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Cortez (1887, 6,200 feet) was laid out in 1886 by M. J. Mack, engineer for the Montezuma Valley Water Supply Company, as the county seat and commercial hub. The first house and school were constructed in 1887. One of the few county seats never served by a railroad, Cortez remained a small town although tourism grew after the creation of Mesa Verde National Park in 1906. The town has several archaeological research centers and museums. Much strip development has come to line U.S. 160, the main street of this town of some 7,000 residents. Some of the oldest downtown landmarks are built of a dusty-colored sandstone quarried nearby in Crow Canyon.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel

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