Black and white photo of Breckenridge Historic Main Street
Black and white photo of Breckenridge Historic Main Street

Breckenridge Historic Timeline

Breckenridge’s rich and colorful history is full of gold finds and mining, exploration and adventure, brothels, saloons, booms and busts. Founded in 1859 by a small group of prospectors, the town’s Gold Rush brought droves of settlers seeking their fortunes. Though not all found gold, each discovered the beauty of the Tenmile Range and the bounty of surrounding mountain landscape. The desire to live in this beautiful landscape still hasn’t changed to this day, but there has been plenty of history between the early mining days and now. Here is the Breckenridge Historic Timeline.

Breckenridge Historic Timeline:

1800 – 1899

1859 – Breckenridge founded — gold discovered along the Blue River
1860 – Breckenridge builds a post office and town population reaches 75-100. The town’s first stagecoach arrives
1861 – Town changes its spelling to BreckENridge after former U.S. Vice President namesake becomes a Confederate Brigadier General in the Civil War
1870 – Hydraulic Placer Mine introduced
1879 – Father Dyer “The Itinerant Preacher” starts his church
1880 – Gold-mining boom time and Breckenridge established its historic fire department during a raging forest fire that threatened to destroy the town
1882 – South Park and Pacific Railroads constructed a Breckenridge depot with rail service to Breckenridge over Boreas Pass
1887“Tom’s Baby” — a 13.5-pound gold nugget discovered near Breckenridge

Tom's Baby statue commemorating a significant moment in the Breckenridge Historic Timeline.

Tom’s Baby statue, commemorating a significant moment in the Breckenridge Historic Timeline.

1889 – Breckenridge population exploded to number in the 1000s
1898 – Pug Ryan and his gang held up Breckenridge’s elaborate Denver Hotel. It snowed in Breckenridge for 79 days straight, forcing townspeople to build snow tunnels to get around town

1900 – 1999

1900 – Phones and electricity introduced to town. The Denver Times describes Breckenridge as “a camp that has turned out more gold with less work than any camp in Colorado.”
1936 – “Kingdom of Breckenridge” first included in US Map
1942 – World War II forces the end of the dredging industry
1960 – Breckenridge population dwindles to 393
1961 – Breckenridge Ski Area opens Peak 8
1963 – First “Ullr Dag” festival celebrated in Breckenridge, now known as Ullr Fest
1971 – Peak 9 opens
1973 – Eisenhower Tunnel completed on Interstate 70
1981 – Historic structures entered as a National Register Historic District
1985 – Peak 10 opens
1990 – Breckenridge population builds to 1,285
1993 – Riverwalk Center and Peak 7 opens
1999 – Breckenridge population jumps to 2,399

2000 – Present

2001 – Breckenridge Golf Club opens 9 new holes for a total of 27 holes — all Jack Nicklaus-designed (Only such course in country)
2003 – Breckenridge population swells to 3,182
2004 – Barney Ford House Museum opens
2005 – Breckenridge Ski Resort opens the Imperial Express chairlift — the highest lift in North America at 12,840 feet
2007 – Grand opening of the BreckConnect Gondola, directly linking the town and the ski resort
2013 – Breckenridge Ski Resort opens Peak 6, increasing the resort’s skiable acreage by 23%

By Breck Editorial
The Breckenridge Tourism Office works to enhance and promote the unique character and experience of Breckenridge as a world-renowned destination resort and to represent, serve and perpetuate the common interest and character of its membership and community.
downtown Breckenridge at dusk
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