Experience the magic of Breckenridge, Colorado! At one time called "Breckinridge" with an "i", Breckenridge, spelled with an "e" became the official name in 1961.
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Breckenridge, Colorado- History Laden with Gold
Breckenridge History and Tourism Information.

There's Gold Up in Them Hills.
From a small mountain community captivated by the prospects of gold to a world renowned Colorado ski resort and vacation destination, the establishment of Breckenridge through the mining years provided many interconnected trails in the surrounding mountains. This trail system now serves avid cross-country skiers, snowshoers, mountain bikers, hikers and nature lovers and is widely used by locals and visitors alike. Breckenridge continues to carve its own history.

Breckenridge in 1859
The story of Breckenridge began back in the summer of 1859. Miners discovered gold along the Blue River near Breckenridge, Colorado. The discovery led to a small community. While none of this base camp remains today, Breckenridge does contain more than 350 historic structures, making it the largest historic district in the state of Colorado. Along with these structures, the infamous Gold Pan Saloon was established as a rough-and-ready bar for the miners. Today, the Gold Pan is still in business at 103 North Main Street in Breckenridge and stands proud as the oldest continuously operated bar West of the Mississippi.

From "Breckinridge" to "Breckenridge"
The town of Breckenridge was formally created in November 1859 by General George E. Spencer. Spencer chose the name Breckinridge after the United States' Vice President of the time, John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, in the hopes of flattering the government and gaining a post office. Spencer succeeded in his plan and a post office was built in Breckinridge. It was the first post office between the Continental Divide and Salt Lake City, UT.

However, when the Civil War broke out in 1861, the 40-year-old former vice president sided with the Confederates (as a brigadier general) and the pro-Union citizens of Breckinridge decided to change the town's name. The second i was changed to an e, and the town's name has been spelled Breckenridge ever since.

Breckenridge in 1879-
Father John L. Dyer, the "Snowshoe Itinerant Preacher," founded his Methodist church in Breckenridge. Dyer spends winters on his twelve-foot-long wooden skis, traveling between mining camps to preach. The church he founded is located at 310 Wellington and still holds services today.

Breckenridge in 1882-
The railroad arrived in Breckenridge. South Park & Pacific Railroad Company laid rail tracks over what is current day Boreas Pass Road. Today visitors can view original narrow gauge rail cars, including a rotary snowplow, a coal tender and two boxcars, at the Denver, Leadville & Gunnison Railway Park located at 189 Boreas Pass Road. Boreas Pass Road also provides splendid snowshoeing & mountain biking trails with panoramic views of the town of Breckenridge & the Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Breckenridge in 1887-
"Tom's Baby" a 13.5 pound gold nugget was discovered near Breckenridge by local miners Tom Graves and Harry Lytton. Tom's Baby is now on display at the Colorado Museum of Natural History in Denver.

Breckenridge in 1898-
"The Big Snow" came to Breckenridge. Snow fell everyday from November through February forcing residents to dig tunnels to travel through town and stopping all trains from visiting Breckenridge for months.

The Barney Ford Family
Barney & Julia Lancelot Ford were two runaway slaves who lived in Breckenridge in the late 1880's. Barney was successful in mining in his early days in Breckenridge, but was bilked of his fortune by his lawyers who took advantage of the fact that African Americans were unable to own property in Colorado at the time. Barney and Julia didn't accept this fate, however. Instead, they worked to guarantee rights for African-Americans in the Colorado Constitution and returned to Breckenridge to gain a new fortune running the upscale Denver Hotel and Ford's Chop House. Visitors can see the couple's historic home at 225 South Main Street in Breckenridge.

Breckenridge in 1908-
School children discovered Pug Ryan's treasure near Breckenridge. Pug Ryan and his gang robbed the Denver Hotel in Breckenridge in 1898, making off with considerable loot. The robbery resulted in a shoot-out and the death of all the gang members except Pug who escaped--never to return to claim his prize. The found treasure included the gold watch of the Denver Hotel's owner.

Breckenridge in 1909-
Mining era money funded the building of the stately brick K-12 schoolhouse, complete with an indoor swimming pool and pressed-tin ceilings. Today, the building is inhabited by Colorado Mountain College and Speakeasy Theatre and is located at 103 South Harris Street.

