The name says it all, although perhaps it should be called Telluride Free Boxes to more accurately reflect how this outdoor giveaway rack looks these days.
It began sometime in the mid-1970s, back when Telluride was simply a small mountain town, with a definite hippie and New Age influence to it. People in Telluride who had some item they no longer needed might drop it off in the Free Box, “A Telluride Tradition.”
People who like free things would browse the Free Box and take things they wanted.
It’s still that simple. Somehow this tradition has endured in these much more upscale, high-class, resort days.
Most of the items in the Free Box are clothing and small housewares, but you never know what you might find. The last time we visited, we noticed a very used climbing harness had been donated. Buyer (or in this case, donee) beware. At the end of the ski season, you’re especially likely to find some true treasures, however, as the ski crowd departs until the snows fly again. The Telluride Daily Planet reported watching someone drop off (and someone else quickly snatch up) a huge Sony flat-screen TV.
The Free Box has its downside, as well. At times, it becomes a hangout for people whose behavior could be described as undesirable, or it simply becomes a free place to dump junk that no one wants.
Still, don’t you just have to check out this Telluride icon when you learn that the annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival includes a Free Box Fashion Show, where models showcase clothing from the Free Box?
And after you visit the Free Box, you can take the Free Gondola up to Mountain Village!
Look for the Free Box on North Pine, just off of Colorado Avenue (Main Street).