In 1859, the Gold Rush moved West and the industrious General George E. Spencer traveled to Denver in hopes of finding gold. Twenty-nine men and one lone woman left Denver to eventually descend into the Blue Valley. There they erected a small fort, calling it the Fort Mary B in honor of the first woman to cross the range. It soon became a boisterous mining camp. The leaders of the camp chose the name BreckINridge after the current Vice President of the United States in hopes it would get them a post office. The plan worked, but when Breckinridge left the Union to join the Confederate Army, the town changed the spelling to BreckENridge as the Colorado Territory was Union-allied.
In 1882 , the railroad arrived in Breckenridge. The winter of 1898 was especially harsh, snowing for nearly three months straight. Snowdrifts rose to 40 feet, and the town was isolated for 79 days. The snow reached rooftop levels, prompting businessmen to dig tunnels across Main Street for foot traffic.
Any mining town worth mentioning has a tale of the "big strike." In 1887, Tom Groves discovered the largest gold nugget ever found in Colorado. He took it into town, holding the 13.5 pound bundle in his arms, wrapped in a blanket, earning it the name "Tom's Baby". Three days later, he put it on a train to Denver, and its whereabouts remained a mystery for the next 85 years. It was found in 1972 when the Colorado State Historical Museum investigated gold specimens deposited in 1926 in a Denver Bank and found Tom's Baby, minus five pounds.
Mining supported Breckenridge at the dawn of the 20th century, but when the Second World War came around, the men needed to operate the river dredge boats went off to war. In the 1960s the development of snow skiing brought new life to the town. In December 1961, Rounds and Porter, a Wichita, Kansas, lumber company opened the Breckenridge Ski Area. In 1973, the Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70 was completed and the drive time from Denver was reduced to a manageable one and one half hours for Denverites wishing to go to the mountains to ski.
Breckenridge serves as the county seat and is a center of activity for Summit County. The sunning landscape, cultural heritage, authentic mining vernacular and Victorian atmosphere of Breckenridge real estate create a thriving community and premier year-round family resort that attracts both national and international visitors. With world class skiing, a continuous series of summer events and over 600 restaurants, galleries and services, Breckenridge looks to continued economic viability with the preservation of historic character into the future.
Summit County is in the top 1% of U.S. counties in personal income (2002), in adults with bachelor's degree or more.
Median Household Income: $43,938
Median Price Asked for Breckenridge Homes: $625,000