Telluride Blog

Telluride Diversity


Written By Lynn Ward, Broker Associate at Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties
Posted: June 03, 2019 by Jennifer Sulze

Telluride has always been a town of diversity. Used as a summer camp by the Ute Indians and named by Spanish explorers, the San Juan Mountains beckoned to those looking to seek their fortunes. In the mining heyday of the late 1800s, Telluride welcomed people from many walks of life. Primarily from mountainous areas in Europe, the region saw Irish, Italian, Swedish, Austrian, Finnish and German immigrants settle in the valley and call Telluride home.

Today, Telluride is home to a growing population from Bulgaria. Drawn to Telluride by the beautiful mountains that represent a large portion of the topography of the country, immigrants from Bulgaria are struck by not only the majestic beauty of the area, but of the welcoming and diverse culture of Telluride. A few women from Bulgaria share their personal stories and journeys to Telluride.

Iva Kostova Hild was born in Svilengrad, Bulgaria, and heard about Telluride when she started dating her husband Tim. As a long-time local, he told her stories about the mining heritage of the town, its world-class ski resort, the free transportation system, the music and film festivals, the alpenglow, the stars, the Sheridan Bar, the Fourth of July parade, the awesomely opinionated locals who know how to have a good time … the list goes on. To Iva, it sounded like Wonderland. When she visited for the first time, she was greeted by a bright double rainbow over Main Street. It was love at first sight. She moved from Denver to Telluride in 2014 to marry Tim and begin her career in real estate. What Iva loves most about this town is that every single day provides the opportunity to experience something extraordinary.

Visiting Telluride for the first time in 2010, Elitza Mladenova, who hails from Sofia, Bulgaria, planned to stay for a week. She ended up staying for three months.  Telluride was the first place that felt like home since leaving Bulgaria. To Elitza, “home is a feeling” and she was drawn to the amazing people in the community. She kept visiting Telluride and in 2013 her dream of moving here became a reality. She made many friends and “couch surfed” for a time, while remaining positive about finding a place to live. She was able to rent a small cabin from friends and is pleased with her housing situation. Elitza is an architect at Studio Frank, and enjoys skiing and hiking.

Sofiya Marcheva-Aedo, who is from Sliven, Bulgaria, was in Norway when she saw a postcard of Telluride’s Pacific Avenue and was amazed that such beauty existed in the United States. The following summer, in 2004, she arrived in Telluride where she began working at Clark’s Market as a cashier. She lived at the Village Court Apartments and then Shandoka. With the uncertainty of the rental market, and having to move often with a small child and another on the way, Sofiya and her husband decided to purchase a home. With the help of Realtor Teddy Errico, and the Telluride Association of Realtors’ (TAR) First Time Homebuyers Assistance Fund (FTHBAF), Sofiya and her husband were able to purchase a deed restricted home. They made a lot of sacrifices to be able to afford the home, but believe it is worth it in order to own their own home. Sofiya loves her job as a teller at Alpine Bank.

After a beautiful summer in Nantucket, Vasilka Dimitrova and her husband, both from Bulgaria, decided to explore the United States. They ended up in Telluride and are thrilled to be a part of the gorgeous town and community. As a photographer, she is happy to have the majestic San Juan Mountains as her background. She and her husband have struggled to find affordable housing, but feel fortunate to have housing that they love.

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