Breckenridge Timeline

Gold Discovered

Gold is discovered along the Blue River on August 10th and the first mining camp, Fort Mary B., is established.

Town Founded

The new town of Breck"in"ridge is founded in November.

Post Arrives

Breckinridge secures a post office. The first stage coach arrives in town.

Hydraulic Mining

The more efficient process of hydraulic mining - using water under high pressure to excavate gold - begins in Breckenridge.

Father Dyer

Father Dryer, "the snowshoe itinerant preacher" begins his preaching circuit to the area's mining camps. He travels on 12-foot long wooden skis!

Center of Summit

Breckenridge becomes the Summit County Seat, after records are removed from Parkville in Georgia Gulch (the first county seat).

Breckenridge Navy

"Captain" Sam Adams founds the Breckenridge Navy in an effort to find a water route from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. He leads four boats on an ill-fated adventure down the blue River to the Grand River (Colorado River) before misfortune ends the excursion.

Population Decline

The population of Breckenridge plummets to 51.


Edwin Carter, the miner-turned-naturalist, opens his museum in his log-cabin home. Carter is in expert taxidermist and collects Rocky Mountain animal specimens to preserve and display.

Silver Mining

The silver hard-rock mining boom comes to Breckenridge.


Breckenridge is formally incorporated with a mayor and town board. The populations peaks at 1,657 in July and the town boasts two dance-halls, ten hotels, and eighteen saloons. The famous Denver Hotel is built.

Fire Department

The Breckenridge Fire Department is formed in response to the threat of a major fire in the town built primarily of logs and wood.

Barney Ford

Barney Ford, an escaped slave, becomes Breckenridge;s first black businessman when he opens Ford's Restaurant and Chop Stand.

Rail Service Arrives

Breckenridge secures a depot site for the Denver, South Park, and Pacific Railroads, bringing rail service to the community. With the increased transportation, the town adds three newspapers, a schoolhouse, and a cemetery.

Tom's Baby

A piece of gold, named Tom's Baby, is found in a mine outside Breckenridge. Weighing 13.5 pounds, it is believed to be the single largest piece of crystallized wire gold ever found in Colorado.

Electricity Arrives

Electricity is introduced to Breckenridge.

Record Snow

A record snowfall hits Breckenridge and residents are forced to dig tunnels through the snow to get around town. After a 78 day blockade, rail service resumes on April 24th.

Dredge Boats

Gold dredging boats begin operating in the waterways around Breckenridge.

Pug Ryan

Notorious Pug Ryan and his gang hold up Breckenridge's Denver Hotel.

Telephone Arrives

The Colorado Telephone Service provides phone service to Breckenridge.

Carter's Collection

Edwin Carter, a local taxidermist, passes away. His collection of 3,300 Rocky Mountain specimens is sold and becomes the foundation of today's Denver Museum of Natural History.

Red Brick School

A large and stately red brick schoolhouse is built on Harris Street for grades K-12. It boasts pressed-tin ceilings and an indoor swimming pool.

The Courthouse

Construction is completed on the Summit County Courthouse. The local masons lay the cornerstone on July 31th.

Done Dredging

The last dredge boat ceases operations in the Breckenridge area on October 12th.

Ghost Town

With no major mining operations in the area, the population dwindles to approximately 295. These hardy souls prevent Breckenridge from becoming another mining ghost town.

White Gold

With prosperous mining days long gone by, the economic rebirth of the town begins with the opening of the Breckenridge Ski Area on Peak 8.


The town celebrates the first Ullr Dag, now known as Ullr Fest, honoring the Norse god of snow.

Peak 9

The Breckenridge Ski Area opens Peak 9.

Eisenhower Tunnel

The Eisenhower bore of the Eisenhower and Johnson Tunnels opens on Interstate 70, significantly decreasing the travel time from Denver to Breckenridge.

Historic District

The Breckenridge Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, highlighting the town's unique identity and heritage.

Reclaim Blue River

The Town of Breckenridge embarks on the Blue River Reclamation Project; a massive project to restore the natural landscape devastated by invasive mining practices.

Peak 10

The Breckenridge Ski Area opens Peak 10.

Riverwalk Center

The Riverwalk Center, a performing arts center, opens in town and becomes a popular destination for locals and visitors in the summer season.

Peak 7

The Breckenridge Ski Area opens Peak 7.

Arts District

The Town establishes the Breckenridge Arts District, embracing local culture; past and present.

Honoring Ford

After extensive restoration, the Barney Ford House Museum opens to the public and becomes an educational and cultural town resource.

Welcome to Breck

The Breckenridge Welcome Center opens to the public and the year-round population reaches 3,335.

Heritage Alliance

The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance is founded in December and strives to preserve and promote the unique history of the town.


The BreckConnect Gondola begins operation, directly linking downtown tot he base of the ski area.

Honoring Carter

The Edwin Carter Museum re-opens in May after a major rehabilitation project. The new museum honors the life, work, and legacy of this miner, naturalist, and taxidermist.


The town of Breckenridge celebrates its 150th anniversary with events all year.

Engine No. 9

After a major restoration, the locomotive Engine No. 9 returns to Summit County and is placed on public display.

50th Birthday

The Breckenridge Ski Area celebrates its 50th birthday and honors its heritage as the first Colorado ski town.