Breckenridge in 1942-
Dredge Boat mining came to a halt after more than 40 years when World War II required all metal be melted down for the war effort. Today visitors can view where the progress stopped at Maggie Pond at the Base of Peak 9 or eat on a reproduced dredge at The Dredge Restaurant located at 108 Jefferson Avenue.

Breckenridge in 1945-
The Country Boy Mine ceased operation after a flood. Developed in 1887 and utilized through the years as a gold, silver, lead and zinc mine, today the mine is open to visitors and provides guided underground tours, gold panning and a view into the past.

Breckenridge in 1960-
Breckenridge continued as the Summit County seat, but the population dips to 393 and town members fear the area will soon be a ghost town.

Breckenridge in July 27, 1961-
Rounds and Porter Lumber Company of Wichita, Kansas were issued a permit for a new ski area in Breckenridge. Tapping into a new "vein" of winter sports, the ski area ensured the continuation of the town and the area's history.

Breckenridge in December 16, 1961-
The Breckenridge Ski Area officially opened with one Heron double chairlift and a short T-bar. Almost 17,000 skier visits were recorded that first season, despite the fact that Interstate 70 was still not complete to Summit County.

Breckenridge in 1971-
Peak 9 opened with two double chairs and 12 trails. Skier visits for the 1971-72 totaled 221,000, compared to 17,000 during the 1961-62 season.

Breckenridge in 1978-
Colorado's first alpine slide began operation on Peak 8.

Breckenridge in 1981-
Breckenridge installed the world's first high-speed quad chairlift on Peak 9. The lift, capable of transporting 2,800 skiers per hour, started the industry's high-speed quad revolution.

Breckenridge in 1984-
Breckenridge became Colorado's first major resort to allow snowboarding.

Breckenridge in 1985-
Breckenridge's third interconnected mountain, Peak 10, opened and the resort hosted the world's first Snowboarding World Cup.

Breckenridge in 1993-
Peak 7, the ski area's fourth interconnected mountain, opened for hiking access and glade skiing.

Breckenridge in 1997-
Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort merged with Vail and Beaver Creek to form Vail Resorts, the largest mountain resort company in North America at the time.

Breckenridge in 1998-
$18 million is invested into on-mountain improvements, including two new high-speed quads--the most in the resort's 37-year history.

Breckenridge in 1999-
Another $14 million invested included construction of Ten Mile Station on Peak 9. Breckenridge celebrated being the country's most popular ski resort that season with a record 1,392,242 skier visits.

Breckenridge in 1999-2000-
The country's highest-capacity lift and first double-loading six-passenger chairlift, the Quicksilver Super6 opened at Breckenridge, replacing the world's first high-speed quad. For a second straight year, Breckenridge was the most-visited resort in the U.S., tabulating 1,441,000 skier visits.

Breckenridge in 2002-
Breckenridge increased intermediate terrain by 30 percent with the Peak 7 expansion, adding seven new trails and the six-person Independence Super Chair. The new Peak 8 Super Connect transports visitors from Peak 9 to Peak 8 with incredible speed.

Breckenridge in 2005-
Breckenridge Ski Resort constructed the Imperial Express SuperChair. The Imperial Express Superchair is the highest high-speed quad in North America, reaching an elevation of 12,840 feet and transporting skiers and riders to the top of Breckenridge’s challenging Peak 8. The Imperial Express Superchair accesses some of Breckenridge’s most amazing intermediate and expert terrain in just under two minutes.

Breckenridge in 2006
Breckenridge built new Gondola which allows access from the parking lots in the town of Breckenridge to base of Peak 7 & 8. Breckenridge added more terrain to its already massive mountain. With the addition of the new "Snow White" terrain, Breckenridge increases its skiable terrain by 150 acres.

The Future of Breckenridge
Breckenridge continues to push the boundaries of what a perfect mountain town can be. With an already impressive variety of amenities, Breckenridge will continue to write its own history laden in golden memories.

To begin planning your golden vacation to Breckenridge visit our Breckenridge Planning Guide.

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