The Town of Crestone is a Statutory Town in Saguache County, Colorado.[1] According to the 2020 United States Census, the town's population was 141.[4] Crestone is located at the foot of the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo Range, in the northern part of the San Luis Valley. Crestone was platted in 1880 by George Adams, owner of the neighboring Luis Maria Baca Grant No. 4. [citation needed] In the 1970s, the Baca Grande land development was established on the lands of the Baca Grant to the south and west. Several hundred homes have been built there [when?] [citation needed].

Crestone, Colorado
Town of Crestone[1]
Welcome sign on Birch Street,
Welcome sign on Birch Street,
Location of the Town of Crestone in the Saguache County, Colorado.
Location of the Town of Crestone in the Saguache County, Colorado.
Crestone is located in the United States
Location of the Town of Crestone in the United States.
Coordinates: 37°59′40″N 105°41′47″W / 37.994497°N 105.696273°W / 37.994497; -105.696273[2]
Country United States
State Colorado
CountySaguache County[1]
IncorporatedJanuary 24, 1902[3]
 • TypeStatutory Town[1]
 • MayorKairina Danforth
 • Town ClerkAllyson Ransom
 • TreasurerLisa Cyriacks
 • Total0.385 sq mi (0.996 km2)
 • Land0.385 sq mi (0.996 km2)
 • Water0.000 sq mi (0.000 km2)
Elevation7,923 ft (2,415 m)
 • Total141
 • Density367/sq mi (142/km2)
Time zoneUTC−07:00 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−06:00 (MDT)
ZIP Code[6]
Area code719
FIPS code08-18420
GNIS feature ID0192409
HighwaysTake County Road T 12 miles east from State Highway 17 at Moffat

The Crestone area, which includes the Baca Grande and Moffat, Colorado, is a spiritual center for some religions, including a Hindu temple, a Zen center, several Tibetan Buddhist centers, and miscellaneous New Age happenings. Much of this spiritual development was catalyzed by the couple Hanne and Maurice Strong in the 1970s, who set out to make it an interfaith center.[7]

Crestone is named for the 14,000-foot peaks that lie just east of the town: Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. The Crestones, as they are known collectively, in turn, took their name from the Spanish word crestón, which, according to Walter Borneman and Lyndon Lampert's book A Climbing Guide to Colorado’s Fourteeners, means: “the top of a cock’s comb”; “the crest of a helmet”; or, in miners’ jargon, “an outcropping of ore”.

History edit

Galena Avenue June 1901

The first settlement in the Crestone area occurred after the American Civil War with the granting of the Luis Maria Baca Grant No. 4 in 1860 to the heirs of the original Baca Grant at Las Vegas, New Mexico. Title to the grant at Las Vegas was clouded by a second grant of the same land to the residents of Las Vegas, the Bacas having abandoned their grant after the deaths of the founder to a Mexican soldier in 1827 and of his oldest son at the hands of the Navajo in 1835. The Baca heirs were offered alternative lands from the public lands of the United States.[8] The square tract selected is 12.5 miles (20.1 km) on a side south of Saguache County Road T south of Crestone. The Bacas deeded the land to their attorney, but it soon passed by tax sale to a third party. The ranch headquarters were on Crestone Creek to the southwest of Crestone. The Baca Grant was one of the first large tracts of land to be fenced in the West and was the home of prize Hereford cattle.

In addition to ranching, there was some mining in the area to the east and south of Crestone of small shallow iron oxide copper gold ore deposits. In 1880, the town of Crestone was platted by George Adams, the owner of the Baca Grant. In 1900, with the help of Eastern investors, George Adams ignited a minor boom, reopening one of the more promising gold mines and building a railroad spur to the town and the mines along the Range south of town. However, lacking good ore, the boom was short-lived. A long period of decline followed.

By 1948, Crestone had declined to its post-war population of 40, mostly retirees and cowboys who worked on the Grant, a nickname for the Baca Grant. Many of the old cabins were used as vacation homes. By 1971, the Baca Grant came into the ownership of a corporation that subdivided a portion of the Grant, creating the Baca Grande, a subdivision originally platted for about 10,000 lots. At great expense, underground utilities were installed, and roads were built. However, sales lagged and by 1979 the development was considered a liability by the corporation. Maurice Strong, owner of a controlling interest, and his fiancée, Hanne Marstrand, visited the development and "fell in love with it". They were inspired to create a world spiritual center and began granting parcels of land to traditional spiritual organizations.

The population gradually began to increase and by 2006 several hundred homes had been built and small spiritual communities had become established. As the Baca Grande contained no provision for business uses, Crestone became the business center of the community and, having enacted a sales tax, was in a position to finance further improvements.

Geography edit

Approach to Crestone at the east end of Road T. The square topped mountain is Kit Carson Mountain, the peak on the right is Crestone Peak.

