Latitude / Longitude:
38° 22′ 6 N, 108° 44′ 11 W
Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
Uravan (a contraction of Uranium vanadium) is an abandoned uranium mining town in western Montrose County, Colorado, United States, that is now a Superfund site. The town was a company town established by U. S. Vanadium Corporation in 1936 to extract the rich vanadium ore in the region. As a byproduct of vanadium extraction, small amounts of uranium were also produced, at the time mostly used as a yellow pigment.
Dolores Cave was inhabited from about 600 BC to AD 1400. A corn cob dated about AD 1500 was found in the site, which indicates that corn was grown in the area after the Ancient Pueblo People (Anasazi) abandoned their Colorado pueblos in the 13th century. Tabeguache Cave II is a large prehistoric rock shelter occupied from about AD 600 – 1500. There is also a Tabeguache Cave and two other rock shelters near Nucla, Colorado. In 1885, placer gold was discovered in a tributary of the San Miguel River, Mesa Creek, nine miles from Ouray. The Montrose Placer Mining Company constructed the “Hanging Flume” on the east wall of Dolores River Canyon
The town was located approximately 90 miles (140 km) south-southwest of Grand Junction along the San Miguel River. At one time, over 800 people lived in Uravan, and the town housed a school, a trading center (store), medical facilities, tennis courts, a recreation center, and a pool. However, Uravan was abandoned by the 1980s, and no trace of its former buildings remain.
On May 6, 2012 the Montrose County Board of County Commissioners signed the Omnibus Agreement with Dow Chemical, giving them three tracts of land: Ballpark Parcel #1, a 133-acre plot between Hwy. 141 and the San Miguel River, Ballpark Parcel #2, approximately 10 acres northwest of the first parcel, and the Townsite property, located between County Rd. EE22 and County Rd. Y11. Montrose County agreed to accept this property on behalf of the Rimrocker Historical Society of Western Montrose County, which worked tirelessly since 1990 to properly preserve and interpret the history of Uravan. The Rimrocker Historical Society and Montrose County entered into a long term lease on May 1, 2013 for a 17-acre section of Ballpark parcel #1, with the intention of building a museum and campground on the property. The Rimrocker Historical Society of Western Montrose County hosts the annual Uranium History Celebration and Reunion Picnic at Historic Uravan, Colorado every August, sponsored in part by the Cold War Patriots. For the 100th anniversary of the original Joe Jr. Mill in 2012, over 1,000 people attended.