CURRENT PRESERVATION PROJECTS
For more information about any of our preservation and interpretation projects, please contact Larissa.
Sallie Barber Mine Stabilization
The BHA, in cooperation with Summit County and Town of Breckenridge open space departments, will begin repairs at the Sallie Barber Mine site late October 2020. Stabilization efforts will focus on the mine's ore bin, which is in poor condition and at risk of further deterioration. The BHA will reinforce the structure and add limited siding and roofing materials to protect the popular historic landmark through the winter. Users may encounter limited vehicular traffic on Sallie Barber Road during repairs.
Prospectors discovered the Sallie Barber Mine in 1881. By the turn of the century, the mine was one of the area's first and most substantial producers of zinc -- just as zinc ore came under heavy national demand for the first time as a manufacturing material. Several Colorado mining areas proved to be principal suppliers; the Breckenridge region as well as Leadville were among the first. In some areas, the profits realized from zinc mining became equal in proportion to silver and gold. The Sallie Barber changed ownership several times and like many area mines, went through times of production and multiple closures. The last owners operated the mine through the 1940s. In 2005 Summit County and the Town of Breckenridge jointly purchased approximately 1840 acres including the Sallie Barber road and mine to preserve as public open space.
Milne Park Restoration & Adaptive Re-use
The BHA envisions Alice G. Milne Park as a destination that engages people in the park’s history, welcomes many different public and private uses, and serves as a gathering place for locals and visitors. BHA completed a three-year-long planning process that resulted in a master plan for the park. Click here for the planning study that will guide future uses and preservation treatments.
Starting in summer 2020, BHA will begin a phased preservation project to restore historic fabric on the Milne and Eberlein homes, preserve the historic newspaper collection in Milne House, tell the story of the Eberlein family in the "original tiny house" and give the buildings new uses to meet BHA and community needs.
In May 2018, the BHA completed an interpretive plan to guide future programs, displays and virtual tours related to the history of Breckenridge from 1950s to the present. Click here for a copy of the interpretive plan.
As part of the Modern Breckenridge project, the BHA has initiated an oral history program to document the stories of long-time Breckenridge locals. Click here for more information on the oral history project and to listen to the recordings.
Currently, BHA is working on design for a new Modern Breckenridge exhibit in the Breckenridge Welcome Center Museum. The exhibit will focus on the transition of Breckenridge from mining town to world-class resort. Installation is anticipated for early 2021.
Breckenridge Welcome Center Museum Remodel
Two new Welcome Center Museum exhibits will be installed in spring 2020!
The first, Travel Back in Time to 1888 is a virtual reality experience that places the visitor on Main Street with a 360 view of Breckenridge during the mining era. The free, five-minute experience is led by Edwin Carter, 1880s Breckenridge resident and taxidermist. It will be available via head set in the museum during BHA open hours (temporarily unavailable) or via the Timelooper app anytime of day or night. The second exhibit, Time is a River, will allow users to explore Breckenridge history - from the growth of the Rocky Mountains to mining to Breckenridge Ski Resort history - via an interactive timeline array. Choose your own path as you explore Breckenridge then and now.
Washington Mill Exhibit
After extensive work on the Washington Mine site in 2008 to create an interpretive site for tours and gold panning, we are expanding the exhibits on the display. Long-time volunteers Rick Hague and Rich Skovlin led the development of a new, one-of-a-kind outdoor exhibit about ore processing. The focal point of the display is a restored stamp mill from the National Mining Museum and Hall of Fame in Leadville. The mill is up and will be ready for visitors when we open the the site for summer 2020. Phase 2 of the project will be in summer 2021 and will include a walkway to the stamp mill and interpretive signs describing what each piece of machinery did to process ore.
