If you click on the photo above, and all the photos in this post, you will see the quintessential beauty high country scenery of Park County, Colorado. I love this approximately 1,000 square mile 10,000 foot high, grassland valley basin, surrounded by high Rocky Mountain ranges.
The South Park Valley is filled with cattle and horse ranches.
I blogged about this area during the winter,when the ground was covered with snow. It was equally beautiful! You can read that post here. I'm curious as to which season you think is prettier?:
The Ute Indians were the early dwellers of this land, then hunters and trappers came in the 1840's but when gold was discovered in the mountains in the the 1850's many gold miners camps and towns sprang up in the valley.
Known today as the trout fishing capital of Colorado, South Park and the area around Fairplay were designated a National Heritage Area by the US Congress for its distinctive landscapes, historic structures, and recreational resources.
My husband and I were here to visit the town of Fairplay. Founded in 1859, Fairplay was named by settlers who were upset by the generous mining claims given to the earliest prospectors and promised a more equitable system for its residents. It now contains about 700 residents and consists of modern businesses along with a historic center.
It also contains an extraordinary museum with 40 historic buildings, called South Park City. It was created in the late 1950's by a group of citizens concerned that the old mining and ghost towns of Park County were being dismantled and destroyed, so they decided to save as many buildings as possible, move others to the area, and recreate a 1800's gold mine town. Buildings were brought in from the Mosquito Range, and Alma, Leavick, Buckskin and Montgomery.
The buildings showcase an array of period furnishings and equipment.
South Park City preserves the history of our nation's frontier days.
It is so interesting to walk around these preserved structures and feel transported back in time!
The museum even contains an engine and some cars from the Denver South Park and Pacific Railroad that once ran from Como across Boreas Pass to Breckenridge, Fairplay, Alma Junction and points west.
We went on a self tour of the museum that took us from building to building. Here is some of what we saw:
The log cabin styled church
A period home in town.
The early court house.
Replica of a gold mine
The one room school house.
A miners mountain cabin.
The stagecoach inn.
The general store and post office.
There was also a large display of western artifacts, period furniture, clothing and toys, and Indian hunting arrows and spear heads.
After our long, enjoyable visit to the South Park City Museum, we walked around the town of Fairplay to enjoy the sights there. The weather was changing and we knew a late afternoon thunderstorm was on the way, so we headed back east to our home.
Sure enough, this was the look back as we headed away from South Park The wide open sky and high elevations makes the storm look dramatic, doesn't it?
Located 85 miles out of Denver on Highway 285, 85 miles out of Colorado Springs on Highway 24, and 23 miles from Breckenridge on Highway 9, South Park Valley, Fairplay and the South Park City Museum are all beautiful and interesting sights to see in central Colorado!
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