This ranching community (1872, 8,178 feet) was founded by James Costello, who named it after his home in Missouri. The Colorado Midland Railroad built a depot here in 1887 on its line to Leadville and Aspen. Florissant thrived as a supply and lumber town during the Cripple Creek bonanza days. The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, 3 miles south on Florissant Road, contain remnants of a subtropical forest of moss, ferns, and sequoia trees that flourished here over 50 million years ago. Volcanic eruptions covered this paradise with boiling mud and molten lava, pressing down layers of ash to preserve insects, leaves, flowers, and the trunks of giant sequoia trees in fossilized form. Following its discovery in 1874, plundering and commercialization damaged the site before it was declared a national monument in 1969.
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