Is a Colorado vacation in your future? The 38th state is known for its gold mining and wild west history, and the town of Breckenridge in the north-central part of the state is full of such stories. A Breckenridge trip doesn't just have to be about all the opportunities to play in the snow or explore the wilderness, it's also a great place for history buffs. If you're looking for a place to stay in Breckenridge, make sure to contact Breckenridge Vacation Rentals for information on one of our great properties. Many of the town's historic structures are easily within reach from Breckenridge Vacation Rentals.
Before American settlers came upon the area where Breckenridge now sits, it was the summer hunting grounds of the Native White River and Middle Park Ute tribes. The occasional trader and trapper could also be found roaming the area, but Breckenridge did not spring up until the gold rush took hold.
The town of Breckenridge found its beginnings in 1859 around a base camp looking for gold in the Blue River. The base camp no longer exists in the present day, but over 350 other historic structures do, which makes Breckenridge the largest historical town in the state. In the same year of 1859, the Gold Pan Saloon sprang up to serve the miners and the saloon is not only still there on 103 N. Main Street, but it is still in operation as well. It is now the longest operating saloon west of the Mississippi. In 1860, a post office was granted and built and following that came stores and hotels. Breckenridge became the seat of Summit County, something it still holds today. However, thanks in part to the Civil War, the town's population was reduced to only 51 by 1870.
Then, in 1882, railroad services came to Breckenridge, bringing the population back up. Visitors on a Breckenridge trip can view the remnants at Denver, Leadville & Gunnison Railway Park. Original rail cars and old boxcars are preserved at the park. In 1887, a 13.5 pound gold nugget was found in Breckenridge and given the name "Tom's Baby." The nugget can be seen at the Colorado Museum of Natural History in Denver, another place you might want to visit on your Colorado vacation.
In 1909, money from mining was enough to build a brick K-12 schoolhouse that even contained an indoor pool. The building still stands in the present, now containing the Speakeasy Theater and the Colorado Mountain College. In 1945, World War II caused all metal to be turned over for the war effort and Breckenridge's Dredge Boat mining came to an end. At the base of Peak 9 is Maggie's Pond and the place where the effort stopped. In 1947, the Country Boy Mine closed after a flood. It had been in operation since 1887, mining gold, silver, zinc and lead. The mine is now open to visitors with underground tours and gold panning. World War II brought another period of silence to Breckenridge as the population was reduced to 254 people. Around this time, the town suffered continuous destruction of historic structures for a variety of reasons. Despite coming near ghost town status, it never quite reached that point, continuing to operate as a small town until the ski industry revived it.
That happened in 1961 when the Breckenridge Ski Area was opened by a Kansas lumber company called Rounds and Porter. Improvements to the transportation system were made and a revival in the form of recreation came to Breckenridge. In 1973, the Eisenhower Tunnel was finished on I-70, which reduced the driving time from Denver to one and a half hours. Soon vacationers were flocking to Breckenridge for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, fishing, golfing and more. The original Breckenridge Ski Area was primarily on Peak 8, but in half a century or so, has expanded to include Peak 9 and 10 in the south and Peak 7 and 6 in the northwest part of the town.Your Colorado vacation may start in Denver, but a Breckenridge trip is a must to really experience the history of the state. Call Breckenridge Vacation Rentals today to find a property and get started exploring the history of Breckenridge.