by Mary Menz
More than 1,000 people lived in Ouray in 1876 when the town was incorporated. Not only was Ouray a bustling mining center, but it served as a distribution center for goods across the San Juan Mountain region—especially when the railroad arrived in 1887. To protect valuables and foil potential robbers, high traffic banks, businesses and brothels had large floor safes and vaults delivered to town by wagon or train.
Today, people can see many of these safes around the county, but they serve more as...