RICO – First-time novelist, Patrick Curran has recently completed a historical novel set in neighboring Rico and the Colorado Plateau during the 1960s.
The Curran family has a four-generation history in the Telluride-Rico region, where many of Curran’s ancestors working in the mining industry. The author’s grandparents were married in St. Patrick’s Church and his father Jack was mayor of Rico in the 1970s. His mother, Rhea, also a longtime resident of Rico, sparked his interest in researching a mysterious “acid plant incident” that occurred sometime during the 1960s and prior to his parents arrival into the town.
It became Curran’s quest to find out what happened, a half-century ago. From articles archived by numerous regional newspapers to historical photographs from local, regional, and state private and public collections, and finally, from personal interviews with people involved with the Rico acid plant incident and the Widows of Cove from the Navajo Nation, Curran was able to weave a tale.
Historically, and from an economic standpoint, Rico was fortunate to have an abundance of the ores needed in the World War II fighting effort, although, by the 1950s, it had become a struggling company town.
To extract sulfuric acid from the hundreds of tons of iron pyrite located in the mountains around Rico, a sulfuric acid plant was built in Rico; the extraction was trucked over Lizard Head Pass to the uranium mill in Uravan, and used to process weapons-grade uranium.
For the citizens of Rico, the consequences of such an acid plant would be disastrous for all life forms, property, and the environment.
Acid Reign tells the story of the conflict between capitalism on the one hand and frontier justice as meted out by Eco-Outlaws Johnny, Roy and the Widows of Cove.
Curran will sign copies of his book at Between the Covers Bookstore, 224 W. Colorado, Sunday, July 24, 4:30-6 p.m.