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Breckenridge was founded in 1859, when gold was discovered in the surrounding hills. For the next several decades the town's fortunes rose and fell as its lodes of gold and silver were discovered and exhausted. Throughout the latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, Breckenridge was famous as a mining camp that "turned out more gold with less work than any camp in Colorado," according to the Denver Post. Dredging gold out of the rivers continued until World War II. Visitors today can still see evidence of the gold-dredging operations in the surrounding streams.
At 9,603 feet above sea level and surrounded by higher peaks, Breckenridge is the oldest continuously occupied town on the western slope. The town was originally dubbed Breckinridge, but the spelling was changed after its namesake, a former U.S. vice president, became a Confederate brigadier general in the Civil War. Due to an error by a cartographer, Breckenridge wasn't included on the official U.S. map until 1936, when the error was discovered by a member of the Breckenridge Women's Club.
Much of the town's architectural legacy from the mining era remains, so you'll find stores occupying authentic Victorian storefronts, restaurants, and bed-and-breakfasts in Victorian homes. Surrounding the town's historic core, condos and hotels are packed into the woods and along the roads threading the mountainsides toward the base of the Peak 8.
Breckenridge at a Glance
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