Part II








Breckenridge a Brief History.

Breckenridge In the Nineteenth Century

Breckenridge, a Developing Mining Town
The amenities and activities of Breckenridge were very much conditioned by the necessities of the growing mining community that had settled there in search of gold. Within a couple of years a post office, shops, hotels, saloons emerged to sustain and entertain the small mining community. The mining activities of individual prospectors here were not destined to continue for long. Already there was a decline in mining activity in the mid 1860s. This decline came about as it became increasingly difficult for the individual prospector to discover gold with the limited means at his disposal. With this decline came a corresponding exodus from the town, both of miners and the business that depended on their support.

However, this decline, like the gold rush before it, was also short lived. A renewed impetus to the mining industry came when hydraulic mining was introduced towards the end of the 1860s. Small time mining was now definitively supplanted by big industry. The industry developed rapidly following the discovery of silver and lead carbonates in the surrounding hills and there followed a steady influx of people. This resulted, in the 1880s, in a better quality of life; quality buildings replaced the original inexpensive sites hurriedly created in the early 1860s. New houses, a church, a school and bank were built and commercial enterprises flourished. The church was built by the Methodist preacher John Lewis Dyer. The buildings were mainly made of timber because of the natural resources of the area.

The continued development of the town was assured with the arrival of the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad in 1882. This was the most important single event that put an end to the town's isolation. The arrival of the railway meant a significant boom in the population of this small town, unlike other towns nearby that continued to decline.

Two unfortunate incidents are recorded in the history of Breckenridge. As buildings were mainly of timber they were obviously vulnerable to fire. In 1884 a fire devastated both Main Street and Ridge Street. The other was the robbery in the Denver Hotel in Main Street. August 11, 1898 Pug Ryan and his gang of thugs relieved everyone inside of their precious belongings. When two deputies found them later taking refuge in an isolated cabin they resisted arrest and shot the two deputies who had confronted them. In 1908 children discovered those stolen possessions near Breckenridge.


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