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Visiting South Park City

Last Friday, Javi and I planned to do some more hiking around Buena Vista but my cousin Andrew advised us to conserve our energy for our big climb on Saturday. Instead, we decide to drive to Fairplay, CO and visit an open-air museum for South Park City, another abandoned town but completely restored. It was one of the best museums I’ve been to – truly! South Park City was a mining town in the 19th century, and the town’s economy diversified enough so that when the mining boom ended the city still thrived for a few decades. Eventually, the city fell into disrepair until the early 20th century when an attorney from Colorado Springs took interest in the history of the town and set out to restore it. He moved representative period buildings from all over the area to one single space on the outskirts of Fairplay. Eventually through donations and fundraising the South Park Historical Foundation was able to purchase land, buildings and an inventory of relics from the 19th century to essentially create a fabulous, interactive museum. Some of the buildings are in their original spot, such as the pioneer house. Families from all over the area searched their attics and basements for artifacts and furnishings to donate to the museum, which resulted in a collection of over 40,000 items to fill the buildings. It’s remarkable how many items they recovered, from medicine bottles to cash registers to dentist tools. El Viernes, Javi y yo planeamos salir a caminar cerca de Buena Vista pero mi primo Andrew nos recomendo conservar energia para nuestra escalada el Sabado. Asi que en vez decidimos manejar camino a Fairplay, Colorado y visitar un museo al aire libre llamado South Park City, otro pueblo abandonado que ha sido reconstruido. Fue una de los mejores museos que he visitado – en serio! South Park City era un publito minero del siglo 19, y la economia del pueblo se diversifico lo suficiente que cuando el boom de la mineria colapso el pueblo se mantuvo vigente por algunas decadas. Eventualmente, la ciudad fue decayendo, hasta que a principios del siglo 20 un abogado de Colorado Springs se intereso en la historia del pueblo y se propuso restorarlo.  El movie edificios tipicos de la epoca de distintos lugares cercanos a Fair Play y los puso todos juntos en un terreno. Gracias a donaciones y eventos para generar fondos la fundacion Historica de South Park City pudo comprar este terreno, los edificios y el inventario de reliquias del siglo 19 que son el corazon de este fabuloso y interactivo museo. Familias de toda el area uscaron en sus aticos y subterraneos artefactos y muebles para donar al museo, lo que resulto en una coleccion de mas de 40,000 articulos que llenan los edificios. Es digno de destacar las cantidad de articulos recuperados, desde botellas de remedios a cajas registradoras a herramientas de dentistas.

There are currently 35 original buildings that make up the museum, and it’s very interactive. You can walk around each building, touch many of the artifacts, play the old pianos, climb on the engine of the train and tour the caboose – it’s paradise for historians and photographers. There’s an amazing old saloon, a chapel where you can sit in the pews or stand at the podium, restored houses, hotels, a bank, a pharmacy, a doctor’s office and dentist, a park ranger’s office, stables, several examples of different kinds of horse-drawn carts, wagons and carriages. It’s such an impressive and fun museum – we only anticipated spending an hour or so but we were there for close to three hours scouring the collection. Actualmente hay 35 edificios originales que hacen el museo, y es muy interactivo. Puedes camniar alrededor de los edificios, tocas algunos artefactos, tocar los pianos antiguos, subirse a la locomotora del tren y hacer un tour de las intalaciones – es un paraiso para historiadores y fotografos. Hay un salon de juegos antiguo que es increible, una iglesia donde te puedes entar en las bancas y subirte al podio, casa restauradas, hoteles, un banco, una farmacia, consultas de doctor y dentista, oficina de guarda bosque, establos, ejemplos de muchos tipos de carrozas, vagones y carruages. Es un museo impresionante – nosotros pensabamos estar ahi por mas o menos una hora pero al final terminamos dando vueltas por mas de 3 horas viendo la coleccion completa.

After the museum we relaxed around Buena Vista, hanging out by the river watching kayakers pass and drinking coffee on Main St. My cousin Andrew and his fiancee Camala were driving in later that night so in the meantime we went to Twin Lakes and watched the sun set, took a few photos and headed back to Buena Vista for dinner at a local burger / shake joint called K’s. It reminded us of Bobbie’s Dairy Dip – the same concept, burgers, 50’s atmosphere, dipped cones and shakes – delicious. We decided to take Andrew’s advice and load up on calories since we’d be burning upwards of 7,000 calories on the climb, so we enjoyed burgers and sundaes until Andrew and Camala and their friend Ryan met us to go check into our next lodging at the Cottonwood Hot Springs! Not much else to say about that night – we just caught up with Andrew and Camala and hung out with their pup Simba before heading to sleep…with the thought of climbing Mt. Princeton looming. Can’t wait to post about that – check back Monday to hear about our amazing climb up a 14,000 ft. mountain! Despues del museo nos relajamos dando vueltas en las calles de Buena Vista, pasando el rato al lado del rio viendo a la gente en kayaks y tomando cafe en la calle principal. Mi primo Andrew y su prometida Camala manejaban esa tarde a juntarse con nosotros asi que por mientras fuimos a Twin Lakes a ver la puesta de sol, sacamos algunas fotos y volvimos a Buena Vista para cenar en una picada de hamburguesas llamada K’s. Nos recordo de Bobbie’s Dairy Dip – el mismo concepto, hamburguesas, atmosfera de los 50, helados banados en chocolate – delicioso. Decidimos hacerle caso al consejo de Andrew sobre consumir calorias ya que ibamos a quemar mas o menos 7000 calorias en la subida a la montana, asi que disfrutamos las hamburguesas y helados hasta que Andrew, Camala, y su amigo Ryan nos encontraron para ir a registrarnos a las termas Cottonwoods! No hay mucho mas que decir sobre esa noche – solo conversamos y pasamos el rato con su perrito Simba antes de irnos a dormir….pensando en la idea de subir el monte Princeton. No puedo esperar a postear sobre eso – revisen el lunes para leer sobre nuestra increible subida de una montana de 14,000 pies de altura!

