August 12, 2011

Living History Days at South Park City Aug. 13-14
Homemade ice cream, biscuits; Faro games, gunfights, skits, musicians

By Laura Van Dusen


Bonita, the mama burro, and her two-week-old foal, Margarita, allow two young girls to get close during Living History Day in 2010. (Photo by Bernie Nagy/The Flume)

One of the more popular events of last summer expands to two days this year when Living History Days comes to South Park City this weekend, Aug. 13-14.

According to Cindy Huelsman, administrator of restored mining town South Park City, many events from years past are making a comeback, including gold panning, skits, quilters, a schoolmarm with students, and the ever-popular fighting between saloon girls.

There will be musicians strolling the street, Father Dyer preaching in the chapel, and mountain men and cowboys discussing the times with proper gentlemen and ladies.

But there is more. This year not only can one see how homemade ice cream and biscuits are made and how butter is churned, but free samples will be handed out to those who make their way to building No. 25, the Stage Coach Inn. The biscuits will be cooked in a Dutch oven over an open fire.

If a sample of homemade ice cream is just not enough, the J. A. Merriam Drug Store, building No. 41 at the east end of Front Street on the south side of the street, will be selling more than a sample for the price of $1.

Other old-time treats for sale this weekend are sarsaparilla, ginger beer, root beer and birch beer (all non-alcoholic) at Rache’s Place Saloon, building No 4, for $2 per bottle. And for gamblers tired of poker and blackjack, Paul Martin will be at Rache’s Place teaching the game of Faro.

According to The Legends of America website, the game of Faro originated in France in the 1700s, was popular throughout Europe in the 1700s and spread to America during the California gold rush of 1849. It was played in most saloons of the early West alongside the poker tables and was a favorite because of its fast action, easy rules and better odds for the player than most games of chance. Unfortunately for the player but because of the greater odds, most dealers learned easy ways to cheat so the house came out ahead. The majority of Faro halls were closed by 1925, but one operated until 1985 in Reno, Nevada.


A young boy helps with the washing during Living History Day in 2010. (Photo by Bernie Nagy/The Flume)

And one more will open for this weekend only in South Park City, Colorado.

Baby burro Margarita, who was two weeks old at last year’s Living History Day, is making a reappearance along with other burros, horses and the goats that have been acquired by South Park City to keep the grass and weeds from growing too high. Horse rides will be available toward the west end of the street near the Star Livery; building No. 23.

More than 50 actors and volunteers in period dress will be roaming the streets and buildings of South Park City on both Saturday and Sunday. Some will be in specific locations giving demonstrations of life skills of the late 19th century. Skits reenacting the days of the old West are scheduled every hour on the hour in different parts of South Park City. A schedule of events will be available at the entrance station.

In 1957 South Park City began to take shape as a recreated town of the late 1800s. The majority of the buildings were moved from abandoned ghost towns in the South Park area. Seven of the buildings are .at their original location on the west end of Front Street in Fairplay. The furnishings were donated from families in the county who searched attics, basements and barns to find authentic period items to place in the buildings. In 1959, exactly 100 years after gold was discovered in Park County, South Park City opened to the public.

Regular admission is $9 for adults and $4 for children 6- 12. A discount coupon can be printed from the website Children under 6 are free.