Dropping Out: Crested Butte in the 1970’s

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Crested Butte in the 1970s laid the framework for the community we know today. In this decade, there was an explosion of creativity, proliferation of new activities and sports, and a political takeover.

In the 1960s and ‘70s, the United States experienced political upheaval and shifts in public ideology. Disillusioned by political and cultural norms, people rejected “traditional” lifestyles, many moving to rural areas where they could live by different values. Despite Crested Butte’s remote and isolated location, the established residents of this community, dubbed “old-timers” by the new residents, could not avoid the changing national climate.

Crested Butte in the 1970s laid the framework for the community we know today. In this decade, there was an explosion of creativity, proliferation of new activities and sports, and a political takeover. With the influx of people came fun-loving lifestyles and recreational drugs. This was a riotous time, establishing some of our most loved traditions and sense of community character.

Following the close of the Big Mine in 1952, the main economic driver, coal, disappeared from Crested Butte. Small enterprises supported the community through the end of the 1950s and 1960s, which heralded the founding of the ski area. Following that, the population gradually grew from 250 people to 350, then 700, and so on. These newcomers became involved with shaping the community in different ways.