Through chatting with a few locals I was able to glean a bit of the history of Telluride.
The discovery of gold in 1858 put Colorado on the map. Tunnels honey combed the mountains in search of gold, silver, zinc, lead and copper. The town's name was originally Columbia, often confused with a mining town in California of the same name. Due to the lawless thriving business of saloons, gambling halls and a much heralded red-light district word of the town's inhospitable reputation went forth. Thus those who headed off to seek their fortunes at Columbia, Co. received the famous send-off 'To-Hell-U-Ride!'