Reporter Traces Nucla From Utopian Dream To Afterthought Bitter About Nearby Telluride

July 19, 2017
Nucla's socialist roots(Photo via Flickr user Mark Finney)
Nucla began with a ditch cooperative in the 1890s.

Nucla can feel like the town that time forgot. Nestled down in southwest Colorado, it was built as a cooperative 'utopia' by socialists in the 1890s. Then it played a key role in the uranium industry. Fame for requiring every household to have a gun came next. Now? It's "the town under siege by liberals," according to The Guardian's Inequality Project.

Reporter Lois Beckett tells Colorado Matters she discovered a deep well of resentment in Nucla, much of it focused on "ridiculous rich hippies" who live 55 miles away in Telluride. She says she also found a fierce independent streak in Nucla's 700 or so residents, and a hope that the town can find a way to survive now that uranium is a historical footnote, and remoteness precludes much in the way of economic development.