The town was organized in September 1881 by
the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad (D&RG) to serve the San Juan mining
district. The D&RG chose a site south of Animas City for its depot after Animas
City refused to pay a dowry to the D&RG. The city is named after Durango,
Mexico, which was named after Durango, Spain. The word Durango originates from
the Basque word "Urango" meaning "water town".
Area archaeological sites on the State and
National historical registers include: