Montezuma County, Colorado

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Montezuma County, Colorado
Montezuma County Courthouse.jpg
Montezuma County Courthouse
Map of Colorado highlighting Montezuma County
Location in the state of Colorado
Map of the United States highlighting Colorado
Colorado's location in the U.S.
Founded April 16, 1889
Named for Aztec ruler Moctezuma II
Seat Cortez
Largest city Cortez
Area
 • Total 2,040.2 sq mi (5,284 km2)
 • Land 2,029.5 sq mi (5,256 km2)
 • Water 10.6 sq mi (27 km2), 0.52%
Population
 • (2010) 25,535
 • Density 12.58/sq mi (4.86/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Website www.co.montezuma.co.us
Footnotes:
20th most populous Colorado county

Montezuma County is the southwesternmost of the 64 counties of the state of Colorado of the United States. The county population was 25,535 at the 2010 census.[1] The county seat is Cortez.

Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Yucca House National Monument, and Hovenweep National Monument preserve hundreds of ancient Amerindian structures, including the famous cliff-dwellings, found in the county. Montezuma County is also home to most of the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation, home of the Weeminuche Band of the Ute Nation, known as the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, with its headquarters at Towaoc.

History[edit]

Montezuma County has been settled since approximately AD 600, and had an estimated population of approximately 100,000, four times its current population, in the 12th century. However, a series of events caused virtually all permanent settlements to be abandoned between 1200 and 1300, and the area was contested between nomadic Ute and Navajo bands until resettlement occurred in the 1870s. Montezuma County was created out of the western portion of La Plata County by the Colorado Legislature in April 1889. It was named in honor of a famous chief of the Aztec Indians in Mexico, Moctezuma II. The building ruins in Mesa Verde National Park were thought to be of Aztec origin at the time.


Geography[edit]

According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 2,040.2 square miles (5,284.0 km2), of which 2,029.5 square miles (5,256.5 km2) is land and 10.6 square miles (27.5 km2), or 0.52%, is water.[2]

Today, there are three incorporated municipalities in Montezuma County: Cortez, Dolores, and Mancos, and a large number of unincorporated communities, including Towaoc, Lewis, Arriola, Mesa Verde, Lebanon, Stoner, Weber, and Battle Rock.

A large county, roughly 1/3 of its area is tribal land, 1/3 is federal land (administered by the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management), and 1/3 private or state/county land. It is also varied topographically, ranging in elevation from about 6,000 feet (1,800 m) to more than 14,000 feet (4,300 m), and from high Colorado Plateau desert to alpine tundra. The county has the second largest reservoir in Colorado, McPhee Reservoir, many other large reservoirs, and hundreds of private lakes and ponds. Much of the county is irrigated cropland, and it produces fruit, large numbers of cattle and sheep, and beans. It is served by U.S. Highways 160 and 491 (formerly US 666), and by Cortez Municipal Airport. It has no rail service, although both Mancos and Dolores were established as railroad towns in the 1890s.

Adjacent counties[edit]

Montezuma County is the only county in the United States to border three counties with the same name in three different states (San Juan County in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah). The "border" with San Juan County, Colorado, is, however, only a point of zero length.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 1,529
1900 3,058 100.0%
1910 5,029 64.5%
1920 6,260 24.5%
1930 7,798 24.6%
1940 10,463 34.2%
1950 9,991 −4.5%
1960 14,024 40.4%
1970 12,952 −7.6%
1980 16,510 27.5%
1990 18,762 13.6%
2000 23,830 27.0%
2010 25,535 7.2%
Est. 2012 25,431 −0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[3]
2012 Estimate[4]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 23,830 people, 9,201 households, and 6,514 families residing in the county. The population density was 12 people per square mile (5/km²). There were 10,497 housing units at an average density of 5 per square mile (2/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 81.72% White, 0.14% Black or African American, 11.23% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 4.26% from other races, and 2.38% from two or more races. 9.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 9,201 households out of which 33.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.40% were married couples living together, 10.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.20% were non-families. 24.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the county the population was spread out with 27.50% under the age of 18, 7.10% from 18 to 24, 26.30% from 25 to 44, 25.30% from 45 to 64, and 13.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 96.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,083, and the median income for a family was $38,071. Males had a median income of $30,666 versus $21,181 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,003. About 13.10% of families and 16.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.20% of those under age 18 and 14.40% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns[edit]

Mancos Colorado Opera House 2009

National parks[edit]

Other protected areas[edit]

Montezuma County includes the Colorado section of the Four Corners Monument.

National trails[edit]

National scenic byways[edit]

Bicycle routes[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Montezuma County, Colorado". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved February 1, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Montezuma County, Colorado". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved February 1, 2012. 
  3. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Census.gov. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°20′N 108°36′W / 37.34°N 108.60°W / 37.34; -108.60