South Park City

As we drove into Fairplay we noticed what looked like a collection of old buildings and mining equipment.  It was South Park City (SPC) and a full afternoon of photography only scratched the surface of the history and lifestyle of Colorado's early mining days displayed at SPC.

There are 35 original buildings on the site.  In 1957, the South Park Historical Foundation was organized and the decision was made to put buildings and artifacts on the outskirts of Fairplay, one of the few surviving mining camps.

When I walked in my first reaction was, "Wow!  This could be a fun adventure.  There were interpretive signs everywhere.

The only item that is new here is the fire extinguisher.  Many mining towns were gutted by raging fires and so one of the considerations in restoring a mining camp was that it be placed in an area where it could be protected by fire and police services.

With the page opened to the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy.

Old and tattered.  Still a treasure.  The interpretive sign pointed out that the settlers used newspaper to insulate their walls.  That can be seen in many of the buildings.

You can still read the legal notices on this newspaper.

Tom and I think this is Rache's Place.  I did not go in this one.

There is a museum showing animals that used to be plentiful in the area.  Early Ute's used this area as their summer camp.  The valley is supplied with water from the North, Middle and South Forks of the South Platte River.  The lush vegetation provided for an abundance of game which drew trappers and hunters to the area even before gold was discovered and miners arrived.

There was a building that contained a good selection of dioramas (Tom loves them).  I tried taking a photo of one and it turned out horribly!  Enjoy his.

This is the saloon.  My guess is that the pink is a faded red.

Taxidermy must have been a thriving business.  It was seen in private homes, the bank . . . everywhere but the laundry!

In the bar.

A private side room where gambling could take place.

This is an old soda fountain machine.  You can still read the names of the different flavors.  The machine is quite exquisite.  It must have cost a fortune.

Families in the area were fully supportive of the development of SPC.  They searched their attics, basements, and barns for anything that would be an appropriate representation of the late 1800's in the area.  They came up with approximately 40,000 items!!!

As an herbalist I recognized many of these medicines:  Blue Flag, Calamus, and Cardamom.  Not sure how effective Dr. Miles Tonic was, however.

The machine on the left still has its keys stuck!

The machine on the left still has its keys stuck!

Bank's teller window.

General merchandise store.

I really worked hard at getting this photograph.  Most of the exhibits were enclosed with glass and sometimes the reflections from the windows made it really tough.  In case you are on a small screen, the sign says' "A Study in Cause . . . Effect.  Don't judge a corset by its face.  Look on the other side and insist on having the seams run around the body.  This is an exclusive feature of Thompson's Glove Fitting Corsets."  The other sign warns users NOT to use pins on their corsets as doing so will void the corset's warranty!

Tobacco on the bottom and mercerized thread on top.

On the second shelf there was a HUGE rat trap along with poisons that were guaranteed to get rid of the pesky rodents.  Top shelf had fishing supplies.

Doctor's office.  There was a diplay which I did not get o good photo of showing obstetrical 'tools'.  Nothing much has changed there!  They looked almost exactly the same as what is used today.

There was a restored Forest Ranger's cabin.  This was posted in the small office.

Back room or living quarters of the Forest Ranger's cabin.  A small table was just to the right.

Forest Ranger's office.  This was the only image that required exposure blending.  The top of the table was covered with a fine leather.

Yes, that is me in the mirror inside the shop.

Room with tons of carpentry tools, each one carefully labeled.

One room schoolhouse.  The rope was used to ring the school's bell and just about every kid visiting SPC would stand outside and ring it over and over and over.

I loved the comment on the blackboard.  I was not aware that God had his own 'rule' or that metric was a foreign scheme!

I thought the Stage Stop was one of the most interesting buildings.  Here, guests would stay overnight to continue on their journey the next day.

A large dining room would have fed the traveling guests and possibly the stage hands.  Luggage of the time is shown beneath the steps.  Upstairs there were two guest rooms.

In a corner of the Stage Stop.

In a corner of the Stage Stop.

A closer look at some well worn luggage.

This was the nicer of the two upstairs guest rooms.  She must have been a 'special' guest.

A barn for the stage horses.

These wooden pipes were used to carry water!

The arrastra was a primitive ore crusher designed to have a mule move a heavy rock around in a circle such as this on top of gravel to crush it for further processing.

You can get up into the locomotive.  Kids loved it.

Assayers office.

A precursor of today's laundromat.  I was fascinated by the different kinds of irons.  Some were even heated with a small gasoline run heater.  Scary!

If you look along the right wall you see what I took as an attempt to create an assembly line for doing laundry.  Could have been useful for taking in miner's laundry.

If you look along the right wall you see what I took as an attempt to create an assembly line for doing laundry.  Could have been useful for taking in miner's laundry.

Found in the Homestead House..

Whew!  If you have made it to the end of this virtual tour of SPC . . . well congratulations!!