Breckenridge Colorado History Trivia
Unlike most other Colorado ski "towns", Breckenridge dates its founding to long before the first rope tow opened back in New England in 1936. In fact...:
- Breckenridge was first settled in 1859 following the discovery of gold in the Blue River, which still runs through the middle of town. The Dredge Bar & Restaurant is an authentic piece of mining equipment from the 1800s. Make sure to visit some of the historic mining shacks still located on the hill while skiing at Breckenridge!
- The largest gold nugget ever found in North America was discovered in Breckenridge Colorado on July 3, 1887 by a man named Tom Groves. The single nugget weighed 151 oz. and was about the size of an adult human head. It was dubbed "Tom's Baby" because Mr. Groves paraded it around town like a new-born child. Whatever happened to the nugget is still one of Breckenridge's great mysteries.
- Like most mining towns of the era, Breckenridge was not the most pious of communities. Drinking, gambling, and prostitution were rampant. Father Dryer established a local parish, determined to set the town straight. When he refused to stop ringing his church bells and waking up the hungover residents of Breckenridge, the townspeople used dynamite mining caps to blow up his church steeple. No more bell.
- The Gold Pan Saloon was one of the first businesses of its kind in town and is still in operation today, making it the oldest continuously operating saloon west of the Mississippi River.
- Breckenridge got its name when the town wanted a post office. The townspeople thought they could increase their odds of getting one if they named their town after the nation's Vice President at the time, John Breckinridge. The idea worked and Breckinridge got its post office. But when civil war broke out in 1864, John Breckinridge sided with the south and the pro-Union citizens of Breckinridge wanted the town's name changed. The solution was easy: change an i to an e, and it's been Breckenridge ever since.
- Today the gold rush is over but the powder rush is running strong! Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek, and Keystone are operated under common ownership, making lift tickets at these resorts one of the best values in the industry!
To learn more, visit any one of the dozens of the historical museums and mines in Breckenridge. Or just read the back of the menu at your favorite Breckenridge restaurant, the chances are that the building that you are sitting in dates back to the late 1800s!