Despite looking identical to the standard faux-rustic edifices surrounding the building on either side, the Mahr Building in Telluride, Colorado sits on the site of famous outlaw Butch Cassidy’s first bank heist.
Every famous criminal has to start somewhere and for Butch Cassidy (at the time, simply a petty thief with dreams of outlaw status) that beginning occurred at the San Miguel Valley Bank on June 24, 1889. Following a plan devised by accomplice Matt Warner, Cassidy and his brother-in-law robbed the Telluride bank for $20,000. Warner simply walked into the bank and placed his gun under the teller’s nose while Cassidy robbed the place and the brother-in-law watched the horses. As they fled the scene the outlaws created a ruckus, alerting the entire town to the robbery that they would have otherwise simply gotten away with. Luckily, no one in town knew the mens’ identities so they were clear nonetheless. However this anonymity would not last, as Cassidy and his fellow crooks ran across a rancher who Cassidy and Warner had worked for previously. Once the town posse caught up with the rancher, the outlaws names were out and the hunt was on. It was this identification that would turn Butch Cassidy into a full time outlaw as he was now a very wanted man.
The San Miguel Valley Bank burned down a few years after the robbery and was replaced by the current Mahr Building which stands in its place, housing both commercial and residential space. The pivotal role of the location is remembered by a plaque denoting the robbery, although the town of Telluride may now be the last place anyone would think of as a place for outlaw history.
Know Before You Go
Continue along Colorado Ave. as you enter the town of Telluride. The robbery site is on the corner of Pine St. and Colorado Ave. on the left corner.