The Keystone Drill, discovered in Como in 2018, was used by dredge boat king Ben Stanley Revett in the late 1800s to test gold content at bedrock. The drill helped gold dredge boat operators determine the most profitable path for the dredge to go. In summer 2019, BHA moved the drill from Como to Country Boy Mine in Breckenridge, where it's currently on display in summer months. In partnership with Country Boy Mine, BHA plans to build a shelter for the drill, develop interpretive signs, and identify long-term preservation strategies for this one-of-a-kind artifact.
Lincoln is located approximately three miles east of Breckenridge on French Gulch Road and began as a placer miners’ camp in 1860 but quickly evolved into one of the earliest mining towns on the west side of the Continental Divide. Although Lincoln was never formally platted or otherwise organized as a community, it remained a cohesive entity through four mining booms and busts over the course of 50 years. At its peak in the 1880s, it was home to approximately 250 residents.
The site has been identified as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The BHA completed an Historic Structure Assessment (HSA) in 2016 and an Archaeological Assessment in 2018 with funding from the State Historical Fund and the Town of Breckenridge. Future preservation and interpretation work is slated for 2021 and beyond.
Breckenridge Sawmill Museum
The Wakefield Sawmill on Boreas Pass Road was built in about 1938 by Marion Wakefield and operated until the fall of 1959. "Wakey", as he was known to locals during that period, came west from St. Louis during the Depression with his wife Zella. He worked as a carpenter on the construction of the Green Mountain Reservoir and built the sawmill in the late 1930s. He also attempted to develop some small mines on the site. The mill closed down in 1959, shortly before Wakefield’s death.
The BHA completed an outdoor sawmill display in 2015, now open as a self-guided tour year round. Phase two of the museum is currently underway. In the future, an indoor museum exhibit and steam engine display will further explore the history of sawmills in Summit County and include displays highlighting the ins and outs of sawmill operations to tell the story of the vital (but nearly forgotten) role sawmills played in our history.
Courtesy Dr. Sandra F. Mather Archives and Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, John Topolnicki Sr. Photograph Collection
Courtesy Dr. Sandra F. Mather Archives and Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, John Topolnicki Sr. Photograph Collection
COMPLETED PRESERVATION PROJECTS
Reiling Gold Dredge
Built in 1908, the Reiling Gold Dredge was the eighth dredge used to mine gold-bearing ground in the Breckenridge area. Until 1922, when it sank in a small pond in French Gulch, the Reiling Dredge moved up and down French Creek extracting gold from the bedrock.
In February 2015, the Reiling Dredge was nominated to Colorado Preservation Inc.'s Endangered Places List. The program builds awareness of important historic sites that are at risk of being lost. Click here to a view a short video.
Throughout 2015, the BHA managed a hydrology study of the Reiling Dredge pond to better understand how the dredge pond water level fluctuates, how water fills the pond/the water source and whether the pond level can ultimately be raised or lowered. In addition, portions of the dredge deck were cleaned of debris and fallen dredge timbers were inventoried, pulled from the pond and stacked on the deck.
With funding from the State Historical Fund, the Town of Breckenridge and Summit County Government, the BHA stabilized portions of the dredge deck and superstructure in 2018. The project consisted of: 1) repairing portions of the dredge deck; 2) bracing and repairing the standing columns at the stern; 3) bracing/strengthening the standing columns at mid ship; and 4) re-erecting the starboard ladder well framing and bracing between port and starboard sides.
Outdoor Artifact Displays
The BHA initiated a new program in 2015 to install artifacts in outdoor locations for public enjoyment and appreciation of our local history.
The first artifact display, a sheave (pronounced “shiv”), is located at Prospector Park on the 100 block of North Main Street in Breckenridge. A sheave acted like a giant pulley for underground mines, lowering miners and their equipment and hauling out ore from vertical mine shafts. An interpretive sign accompanies the sheave display.
Alice G Milne Park Improvements
In 2015, the BHA began a series of improvements at Milne Park, including tree removal and pruning, fence repair, interpretive signs and a new park entrance and sign. Improvements completed in 2016 with additional walkways, gardens, regraded lawn and a rock wall seating area.
