Breckenridge, Co. was formally created in November 1859 by General George E. Spencer. Spencer chose the name "Breckinridge" after the United States' Vice President of the time, John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky in the hopes of flattering the government and gaining a post office. Spencer succeeded in his plan and a post office was built in Breckinridge, it was the first post office between the Continental Divide and Salt Lake City, UT.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, the 40-year-old former vice president sided with the Confederates (as a brigadier general) and the pro-Union citizens of Breckinridge decided to change the town's name. The first "i" was changed to an "e" and the town's name has been spelled Breckenridge ever since.
Prospectors entered what is now Summit County during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush of 1859. Breckinridge was founded to serve the miners working rich placer gold deposits discovered along Georgia Gulch. Placer gold mining was soon joined by hard rock mining, as prospectors followed the gold to its source veins in the hills. Gold in some upper gravel benches north of the Blue River was recovered by hydraulic mining. Gold production decreased in the late 1800s, but revived in 1908 by gold dredging operations along the Blue River and Swan River. The Breckenridge mining district is credited with production of about one million troy ounces of gold.
The gold mines around Breckenridge are shut down now although some are open to visits. The characteristic gravel ridges left by the gold dredges can still be seen along the Blue River and Snake River, and the remains of a dredge are still afloat in a pond off the Swan River.
Whether you go for the masses of wildflowers in summer or the snow sports of winter, definitely be sure to bring your camera.
Region: Northwest Regional Information
Proximity to other towns: Located 65.3 miles from Boulder, 7.3 miles from Frisco, 9.8 miles from Dillon, 10.5 miles from Keystone, 10.8 miles from Silverthorne
Elevation: 9600 feet
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