Volume I No. I

Fairplay, Colorado


Our Mission Statement:

To acquire, refurbish, and interpret artifacts and historic structures unique to a 19th century Colorado mining town; and to maintain exhibits that best represent to visitors the typical personal and professional lifestyles of that period.

1957-2007 Celebrating 50 Years of South Park City

From the President:
By Harley Hamilton

Welcome to the first edition of our South Park City Newsletter!

Our ambitious goal is to keep you up to date on our progress with the many new restoration projects and special events that are planned for our visitors.

The major project going on now is the expansion and organization of our mining exhibit. Architectural plans have been completed for the redesign of the exterior of the present building to make it look more like a mill. Interior and exterior exhibits have been planned for better interpretation and interactive setting. Cost is estimated to be over $350,000 and we are pursuing some major grants to defray the cost.

Four of our railroad cars have been restored with more work to be done to the caboose, the engine, tender steamlines and controls and help is needed to rebuild the end sill on one of the platforms. If you can help us on any of these projects, please contact our museumís office.

In the next newsletter I will talk about additional projects such as the restoration of the historic South Park Brewery building.

Creation of South Park City.
Summary by Harley Hamilton

The idea was conceived in 1957 by Leon Snyder, an attorney from Colorado Springs.

He contacted other individuals who where concerned about the neglect and vandalism that was taking their toll on the remains of the local mining era. They organized the South Park Historical Foundation that year and purchased the area of Fairplay now called South Park City.

"South Park City" was the name of the town from 1869 to 1874 prior to the name being changed to Fairplay by territorial legislature.

During 1957 and 1958 historic buildings from the county were moved to the site and added to the six existing buildings, those being the South Park Brewery, the Sumner Saloon, the Pioneer Home, the Mayer House, the Transportation Shed and the Smoke House.

In addition to the structures, the families of Park County embraced the historic preservation idea and contributed roughly 40,000 items.

In 1959, 100 years from the first Gold find in Park County at Tarryall Creek, north of the later founded town of Como, South Park City was opened to the public. During the ensuing years other buildings have been moved to South Park City.

Currently there are 43 buildings and structures and over 60,000 artifacts that portray the economic and social aspects of an 1860 to 1890ís mining town.

A Town is Born- The Story of South Park City.

"Where the Air is thin,
And the Wind blows free,
And the mountains touch the Sky,
A Town was Born."

116 Pages, Softbound, over 93 photos, drawings and maps.

This is the story of each building at South Park City, where it came from and how it was moved to its present location. This is the story of Mr. Leon Snyderís dream. Through his dynamic personality and leadership South Park City became a reality and celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2007. "A town is born" should be a part of your library to share with your family and friends. They all will want to visit South Park City in 2007, which is an authentic recreation of a 19th Century Colorado Mining town home in 20th Century Fairplay, South Park, Colorado.

"I know there is no other town like this anywhere", EJ."Gene"Amitrani, author.

A treasury for your own library or order this book now for family and friends!

Send a check for $7.50 plus $6.00 for shipping/ handling/ tax to:

South Park City Museum
P.O. Box 634
Fairplay, CO 80440

From the  Director:
By Carol Davis

From time to time, during the normal course of operations, South Park City is presented with opportunities to serve as a venue for special events. Two such opportunities presented themselves this year.

On June 29, students from the Skidmore College Field School, who have been working with the South Park Archaeology Project, introduced visitors and townspeople in the Visitor Center lobby to an exhibit entitled "Archaeology in the Park." In order to help guests learn about the lives of Native Peoples in South Park through recent discoveries, each student prepared a poster display concerning some phase of archaeological field work, lab work or research. The students remained on hand throughout the duration of the exhibition to answer questions about their displays, their particular fields of interest and the South Park Archaeology Project itself, which has been on-going for several years under the direction of project manager, Ed Friedman, of St. Michaels, Maryland. The exhibition was an unqualified success, and we look forward to providing a base for future classes to strut their stuff.

On July 22, the Visitor Center lobby became the scene of a reception and book-signing for local author, Annie Monsen.  Just released, Annie's first book for adult readers, "Dear Leland" chronicles some of the ups and downs of her colorful and eventful life. The book is spiritually uplifting, shot through with Annie's inimitable brand of humor and a testimony to her "can-do" attitude.

Annie and her husband, Chuck, are long-time supporters of South Park City, so it was a pleasure to have them host this event.

South Park City Building Renovation and New Exhibit to be open by 2007
by Russ Peterson

Changes to the mining building are in process and the plans for a new exhibit about the mining technology of the era have been approved.

