Silverton is located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, which have been described by H.H. Bancroft as "the wildest and most inaccessible region of Colorado, if not North America." The region has a long and colorful mining history, dating back to the Spanish exploration of the area in the 18th century. For the past 250 years, men have sought gold and silver in these mountains. However, full-scale mining did not begin until the 1870s, and for more than a century, mining was the lifeblood of Silverton and the surrounding area. The San Juan Mountains have been called one of the four great mining areas of Colorado, in a state known for its mining heritage. This is not only the story of the mines but also of the men and women who worked and lived in these rugged mountains.