Constructed in 1876-77, the Animas Cañón Toll Road was the main route between Animas City (north of Durango) and Silverton during the development of the mining camps in the surrounding region. Prior to the toll road’s construction, isolation was an impediment to the settlement of Silverton and the development of its mines, with trails and roads impassable for nearly six months of the year. Sufficient supplies and equipment were brought in with great difficulty and only the highest grade ore was transported out.
With the construction of the Animas Cañón Toll Road, it was possible to freight in and out of Silverton nearly year-round. Of particular importance was the stimulation the road provided for agricultural production in the Animas Valley. The road was operable from 1877 until 1882 when a branch of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad was constructed over much of the road’s original footprint and became the primary means of transport between Durango and Silverton. Surviving segments of the original toll road are the subject of the nomination.