The county seat (1881, 7,888 feet) was founded by Dr. William A. Bell, vice president of the D&RG, who purchased several ranches and established a cheese factory in the town he named for Westcliffe-on-the-Sea in his native British Isles. He also brought in a D&RG rail spur to tap the resources of the area. Ignored by the railroad, nearby Silver Cliff lost population and even buildings to Westcliffe. St. Luke's Episcopal Church and a hotel “with the pictures still hanging on the walls” were hauled into what is still the largest town in Custer County.
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