Nucla, Colorado

Nucla is a Statutory Town in Montrose County, Colorado, United States. The population was 711 at the 2010 census. Its name comes from the town's founders intent that it serve as a "nucleus" for the surrounding farms and mines, although it has since come to be associated with the growth of uranium mining in the region.

Town of Nucla, Colorado
Looking south along Main Street
Looking south along Main Street
Location of Nucla in Montrose County, Colorado.
Location of Nucla in Montrose County, Colorado.
Coordinates: 38°16′0″N 108°32′50″W / 38.26667°N 108.54722°W / 38.26667; -108.54722Coordinates: 38°16′0″N 108°32′50″W / 38.26667°N 108.54722°W / 38.26667; -108.54722
Country United States
State Colorado
Incorporated (town)March 14, 1915[2]
 • TypeStatutory Town[1]
 • Total0.69 sq mi (1.80 km2)
 • Land0.69 sq mi (1.80 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation5,787 ft (1,764 m)
 • Total711
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,028.82/sq mi (397.42/km2)
Time zoneUTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code[6]
Area code(s)970
FIPS code08-54935
GNIS feature ID0185887


Nucla is located at 38°16′0″N 108°32′50″W / 38.26667°N 108.54722°W / 38.26667; -108.54722 (38.266775, -108.547146).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2), all of it land. Nucla is located in an area of desert land, surrounding the Uncompahgre National Forest.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)714[5]0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 734 people, 311 households, and 208 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,036.0 people per square mile (399.2/km2). There were 369 housing units at an average density of 520.8 per square mile (200.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 94.69% White, 1.09% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.54% from other races, and 3.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.68% of the population.

There were 311 households, out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 28.6% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 24.3% from 25 to 44, 27.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $28,466, and the median income for a family was $33,636. Males had a median income of $32,417 versus $21,726 for females. The per capita income for the town was $12,982. About 14.4% of families and 17.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.4% of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those age 65 or over.


A 1972 photograph of a coal-burning power plant in Nucla.

There are several prehistoric sites near Nucla on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties:[10]

  • Cottonwood Cave is a large rock shelter inhabited by 270 BC and the earliest date at which corn was found in the state of Colorado.
  • Tabeguache Cave is another prehistoric rock shelter.
  • Tabeguache Pueblo is an example of an early, dispersed Ancient Pueblo settlement, inhabited about AD 1100 and later abandoned.

The town was established by socialists, who emphasized the sharing of things. The name of the town comes from the word nucleus.[11]

In May 2013, the Nucla Town Board passed an ordinance that required every non-exempted head of household in the town to own a firearm.[12]

Gun LawsEdit

In 2013, Nucla became the first and only city in Colorado state to make gun ownership mandatory.[13]

In 1990, residents of Nucla hosted the first Top Dog World Championship Prairie Dog Shoot competition which resulted in killing nearly 3,000 prairie dogs.[14]

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Archived from the original on 2009-12-12. 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. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  6. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup". United States Postal Service. Archived from the original (JavaScript/HTML) on January 1, 2008. Retrieved November 26, 2007.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  10. ^ National & State Registers. Archived 2012-04-24 at the Wayback Machine Colorado Historical Society, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 10-8-2011.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Loftus, Lauren (August 21, 2014). "Colorado Town That Requires a Gun in Every Home Fights for its Life". NBC. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  13. ^ "Nucla becomes Colorado's first and only town mandating gun ownership". The Denver Post. 2013-05-24. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  14. ^ "Colorado: High Noon In Nucla". Time. 1990-07-30. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2017-12-11.

External linksEdit