The new exhibits will tell the story of mining in the area around Fairplay from the 1850s through the early 1900s. Artifacts of each type of mining will be the focus of over ten exhibits.

Each exhibit will be highlighted with video segments, sound and light bursts, original photographs and illustrations of the town and its inhabitants with a wide array of tactile objects, all to encourage the visitor to discover the detail of the period and its implications for life today.

Our goals is to have the new exhibit completed by the summer of 2007. If any of our members or readers are interested in supporting this exciting design process please contact the museumís office.

A plan for the new building can be observed in the lobby of the visitor center.

Eeyore was the "Star" on Living History Day
By Linda Bjorklund 

Saturday, Aug.19, 2006  volunteers dressed up in their 1880ís garb and took to Front Street in Fairplay to relive the history of the mining town. There were dance hall girls, pharmacists, gold miners, blacksmiths, caballeros on horseback, a singing troubadour, a railroad engineer, a liveryman, a lady artist and others in pioneer dress.

And next to the Stage Stop Inn grazing, in the corral rebuilt for the occasion a burro. Eeyore, owned by Luby and Susan Jones, exhibited a true nature of the burro. He was ever ready for the petting amply offered by museumís patrons- kids and adults alike- and once in a while offered his distintive bray that asserted that he was there and indeed owned the place.

When rain started late in afternoon, Eeyore promptly trotted into the adjacent barn and looked out at the silly people getting wet.

Father Dyer and South Park City
Story & summary by Bernie Nagy

John Lewis Dyer a circuit riding Methodist minister from Minnesota arrived in Colorado by foot to fulfill his dream of following the Gold rush to Pikes Peak. In 1883 he received the orders in Denver to take on a new circuit in Park City-Alma, Fairplay and Leadville. John Dyer was already 50 years old when he brought the Gospel into the wilderness and mining camps. He preached in clearings, homes, mining sites and saloons and railed against common activities like gambling, dancing and drinking. He married, buried, aptized, exhorted and served the people in the High Country for over 29 years. 

When short of money he carried the mail with his burro or walked in the snow on his hand made skis over the 13,188 foot Mosquito Pass to Leadville and returned to Alma defying death with every delivery.

John Lewis Dyer lived an extra ordinary life and became a legend. He died in 1901 and was selected as one of Colorado's founding fathers to be honored in a stained glass window beneath the gold leaved Capitol dome.

In 1867 Rev. J. Dyer moved a small log building from the town of Montgomery to  Fairplay. In 1981 the 2 story high log building was incorporated into the South Park City Museum.

On August 13, 1983 the building was dedicated as the Father Dyer Memorial Chapel.

There is a inspiring feeling as one leaves the chapel to overlook historic South Park City,  Fairplay and beautiful South Park, Colorado.

"I made a pair of snowshoes. They where Norwegian style skis from 9-11 feet in height and run well when the snow was right but heavy when they gathered snow. I carried a pole to jar the sticking snow off."

"I started alone for Buckskin Joe. At timber height, I was met by a severe snowstorm. The prospect was frightful. I prayed and dedicated myself to God. I never saw Death and Eternity so near as then. I resolved to keep moving, and when I could go no more, would hang up my carpet- sack and write on a smooth pine tree my own epitaph- "LOOK FOR ME IN HEAVEN" from Snow Shoe Itinerate by John Lewis Dyer


Ron Hill and Judy Wright promoted South Park City at Hartsel Day and the Fairplay Fall Music Fest

Judy and Ron guided visitors from the Littleton area through South Park City. Photo by Ron Hill.

Pictured from left: Dave Manning, Jim Hopkins, Karen Cody-Hopkins, Sue Zloth, Judith Wright, Sue Fraley.


Our smithy and wagon master is in desperate need of Old Wagon wheels in sizes 36", 38" and 48" for restorations of museum buggies and wagons. If you would like to donate one or more wheels in good condition, or have friends you know who have wagon wheels to donate, please let us`know. Weíll be glad to pick them up within close to our Museum's site. Your donation is tax deductible & very much appreciated. Please contact the museumís office.


"Professional Piano Repair" person wanted to help us with repairing our non- working player piano at Racheís Saloon.

"Professional Sign Painter" needed to help us with lettering and producing small signs throughout the museumís compound.

"Handy Man" wanted to volunteer for our spring spruce up on various museums projects.

Please contact our museum's office.

The South Park City Sentinel Newsletter© is published quarterly and mailed free to active members and is available at the museums office.

Photography by Bernie Nagy - nagybernd@yahoo.com