Crestone is located near the 38th parallel, in the San Luis Valley in south-central Colorado. It is platted on a quarter section of land, or 160 acres (0.65 km2), on the alluvial fan of North Crestone Creek. Much of the land near the creek where the main part of the city sits, is well watered in normal times, but during a prolonged drought the creek may dry up and underground water levels may fall.

At the 2020 United States Census, the town had a total area of 246 acres (0.996 km2), all of it land.[4]

Access edit

Saguache County Road T is the main road into Crestone. It is a county road. It is "T" in a series of alphabetically named east-west roads that begin at State Highway 112, the south boundary of Saguache County, which would be Road A, if it were not a state highway. Road T is a through road across the valley, crossing U.S. Highway 285 at Swede's Corners about 6 miles south of Saguache, Colorado but is paved only from Moffat, Colorado east 12.5 miles to Crestone, Colorado.[9] The eastern portion of Road T forms the north boundary of the Baca National Wildlife Refuge.

Public lands edit

Mountain terrain east of Crestone is managed by the Rio Grande National Forest including part of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. Public lands at the foot of the mountains including the forested public land surrounding Crestone are managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management. The combined office of the United States Forest Service and the BLM is in Saguache, Colorado, the county seat.

Climate edit

Climate data for Crestone, Colorado (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1982–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 59
Mean maximum °F (°C) 47.2
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 33.0
Daily mean °F (°C) 21.1
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 9.2
Mean minimum °F (°C) −6.3
Record low °F (°C) −20
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.50
Average snowfall inches (cm) 8.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 5.2 5.4 6.3 6.6 7.6 5.9 13.0 12.4 8.0 5.7 4.5 5.6 86.2
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 5.6 5.6 5.7 4.3 1.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.6 3.6 6.1 33.8
Source: NOAA[10][11]

Demographics edit

Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census

The following is derived from the US census and covers only the town itself, thus giving only a partial picture of the area. About half of the homes in Crestone itself are used only on a seasonal basis. The Crestone community is much larger, consisting also of several hundred homes in the Baca Grande subdivision, the surrounding rural area, and the small town of Moffat, Colorado. The Moffat School District NO. 2 operates a public school in Moffat and the Crestone Charter School in Crestone.[12]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 73 people, 45 households, and 18 families residing in the town. The population density was 290.8 inhabitants per square mile (112.3/km2). There were 79 housing units at an average density of 314.7 per square mile (121.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.9% White, 4.1% from other races. 1.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 45 households, out of which 8.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.9% were married couples living together, 4.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 60.0% don't fit into the above categories. 48.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.62 and the average family size was 2.22.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 8.2% under the age of 18, 4.1% from 18 to 24, 23.3% from 25 to 44, 45.2% from 45 to 64, and 19.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 52 years. For every 100 females there were 102.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.0 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $31,250, and the median income for a family was $40,000. Males had a median income of $22,813 versus $27,917 for females. The per capita income for the town was $22,291. There were 18.8% of families and 19.7% of the population living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64.

Gallery edit

Spiritual and intellectual centers edit

The deity Haidakhandeshwari in the temple of the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram near Crestone

Crestone has become internationally known as a locus for a diverse range of religious and spiritual traditions. Accommodating of spiritual pilgrims and eco-tourists is the major industry in Crestone. The town's development as a spiritual and intellectual center was initiated by Maurice Strong, a multimillionaire businessman and United Nations Undersecretary, and his wife, Hanne Marstrand Strong. Using land acquired from the corporations Strong controlled, they established the Manitou Foundation and Manitou Institute. According to its website, the institute "provides grants and some financial support in Crestone/Baca, Colorado to qualified religious and spiritual projects." The foundation granted land in the area to several spiritual and intellectual centers.[14]

Crestone is one of only a handful of places in the United States where open-air funeral pyres are legally permitted. Since 1998, over 75 individuals have been cremated on an open-air pyre in Crestone.[9]

Spiritual centers in Crestone:

Religion Organization Sect
Buddhist (Zen) Crestone Mountain Zen Center founded by Zentatsu Richard Baker Sōtō
Buddhist (Tibetan)
Dharma Ocean Retreat Center founded by Reginald Ray Karma Kagyu
Karma Thegsum Tashi Gomang founded by the 16th Karmapa Karma Kagyu
Mangala Shri Bhuti founded by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche Nyingma
Vajra Vidya founded by Thrangu Rinpoche Karma Kagyu
Yeshe Khorlo founded by Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche Nyingma
Yeshe Rangsal Retreat Center founded by Tsokyni Rinpoche Drukpa Kagyu
Hindu Haidakhandi Universal Ashram[15] Haidakhan Babaji
Sri Aurobindo Learning Center Sri Aurobindo
Temple of Consciousness Ashram Humanity in Unity
Other Academy of On Academy of On
The Shumei International Institute in Crestone Colorado Shumei International Institute
Chamma Ling founded by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche Bön

Intellectual and spiritual centers of historical interest:

Nature of organization Organization Type of organization
Nonprofit organization Manitou Foundation and Manitou Institute[16]
New age think tank Lindisfarne Association New Age
Liberal think tank Aspen Institute
Liberal arts college Baca Campus of Colorado College[17]
Christian The Spiritual Life Institute and Nada Hermitage Retreat Center Roman Catholic (Carmelite)[18]
Primary and Secondary The Crestone Charter School Charter School
The Church Ministry of Mother of All Creation Love Has Won

Volunteer and community services edit

Emergency services for the town of Crestone and the Baca Grande are provided by the Crestone Volunteer Fire Dept. and the Baca-Crestone Ambulance Service.[19]

The Crestone End of Life Project Archived August 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine provides open-air cremation and end of life support. CEOLP is a non-denominational community-based group promoting informed end-of-life choices and supporting their fulfillment. Cost is modest but is available only to the 1,000 or so people who live in the local community.[20]

Fairs and markets edit

The Annual San Luis Valley Energy Fair is held in Crestone's town parks over Labor Day weekend each year. The fair features ideas and products that relate to environmental sustainability such as solar power and straw bale construction as well as booths offering food and local products. Crestone hosts an annual Artists Open Studio Tour during the first weekend in October, allowing for visits to the many artist's studios in the area. Food and local products are offered regularly at the Saturday Market which happens in the middle of town in Little Pearl Park every Saturday during the summer.[21] Crestone has a free box which is enthusiastically supported by the community.[22]

Wildlife edit

Crestone has historically been a deer park; Mule deer are commonly seen grazing in yards in town. Black bears are also common, but usually only at night when they raid apple trees and the dumpsters at the cafes and stores in downtown Crestone. In 2011 a bear with two cubs was frequently seen during the day. This bear, which was generally well-behaved other than raiding trash, was killed by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources following a bear attack on a tethered goat. Local sympathizers complained bitterly the wrong bear had been killed, receiving extensive coverage through Channel 9 in Denver which was distributed nationally by the Associated Press,[23] prompting an investigation of the incident by the Division of Parks and Wildlife and possible re-evaluation of management of bears in mixed rural-urban communities such as Crestone.[24] An internal investigation by the Division of Parks and Wildlife came to the conclusion that the right bear had been shot.[25]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Active Colorado Municipalities". Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  2. ^ "2014 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Places". United States Census Bureau. July 1, 2014. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  3. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. December 1, 2004. Retrieved September 2, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d "Decennial Census P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data". United States Census Bureau, United States Department of Commerce. August 12, 2021. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup". United States Postal Service. Archived from the original (JavaScript/HTML) on November 4, 2010. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
  7. ^ Jones, Finn-Olaf (January 11, 2008). "For Many a Follower, Sacred Ground in Colorado". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Thomas Merlan; Kurt F. Anschuetz (September 2007). "More Than a Scenic Mountain Landscape: Valles Caldera National Preserve Land Use History USDA Forest Service RMRS-GTR-196 Chapter 4. History of the Baca Location No. 1" (PDF). Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Directions to Crestone Music Festival". Archived from the original on September 25, 2010.
  10. ^ "NOWData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 8, 2023.
  11. ^ "Summary of Monthly Normals 1991–2020". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 8, 2023.
  12. ^ "District Directory Information (2021-2022 school year)". Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  14. ^ Brady, Tracy Lynn (2004). "Kivas, cathedrals and energy seats: The making of religious landscapes in the upper Rio Grande Valley". University of Colorado at Boulder (PhD Thesis). Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  15. ^ "About Us". Babaji Ashram. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  16. ^ "History of the Manitou Foundation". Manitou Institute. Retrieved October 27, 2022.
  17. ^ "Global Education and Field Study". Colorado College. Retrieved October 8, 2022. ...the College leased three condominium units and the conference center from the Aspen Institute and a fundraising campaign was initiated. In 1990, [with the help of a trustee], a townhouse, the conference center, and adjacent land was purchased.
  18. ^ "CCS History". Crestone Charter School. Retrieved October 11, 2022.
  19. ^ The Baca Grande Property Owner's Association. "Fire". Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
  20. ^ Moreno, Ivan (January 31, 2011). "Funeral pyres an option in Colo. mountain town". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Archived from the original on February 3, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  21. ^ "Energy fair is this weekend" Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine article based on a press release in the Valley Courier August 30, 2010, accessed August 31, 2010
  22. ^ "Editor’s Notes Archived December 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine August '09 Crestone Eagle, accessed September 19, 2010
  23. ^ "Crestone residents say wrong bear killed". The Denver Post. The Associated Press. August 30, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  24. ^ Kevin Torres (September 19, 2011). "Parks & Wildlife meets with residents over bear's death". Channel 9 News in Denver. Retrieved September 20, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "Internal review finds officials shot right bear" report by Christina Dickinson, 9News.Com, November 24, 2011

Further reading edit

External links edit