Learning About America, Three States Plus One at a Time
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Colorado Chronicles : Miners Solve Church Bell "Problem"
Breck at Night*
Breckenridge is one of the coolest towns in Colorado. Breck, as it is called, came into existence in 1859 with the discovery of gold in the Blue River and the rush was on. Soon to be home to thousands of miners and their strike-it-rich dreams, the timing seemed right to open a saloon in town. That saloon, The Gold Pan Saloon, is still in operation today as the oldest continuously operated bar west of the Mississippi. Along with the saloon, came gambling and prostitution and a rough and ready clientele of miners. How rough and ready you ask? A local preacher started ringing the church bell on Sunday mornings to summon the flock to service and being miners and hungover, many men weren't exactly pleased with this call to worship. Somebody in this industrious group solved the Sunday morning church bell ringing in a rather efficient way - with blasting caps. BOOM! No more church bell. Naturally the mines around Breck were eventually closed, but not before yielding a 151 oz. gold nugget to a gentleman named Tom Graves. 21st Century Breckenridge is a very popular destination for tourists and snow skiers from all over the world. Still, Breck retains 350 historic buildings of an era gone by, making it the largest Historic District in Colorado.