The Ute Indians summered in the Crested Butte area for hundreds of years before the first settlers of European descent arrived looking for precious metals as early as 1874. The town incorporated in 1880 and quickly grew as a supply center for the mining camps. The mother lode of gold or silver never materialized, but the town survived due to the large concentration of high quality bituminous coal in the area. The Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I) and a few smaller companies developed coal mines and coke ovens. By 1882, Crested Butte produced much of the state's coal supply. The English, American and northern European settlers and miners arrived first followed by the Croatians, Italians and Slavs in the early 1900s. The CF&I operated its mine until 1952. Many buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s still stand. Crested Butte was designated a Registered National Historic District in 1972.