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HOW I CAME TO LOVE THE PEDESTRIAN VILLAGE

 

In 1978, the last dynamic link between the mining town that was and the resort town yet to be, the Idarado mine, ceased operations; the ski companychanged hands from Joe Zoline to Ron Allred; and the county planning process for Mountain Village was underway.

As a result, there was a real estate boom in speculation that Telluride would grow. The town was in the process of passing a bed tax on short-term lodging and talking about out-of-town parking, public transportation, a central reservations system, employee housing and improving transportation between regional airports and Telluride,” says local historian, Rudy Davison.

Telluride was changing, but into what was still anybody’s guess.

A lofty town with dreams to match, developer Walter McClennan and businessman David Fruen—who had recently purchased the lobby and the commercial part of the Telluride Lodge (today’s Clark’s Market)—cooked up an idea that would ultimately send 26 Telluriders to investigate the gold standard of mountain communities: Zermatt, Switzerland.

The Telluride Rotary and the New Sheridan Hotel agreed to sponsor the “fact-finding trip,” which was open to the first 25 people who could spare the $1,100 for airfare and lodging. The Rotary held a raffle for one free ticket.

In the fall of 1979, the mostly 30-something group—which included the likes of Ron and Joyce Allred; Dick Unruh; TD Smith; John Hopkins; a good number of realtors; the town planner; the director of parking and transportation; and Davison, then the publisher of the Telluride Times—embarked upon a journey that ultimately shaped many decisions and the course of our growing community.

Davison admits, “It was a party trip, yes, we kept the disco going, but we accomplished kind of a lot.”

“How I Came to Love the Pedestrian Village," a private slideshow and presentation by Davison, will relive the 1979 Rotary Trip to Zermatt at 6 p.m. February 10, at the Telluride Historical Museum.

“There were quite a number of comparisons and contrasts that related to Telluride and Zermatt. The trip turned out to have many positive effects on what happened with Telluride growth, the ski area, and Mountain Village,” says Davison.

“How I Came to Love the Pedestrian Village," is a private Museum event with limited seating. Visit the museum at the top of Fir St., online or call to become a member and to RSVP for this special night.

 

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