Monday, August 10, 2009

Breckenridge 150

The Breckenridge area is said to have been inhabited by Nomadic White River and Middle Park Ute Native Americans during the summers prior to the mining era. By the 1840's there was some evidence of trappers, traders, and a few mountain men. The Pike's Peak Gold Rush sparked the true beginnings of the town as miners headed to the area to try and strike it rich. Breckenridge was founded by a prospecting company in November of 1859.

The town began to develop and buildings began to pop up - post office, stores, etc. However, due to the lack of abundance in gold many miners consolidated their operations and there was a sharp decrease in the town's population. In the late 1870's the population began to grow again as miners returned this time in search of silver. A town government was formed in 1880 and a 320 acre grid was laid for the infrastructure of the town.

In 1887 the largest gold nugget to date (13 lbs.) was discovered in the state of Colorado. It was found near Breckenridge and once again the search for gold was renewed. With the turn of the century came the popularity of dredging boats, which would comb the floor of river valleys in search for gold. This continued until post world war II when the dredging ceased leaving behind upheaved land and ruined vegetation.

The Breckenridge ski area was opened in 1961 by a Kansas lumber company. In 1973, the Eisenhower tunnel was completed increasing the accessibility to and from Denver and opening the doors for winter recreation possibilities. During its first year the Breckenridge ski area had 17,000 skier visits. In the 2008-2009 year there were 1.63 million skier visits recorded.

This weekend Breckenridge hosted its 15o year anniversary celebration. The weekend was filled with guided tours, a time capsule ceremony (was sealed 100 years ago and opened this weekend), contests, and fireworks.

Just a little bit of history on the place I call home. For more information on the town's history click here.

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