What's New in South Park City?

The South Park Brewery (originally the Summer’s Brewery) is the town’s largest and most impressive structure and houses the “Bayou Salado” exhibit. It is a three story building, constructed of native red sandstone. The rock was quarried from the vicinity of Red Hill Pass. One enters the brewery through a rustic doorway, then down a flight of narrow wooden steps to the basement of the ice room. Here, a short slide show, accompanied by narration and music, portrays the history of South Park and its residents. The script is derived partly from diaries, biographies and newspaper quotations. it offers a very interesting and dramatic presentation.

Summer Brewery Needs Work.

The original Summer Brewery in South Park City, later Fairplay, was a log structure built by Leonhard Summer who came from a family of beer brewers. When the log brewery burned down in the 1870s Leonhard built the sandstone structure that we have now from rock that was quarried nearby. South Park Lager Beer was a very popular item and Leonhard built the Summer Saloon as a retail outlet for his beer, which he also distributed in the area.

The whole country fell on hard times during those years and Leonhard went broke several times. The first few times he recovered and resumed business, but in the early 1900s he became despondent and took his own life.

After that the brewery was used to house the town's newspaper printing house and then sat empty for a number of years. In 1957 a number of history conscious people, led by Leonard Snyder, decided that the brewery would make a good focal point for a museum that tells what the 1880s mining era was like.

Over the years the building has deteriorated and a Historic Structure Assessment points out that the foundation needs repairs and the electrical wiring needs to be updated. Grants have been applied for, but most of them require a 25% or more match in funds. The Board of Directors has established a Brewery Fund for that purpose.

The museum would greatly appreciate any donation for the very worthy project of repairing the Summer Brewery.

Newly restored horse drawn road grader made by the Western Wheeled Scraper Company, Aurora, Illinois, c.1900  You can see this grader and many other examples of historic horse drawn wagons and carriages in our Transportation Shed, Tour Stop 15.

Hugh Williams putting the finishing touches on the newly restored road grader,  September 2011

Charlie and Barb Abel, The Woolly Bear Trading Company, have been saving history one carriage at a time for over 20 years.  They recently completed one of our buggies, bringing it back to its original glory.  You can see this and many other examples of historic horse drawn wagons and carriages in our Transportation Shed, Tour Stop 15.

We have changed the Tour Route.  You really can't miss it.  There is a new board walk to lead the way.  The "new and improved" Tour Route will allow our many visitors to tour our buildings without having to backtrack.  We know "change is hard" but often for the better.

It's official!  Our newly constructed hard rock mine is now and forever more the "Alma Queen".  A more fitting name could not be found to recognize Alma's rich mining heritage.  Come and experience the dark and sometimes dangerous life of a hard rock miner.

The Mining Display is a grand new addition to the historic Museum grounds in 2009.

“It was a big job- but now it’s done” said South Park City Historical Foundation’s President. After receiving several grants totaling more than $100,000, Harley Hamilton went to work and designed the initial layout for the new Mining display. Architect Neil Katz from Colorado Springs did the final plan to be approved by the town and in summer of 2008 work began with excavating the mining shaft and pouring concrete walls.

Ray Butler a local Fairplay builder who is also experienced in mining construction was the general contractor. Ray has completed several other building construction projects here in South Park City during the past four years. This phase of the Mining exhibit restoration and repair project was for all the outside exhibits, such as: Recreation of a hard rock mine tunnel, extension of the mine car trestle, repair to the mine shaft head frame and cover, additions to the placer mining exhibit, new stairways and walkways. Further improvements to the mining building will follow with the arranging of pictorial and display exhibits on the inside when additional funding is secured.

“This is as close as a visitor can get to the real mining places. Historic South Park will give everyone a good inside view on the hard labor miners went through in the late 1800s to find precious metal in the hard rock”, mentioned Hamilton while inspecting and walking the grounds at the new exhibition area.

The Train and Caboose are handsomely repainted and restored to their original design, inside and outside.

When visiting South Park City check out our train and box cars that were repainted and re-lettered.  The caboose is a jewel with the inside restoration done by Dexter Jennings and his wife of Buena Vista, who volunteered their work. Everything is authentic including the colors, the canvas upholstery and the lettering. The outside of the caboose has its original name and number.
The red caboose was built by the Denver & Rio Grande Western in 1920 in their Alamosa shops and given number 0517. It was moved to South Park City in 1963 along with three other railroad cars. The engine was moved here to South Park City in 1966 and is a similar type (2-6-0 ) that was used on the Denver South Park & Pacific Railroad that ran from Como across Boreas Pass to Breckenridge, Fairplay, Alma Junction and points west. In addition, new siding was put on the depot and it was repainted.