Hello, lovely readers! A week before last Saturday, Mother and I visited South Park City in Fairplay, Colorado. Father, Georgia and Chrissa went hiking.
South Park City is a restored 1880's mining town. Seven of it's thirty-five buildings are original to the site, while the others were moved from other old mining towns in the surrounding area. Leon H. Snyder, the man who first had the idea, thought that if all the historic mining buildings were moved into one spot, they could be better protected against fire and vandalism. Also, the public could better enjoy the rich history. After two summers of hard work, over 40,000 donations of period-correct items, South Park City opened to the public in 1959, precisely 100 years after the first gold find in Tarryall Creek.
We were sad to miss the Annual Living History Celebration, which occurred this weekend. But now we're back in hot, sticky Florida.
On the tour guide map, there are 42 stops. Let's get started, shall we?
*Remember - the text is below the picture it applies to, and not all 42 stops have their own picture.*
#1. The Father Dyer Memorial Chapel. (You can see Fairplay on the other side of the fence).
Father John Dyer was a Methodist circuit rider, so he preached wherever he could find an audience. To compensate for his low pay as a minister, he as worked as a mail carrier. He was called "The Snowshoe Itinerant", for in Colorado, snow is ever-present.
#2 is a smokehouse, where they smoked meat to preserve it for the long winter months. ~Building Original To Site~
#3. South Park Brewery. Where beer used to be produced. Now, in the basement there is a cool collection of arrowheads from the Ute Native Americans, some mini mining dioramas, and a educational video about the history of South Park.
Upstairs, they show what looks like a very fancy house, with some posed mannequins, old dollhouses, and beautiful china.
#4. Rache's Place, a saloon. Slightly disturbing.
#5. Pioneer Home. This house was furnished with items from actually South Park pioneer families. Do you see that bedspread? It was hand-crocheted!
Here you can see some of the china dishware in the house's dinning room. ~Building Original To Site~
A wooden sidewalk passed in front of the buildings.
#6. Summer Saloon. Two saloons in one town! ~BOTS~
#7. Garo Cabin. This building was resorted to hold all the equipment a pioneer woman would need to clean and fix her family's wardrobe.
#8. Park City Court House. This was originally in the mining town Buckskin Joe, which used to be the county seat.
#9. Assay Office. Where a miner could find out the value and grade of his silver or gold ore. That was fun to look around in.
#10. Alma Queen "Mine". This reconstruction of hard rock mine was lovely and safe because it was only around twelve feet deep. You then turned right and went up a few stairs to walk back out into sunshine. This picture was taken at the top of the stairs.
#11. Head House. This small "locker room" was were miners could dry off their wet clothes in between shifts. It was also there to discourage stealing from the mine, as an overseer would stand in close watch as the miners changed from mining into street clothes. If a miner was caught trying to slip a gold nugget from his pocket to street clothes, he would immediately loose his job and the other mines in the area would be advised not to give him a job. It wasn't really worth the risk.
#12. Gallows Frame. This is where a bucket could be lowered down into the mine to be loaded with ore.
#13. Mining Mill. Where the gold was extracted form the ore by use of a crushing mill, stamp mill, and other equipment.
#14. Burro Room. The burro, or mule, was vital to miners bringing heavy materials over the mountains.
#15. Transportation Shed. This is where early vehicles were kept. In this picture, you can see a sled that used to go dashing through the snow . . . ~BOTS~
#16. Wagon Barn. Where a rare Abbot-Dawning & Co. Mud Wagon and a camp wagon (think early RV) are displayed. ~BOTS~
#17. South Park City Depot. A train station that holds artifacts from the three railroads that served South Park City.
#18. Narrow Gauge Train. This locomotive is a basic model of the trains used by Denver South Park and Pacific Railroad.
#19. Trapper's Cabin.
After the caboose, we took a break for lunch. We had our tickets stamped so we could come back in afterwards.
When we came back in, we walked all the way back up main street to start on the other side.
#21. Rost Barn. This was a small barn where cows were kept.
#22. Homestead. This reminded me of the Little House series. It was what a early pioneer family would have lived in, and had only two rooms.
#23. Star Livery. Another small barn, but instead of cows this housed horses and rigs. You could either board a horse here or rent one.
#24. Stage Barn. A large barn where stage teams were cared for while their owners ate at the Stage Coach Inn.
#25. Stage Coach Inn. Travelers could enjoy a hot meal and warm bed as a intermission to a long journey west.
#26. Hoffman Bros. Blacksmith Shop. In mining towns, blacksmiths were vital. They were the only ones who could make and fix mining equipment. Some mines employed their own blacksmiths.
#27. Diorama Building. This building held mining dioramas created by Hank Gentsch.
#28. School House. This cheery red building used to sit in Garo.
#29. Morgue and Carpenter Shop. The town carpenter's primary work was coffins, as mining took lives as well as the fact that children would often die young back then.
#30. Sumner Collection. A vast variety of items from Native American to Victorian times, collected by Mr. and Mrs. Lawson Sumner.
#31. Barbershop. Where miners had their hair cut.
#32. Dentist Office. Victorian age decorating and utensils. Slightly frightening.
#33. Covered Well. A luxury to have near one's home or business.
#34. Ranger Station. Moved from some isolated area. Early Forest Rangers were self-sufficient and rugged men.
#35. Mayer Home. This house was owned by Colonel Frank Mayer, a author, Civil War soldier, and buffalo hunter. One of the rooms held his guns, and two elk heads were mounted on the kitchen walls. ~BOTS~
#36. Doctor's Office. Here you can see the traveling doctor's kit - that huge saw was used for amputation.
#37. South Park Sentinel. Similar to many found in early mining towns, the newspaper office was fully functional.
#38. Simpkin's General Store. Any need or whim of the 19th century community could be met in this two-story general store. I wouldn't mind shopping there myself!
#39. Old Lodge Hall. A Masonic lodge.
#40. Bank of Alma. This bank was the scene of a dramatic holdup in 1935, and contains many of the same features it did then.
#41. J.A. Merriam Drug Store. This was like a combined ice cream parlor and CVS (or Wallgreens, if you prefer). They even sold a product called "cureall", which was claimed to be able to cure any disease.
#42. Company Store. The end of the tour, of course, held a gift shop.
I had so much fun exploring this old mining town!
What's your favorite part of history?