Breckenridge is one of Colorado’s most historic towns, with the largest historic district in the state. With such a rich history, there is much to learn about this interesting town – read on for some fun facts about Breckenridge, dating all the way back to when the town was first founded in 1859.
Breckenridge was founded after gold was discovered on the Blue River, and settlers moved into the area in an attempt to find riches. Way back in 1859, the Gold Pan Saloon was the drinking hole of choice for all the gold miners, and it still stands today on the Breckenridge Main Street. The Gold Pan Saloon is one of the oldest running pubs in the country.
The Ghost of Sylvia
A famous Breckenridge community member is said to still haunt the Prospector Restaurant, formerly a boarding house. Sylvia, as she is known, was a miner’s widow who occupied a women’s boarding house on what is now Main Street. According to folk lore, Sylvia still roams the rooms of the old boarding house, now the Prospector Restaurant, and is said to show herself only to men in the hopes of finding a replacement for her dead husband.
The Carter Museum
The Edwin Carter Museum in Breckenridge is found on 111 Ridge Street, and hosts an impressive collection of animal and plant specimens. Many of these pieces come from the personal collection of Professor Edwin Carter, a well known Breckenridge local who was a naturalist. Carter eventually died from arsenic poisoning due to the chemicals he used while preserving his specimens.
One of the biggest nuggets of gold ever found in Colorado was discovered in Breckenridge in 1887, by a pair of local miners. Tom’s Baby, as it is known, is a 13.5 pound nugget of solid gold and is today on display at the Colorado Museum of Natural History in Denver.
In 1960, the population of Breckenridge dropped to less than 400 people, and it was feared that the town would disappear forever and become just another ghost town. Luckily, around this time a permit was issued to allow a new ski area to be created in Breckenridge – this was to prove to save the town.
Breckenridge local CJ (Crazy John) Mueller is thought of as the fastest skier on earth. He held three world records for speed skiing in the 1980s, often reaching speeds of greater than 100 mph on his speed skis.
Today, Breckenridge has close to 1,5 million ski visitors each year, making it a bustling winter sports community and one of the most-visited ski resorts in the United States.
Currently, the permanent population of Breckenridge is 3 535 people, all of which live within the 5.3 square miles of the town.
Colorado is famous for its sunshine, and Breckenridge is no exception – it receives around 300 days on sunshine each year.