Dillon (1879, 9,156 feet) is said to have been named for Thomas Dillon, a wandering prospector. Like him, the town has been migratory. Originally on the Snake River, it was moved to the Blue River and then to a trackside location after the D&RG and DSP&P arrived in 1882.
During the 1940s the Denver Water Department began buying land and water rights to build a reservoir. While drowning the old townsite, the dam (1963) created 25 miles of shoreline, now dotted with new development. Many town buildings were moved uphill to the Fred Phillips Ranch to escape a watery grave. Dillon's population, as well as its location, has fluctuated with mining and transportation changes. After the railroads abandoned Dillon, the town declined until I-70's 1.7-mile-long Eisenhower Tunnel (1973) under the Continental Divide brought skiers to Summit County and started an avalanche of development.
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