Jessie Mine & Mill
The BHA assessed the structural integrity of the mill in 2012, and then undertook a stabilization effort in 2013 using winches, cabling and wooden bracing to bring the mill back to near plumb. Recently, they completed capping the stamp mill bases, treating the wood and improving drainage around the site.
Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center
The Town of Breckenridge and Summit County collaborated to renovate the 1909 Breckenridge Schoolhouse, located at 103 South Harris Street. The new Breckenridge Grand Vacations & Community Center and Summit County South Branch Library opened to the public on January 10, 2015.
The BHA installed new “bookend” historic district signs in 2011 and street sign “toppers” in 2013. Contributing structures in the district may receive a free historic district plaque from the BHA to be placed on or near the structure. Email us for information on this program for eligible buildings.
High Line Railroad Playground
In the summer of 2015, the BHA completed work on interpretive enhancements to the park, including the addition of a caboose and flat car along with interpretive signs, a model railroad in the cabin and diorama exhibits in the caboose and boxcar.
The BHA was awarded space in the new Breckenridge GVCC for an updated archives facility! It will give a home to many historic documents, maps, and artifacts that deserve proper storage and to be available for research and display. This facility is primarily for paper archives but includes a few spaces for smaller artifacts.
Klack Placer Cabin
The Klack Placer Cabin, built in 1878, is one of the last nineteenth century, one-story log cabins left in the Town of Breckenridge and was showing signs of deterioration. Recognizing a unique opportunity to protect the Klack Cabin, the BHA found locals and businesses to sponsors volunteer materials and labor to save the building.
Washington Mine Interpretive Site
In July 2008, renovations were completed on the Washington Mine site. In addition to shoring up infrastructure, the tipple (the point where ore carts deposited mined materials into waiting wagons below) and head frame (which provided the sheave and pulley system to lower men and materials into the mine) were rebuilt.
Edwin Carter Museum Rehabilitation
The BHA oversaw a complete overhaul of the 1875 Edwin Carter Museum in 2008 and 2009. New exhibits trace the evolution of Carter's life as a miner, taxidermist, and scientist and explain how, in 1900, his amazing collection of Rocky Mountain fauna came to serve as the nucleus collection for today's Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Welcome Home Engine No. 9
During the summer and fall of 2010, the BHA constructed an open-air shelter to house Engine No. 9--an icon of Colorado’s narrow-gauge railroad heritage in the late 1800s and early 20th century. Today’s visiting public will see Engine No. 9 in the same context as when it operated – within 30 feet of the original High Line track that came into Breckenridge from Boreas Pass.
In 2011, the BHA installed eight interpretive signs in French Gulch along the B&B, Minnie Mine and X10U8 trails, which pass through Breckenridge’s fabled Golden Horseshoe - one of Colorado’s most fertile mining regions. In 2013, the BHA completed six additional signs located on Town and Summit County trails as well as within the Town of Breckenridge.
Valley Brook Cemetery
The BHA, on behalf of the Town, received a Certified Local Government grant in 2013 to nominate the cemetery to the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery was officially listed on the register in July 2014. Regular maintenance and monument conservation continues to be a priority.
The walls of rock on south Ridge Street are all that remain of the dipping station in the Gold Pan Mining Company’s world-class machine shops. The BHA led a multi-year effort to stabilize the dipping station from 2008-2014, removing debris and plant material, re-mortaring loose stones and installing a public walkway and interpretive sign. The dipping station is located on Ridge Street across from today’s La Cima Mall parking lot.
Mine Site Inventory & Cultural Resource Survey
From 2002 to 2007, Mountain States Historical recorded more than 80 mine sites in the Breckenridge area to document mine site features, archaeology and other historical information. Click here to access these inventories on the Mather Archives website.
The Town of Breckenridge, from 2000-2018, completed cultural resource surveys for buildings in the historic district. The surveys include historical and architectural information for each building and note whether the building contributes to the Historic District. Click here to access these surveys on the Mather Archives website.