town's incorporation. Alternate pronunciations include "Bwena Veesta" (Spanish pronunciation) and simply "Biewnie." Many residents simply refer to the town as "BV."


Chaffee County Courthouse and Jail Buildings

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 2,195 people, 978 households, and 622 families residing in the town. The population density was 638.6 people per square mile (246.4/km²). There were 1,124 housing units at an average density of 327.0 per square mile (126.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.81% White, 0.09% African American, 0.64% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.73% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.74% of the population.

There were 978 households out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.3% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the town the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $34,800, and the median income for a family was $40,455. Males had a median income of $32,841 versus $25,486 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,920. About 9.4% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.1% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.

Trustees recall election[edit]

Then current mayor Cara Russell wrote a column for the Chaffee County Times entitled "How big a payoff do you want?", about the pros and cons of a local land development, on October 29, 2008.[5]

The column prompted five of the six town trustees to present her with a letter of dismissal on November 10, 2008.[citation needed][6] Russell requested a hearing over her dismissal.[7]

Two weeks later, after the trustees determined that was not the best course of action after they were informed by the Mayor's attorney that the trustees could be in violation of the mayors First Amendment rights, they voted to withdraw the letter of dismissal.[citation needed][8]

After five Buena Vista town trustees tried to remove mayor Russell for writing the article, a recall of three of the trustees was initiated in January 2009 for a special election in April 2009 which failed.[citation needed]

Mayor Russell was reelected April 6, 2010, and resigned on April 20, 2010 to run for County Clerk for Chaffee County Colorado in 2010.[citation needed] On April 16, 2010, Russell filed a Federal lawsuit against the Town of Buena Vista and 5 town trustees for violation of her First Amendment rights.[9][10]

Cara Russell and the Town of Buena Vista settled a lawsuit; she received an undisclosed amount and received an apology for violation of her First Amendment rights.[11]


US 24.svg US 24 is an east-west highway running from Interstate 75 near Clarkston, Michigan to the intersection with Interstate 70, near Minturn, Colorado. Its western terminus is located just 64 miles (103 km) north of Buena Vista.

The short segment between US 50 at Poncha Springs and US 24 at Buena Vista was originally U.S. Route 650, designated in 1926. US 285 was commissioned in 1936 along its present extent from Sanderson to Denver, mostly replacing state-numbered highways.

Chaffee County Road 306 leaves Buena Vista and travels west to the summit of Cottonwood Pass (elevation 12126 feet / 3696 meters). This road is closed during the snowy months, typically late October to April or May, but when open allows travelers a more direct route to Gunnison and Crested Butte than US 50 crossing Monarch Pass to the south of town.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  2. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  3. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. Retrieved September 4, 2007. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ Russell, Cara (October 29, 2008). "How big a payoff do you want?". Chaffee County Times. 
  6. ^ Mayor column prompts call for her removal. - Chaffee County Times.
  7. ^ Mayor requests hearing on her removal. - Chaffee County Times.
  8. ^ Trustees rescind removal letter. - Chaffee County Times.
  9. ^ Chaffee County Times http://www.chaffeecountytimes.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=2&ArticleID=5607 |url= missing title (help). 
  10. ^ Mayor Russell Legal Defense Fund.
  11. ^ [1] - Chaffee County Times.

External links[edit]