Ouray was the site of the Virginus Gold Mine.
This town is at an elevation of 7811 feet (2381 meters) and is the county seat. It is located in a bowl shaped valley surrounded on three sides by the San Juan Mountains. It was first laid out by Capt. Cline and Judge Long in 1875. At first the camp was called Uncompahgre City or just Uncompahgre but lasted about as long as it take to say the name and changed to Ouray in honor of the chief of the Western Ute Indians. Even though there were many good paying mines in the area and an initial rush of people this town grew slowly due to its isolation. With the coming of a branch of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad from Montrose in 1887 and a further extension to Ridgway three years later brought new life to the town. The town coined "Gem of the Rockies" early on and attracted tourists, artists and writers because of its beauty. The town was incorporated March 24, 1884 and today is more interested in tourism than mining. It has an estimated population of 650.