A Look at Breck’s History

Most people know the town of Breckenridge for its scenic views and amazing skiing.  However, Breckenridge also has a rich history that most are unaware of. In fact, Breckenridge didn’t start out as a town at all, but rather a base camp for the gold miners of the Blue River.  In 1859 it was established as a town and soon after the infamous Gold Pan Saloon opened- a bar that still operates on Breckenridge’s Main Street. In total, there are still 350 historic structures still standing in the small town, making it the largest historic district in the state.breck train

Transportation to and from the base camp became reliable in 1882 when railroad tracks were laid on what is now Boreas Pass Road. Visitors can still catch glimpses of the railway if they stop on 189 Boreas Pass Road. Two boxcars, a coal tender, and a rotary snowplow have all made home at this historic park.

Tourists and locals alike who have eaten at Summit County’s Pug Ryan’s Brewery may not be aware of the rich history behind this name. Pug Ryan was actually a gang member in the late 1800’s. After a robbery of the Denver Hotel in 1898, a shootout occurred in which all of Pug’s gang were killed except for Pug himself.  In 1908, Breckenridge school children found the treasure near the town. The treasure included the gold watch of the Denver Hotel owner.

breck buildingIn 1942, all dredge mining in the town of Breckenridge halted.  A replica of one of the dredges can be found on Jefferson Avenue in the form of “The Dredge Restaurant.” Soon after, the population of the small town started to decline and many residents feared Breckenridge would soon become a ghost town. However, in 1961 Breckenridge Ski Resort open and tourism skyrocketed. Today, the resort and town are one of the most popular tourism destinations in the country.

The next time you are planning an adventure trip with AVA, take a moment to walk the streets of Breckenridge and take in the rich history. Make the most of your Breckenridge stay by visiting these historic sites and learning more about how the town came to be.


Photo Source: GoBreck