The historic City of Gunnison is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. As of the U.S. Census 2000, the city had a total population of 5,409. The city was named in honor of John W. Gunnison, a United States Army officer who surveyed for the transcontinental railroad in 1853.
Gunnison is the home of Western State College. The Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport serves the valley and nearby Crested Butte, Colorado with both commercial airline and general aviation flights.
The city typically experiences moderate snowfalls, with an average of 50 inches per year. Early fall and late spring snows are not uncommon and snow can remain on the ground in town from as early as November to as late as April. Surrounding mountains experience very heavy snowfall with longer periods of snow on the ground. Many locations average 300-400 inches of snow annually. The snow is welcome to the area, as it is beneficial to water supplies and local ski resorts. Total liquid precipitation averages nearly 11 inches per year in the city of Gunnison, while surrounding mountains may receive anywhere from 15 to over 40 inches annually, depending upon elevation and local topography.
Slowly all of the Earp assets in Tombstone were sold to pay for taxes, and the stake the family had amassed eroded. Wyatt and Warren joined Virgil in San Francisco in late 1882. While there, Wyatt rekindled a romance with Josie Marcus, Behan's one-time fiancée. His common-law wife, Mattie waited for him in Colton but eventually realized Wyatt was not coming back (Wyatt had left Mattie the house when he left Tombstone). Earp left San Francisco with Josie in 1883 and she became his companion for the next forty-six years (no marriage certificate has been found). Earp and Marcus returned to Gunnison where they settled down, where that state’s governor refused to extradite Wyatt back to Arizona on the grounds that he could not get a fair trial, and Earp continued to run a faro bank.
Gunnison isolated themselves from the surrounding area during the Spanish Influenza epidemic for two months at the end of 1918. All highways were barricaded near the county lines. Train conductors warned all passengers that if they stepped outside of the train in Gunnison, the would be arrested and quarantined for five days. As a result of the isolation, no one died of influenza in Gunnison during the epidemic.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.3 km²). All of it is land and none of it is covered by water. Gunnison is near both Taylor Reservoir and Spring Creek Reservoir. One can travel to Gunnison from the towns of Salida and Buena Vista by going over Monarch Pass.
There were 2,083 households out of which 21.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.3% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 56.6% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.83.
In the city the population was spread out with 15.1% under the age of 18, 39.0% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 13.6% from 45 to 64, and 7.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females there were 120.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 122.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $25,768, and the median income for a family was $41,761. Males had a median income of $27,016 versus $21,194 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,196. About 10.1% of families and 24.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.8% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.