Branson is a Statutory Town in Las Animas County, Colorado, United States. The population was 77 at the 2000 census. It is the southernmost town in the state of Colorado, located just 0.30 miles (0.48 km) from the New Mexico border. Branson is located 35 miles east of Trinidad, Colorado, on State Highway 389, in the Great Plains, as well in the Black Mesa area, the town is surrounded by mesa. It is a ranching community today. Farming in the area was severely impacted by the dust bowl. Branson is much smaller than it once was in more optimistic days and features some picturesque abandoned buildings. The town was first known as Wilson, or Wilson Switch; then as Coloflats. A post office was established in 1915, and its name was changed to Branson in 1918. The town is named after Josiah F. Branson who platted the town on his land. The town was incorporated in 1921. Branson is located north of a break in the mesas which separate Southeast Colorado from Northwest New Mexico, the route of a minor branch of the Santa Fe Trail. It was founded near a switch, Wilson Switch, of the Denver, Texas, and Fort Worth Railroad, now the Colorado and Southern Railway. A depot was built in 1918. Despite being unsuitable for farming, many homesteaders attempted dryland farming in the early 20th century. In good years there were bountiful harvests of grain and in the 1920s the town boasted 1000 people and 3 grain elevators as well as facilities such as a bank and a newspaper. After the drought and dust bowl of the 1930s population decreased rapidly as the economy turned from farming to ranching.