Westcliffe was settled as a railroad town. Silver Cliff, on its' eastern boundary, was a booming silver mining town when certain backers of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad arrived. Their usual method of doing business was to buy cheap land a few miles away from the center of business and bring the railroad to that cheap land. This strategy resulted in many, many towns being relocated to where the freight was actually arriving at and shipping from.
So Westcliffe came along after Silver Cliff and eventually took over most of the business in the area. In 1928, the county seat was moved from Silver Cliff to Westcliffe.
The Old "Westcliff" School
Hope Lutheran Church
Jones Theater and the famous "Caboose on Main Street"
The mining craze came to Custer County in the early 1870's with some gold but mostly silver finds in the Rosita and Querida area, east of Westcliffe in the Wet Mountains. Then a large deposit of silver was found at Silver Cliff. For a while, Silver Cliff was the third largest town in the State of Colorado (after Leadville and Denver). That's when Westcliffe was built with its famous church and school. The silver freighting business did good until Congress changed the rules and the United States went off the Silver Standard and onto the Gold Standard in 1893. Overnight, the price of silver plummeted and wiped out many fortunes across America. The Gold Standard made just as many overnight millionaires at the same time. But it had the effect of making silver much less valuable and brought an end to all but the most profitable of the silver mines in Colorado.
Today, the residents of Custer County are experiencing very fast growth. There's some new commercial construction going on just west of downtown and there's a lot of residential construction going on everywhere.
The High Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass and Gospel Festival takes place right after July 4th at the Custer County Event Center in Westcliffe. In mid-July is the "Westcliffe Stampede Rodeo," at the county fairgrounds. "Wet Mountain Western Days", a western music and art festival, usually takes place on Labor Day Weekend, also at the county fairgrounds in Westcliffe.
There's also a nice 9-hole golf course, St. Andrews at Westcliffe, just north of town off of Copper Gulch Road.
The north side of Main Street, looking east
The west end of Main Street, looking southwest
A couple of shops on Main Street
Main Street Inn Bed & Breakfast
All Aboard Westcliffe, the railroad museum
Historic Beckwith Ranch, about 6 miles northwest of Westcliffe