69 thoughts on “Visiting South Park City Leave a comment

  1. Y’all hit the jack pot on this one. Very cool. Remind me to tell you about the “key skates” I used to use back in the 50s. 🙂

  2. I started reading this post on the left and decided to try it out on the right, instead. I haven’t read like that in a long time. Your photos were awesome! I think I want to try out some Wedding Breakfast Tea. The pictures of the ice cream stop at the end were a bit of a shocker! Now I’m hungry for an ice cream sundae and it’s only 8:44 a.m. here. Not good… Thanks!

    • haha – sometimes the first look at our posts is a little confusing because of the translation – it looks a little daunting because of all the text but then everyone realizes it’s the translation. I’m so glad you like the photos! I’d like to know what Wedding Breakfast Tea is like, anyway!

  3. Nostalgia…….Looking at these photos made me crave oatmeal with cinnamon and milk, my favorite childhood breakfast. How admirable that the attorney decided to back the project of creating this museum. Very nice shots!

    • I agree – I admire people who are willing to finance the preservation of history like this. It was very cool to see everything and even be able to handle some of the artifacts. It’s a great museum!

  4. I lived in Fairplay during the summer of 1994 and last visited it in 1995 when this project was just starting. I’m pleasantly startled at what has been accomplished since my last trip up the slope. I can’t wait to head back with my wife and children. Beautiful camera work.

    • Thank you! It was a pleasant surprise for us – we liked the mining museum in Leadville and sort of expected it to be like that, but we were really floored by how impressive the collection was. I hope you get a chance to visit!

  5. First of all…. your photos are AMAZING. I have areal love of the “old” (and current) West, and through your photos I feel like I was looking through a time machine!! One of the most facinating posts I have read in a long, long time! Thank you!

  6. awesome photos… if i’m there my camera would be clicking non-stop.. it’s nice that the museum has been restored in all its glory.. really wonderful post !!

    • thanks!! yeah it was hard to control myself – I had to save my camera battery because I forgot to bring the charger so eventually I had to switch to my iphone camera! Everything was picture-worthy!

  7. Seriously, this winter I might have to get me some of that instant cough cure.
    Supposed to cure you instantly lol
    thanks for sharing and congrats on the FP!

    • Thanks! Those are my favorite photos too – love using my fixed 50mm lens – makes for some pretty dramatic shots. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post!

  8. A lot of these shots like they’re from a pro digital camera! Are they?

    This post reminded me a lot of a few different things; the shot of the class room with the awesome “Thought of the day” reminded me of a visit to Old Sydney Town I took once, a similar sort of place that’s unfortunately shut down now; a couple other shots reminded me of a passing visit I took to Little America in Wyoming (beautiful state!) when I was with my family in America last year; and the burger and shake joint reminded me of a visit I took to Rockin’ Rogers in Oregon, that my aunt lives near.

    • Yeah, we have a really good camera that is our baby when it comes to capture our “adventures”. We also really like using our phones and edit pictures using some apps. Sometimes is incredible the quality of he pictures you can get with a camera phone. We are glad you enjoyed the post and the pictures. Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

    • wonderful!! our camera is out maybe too often…we take photos of EVERYTHING. My dad tells me my life is completely mediated – lived out through the lens. Ah well! 🙂

  9. Whoever was taking photos of the museum could be a great director. Loved those shots, really showed me the feel of the museum.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • what a compliment! Thank you! The crazy thing is that I was trying to conserve battery, so I was only able to shoot a few of the buildings before I shut off my camera for the day. There were so many more things I wish I had included!

      • You’re welcome!
        I know the feeling with batteries, that’s too bad. but I love those close-up item shots you took inside with the out of focus angles in particular, there’s such a cool mystical feeling to it. I would’ve imagined being there just a bit longer with more pix. Keep it up! Love your energy.

  10. As so many have said before me……A great review of your visit to South park City and absolutely fantastic photos! Some of the best I have seen.

    I am very pleased you enjoyed your visit. I am a little bias, but I agree with you….It is indeed a very specai place with a very special mission to help preserve Colorado’s pioneering heritage.

    Jim Sapp
    Board of Trustees, South Park Historical Foundation
    South Park City

  11. i cant get over the intricate detail in the register. i have no need for one, but i think if i saw one for sale i would buy it just to have it to look at. so ornate. your post goes beyond talent. i will definetly be following your blog.

  12. How ironic, to me, that Cheri Lucas wrote that this was an unfamiliar location. I instantly knew that it was South Park just by the picture of the old soda shop with the pink doors! I have been there many times with my kids while visiting my in-laws in Colorado. It is an amazing place to visit, especially for kids. They loved it. I cherish those times with them, but unfortunately they are teenagers now and probably couldn’t care less about visiting South Park again. They would prefer watching South Park on TV instead! Let me just say that this town is a little out of the way, but it’s worth it. And congratulations on making the Fresh Pressed!

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