In recognition of Breckenridge's commitment to preserve natural resources and historic assets by utilizing design standards and development codes, the Town has been designated as a "Preserve America Community."
Naturally, with one of Colorado's largest National Register Historic Districts, the charm and value of Breckenridge real estate are deeply tied to her unique history and the strong commitment. As the community seeks to explore and enjoy a rich heritage of Breckenridge's Vctorian architecture, relics, chronologies, and tall tales, the value of Breckenridge real estate and her popularity continue to grow.
Preserve America is a cooperative White House initiative involving numerous branches and agencies such as the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Transportation; the U.S. General Services Administration; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.
Approximately $5 million from the 2007 federal budget is available for 2007 Preserve America Grants. These funds are awarded to designated Preserve America Communities who demonstrate sustainable uses of historic and cultural sites along with economic and educational opportunities related to heritage tourism. The town is currently finalizing a heritage tourism strategic plan to guide the management, protection, and promotion of the community’s historic sites and has created printed guides to historic structures in the Victorian-era downtown and adjacent residential areas.
The booms, busts, and adventures in this area make for great camping stories. Once the summer hunting grounds of nomadic Ute tribes, the town was actually founded by a prospecting company in 1859 and named for the family of President James Buchanan’s vice president, John Breckinridge. As the county seat, and later an important hard rock mining location and supply center, the area’s gold-dredging boats worked the valley floor until 1942. In 1961, a Kansas lumber company opened a ski area that has transformed into a world-class ski resort.
Ongoing educational efforts of the Summit Historical Society provide tours through some of the historic attractions such as the Barney Ford House Museum. It commemorates around the life of escaped slave Barney L. Ford who prospered as a prominent entrepreneur and black civil rights pioneer in Colorado. The museum includes fascinating information about the role of blacks in Colorado history.
A second great tour is of the Edwin Carter Museum dedicated to a local pioneer and famous “log cabin naturalist,” who in the late 1800’s was so concerned about the impact of mining on the local environment that he devoted his life to collecting specimens and documenting wildlife in the area. His work became instrumental in the creation of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
The Rotary Snowplow Park commemorates the “High Line” narrow-gauge railroad route. On display are a huge, rare rotary snowplow, its tender, a boxcar, a windmill, and an interpretive cabin. Historic mining sites outside the town limits are being surveyed and documented in an effort to protect important mine sites, mill sites, prospecting sites, and settlement sites that are central to the town’s heritage.
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