In 1859, a group of men from Denver crossed the Continental Divide with the hope of finding gold in the Blue River Valley. Their initial success changed the landscape as towns blossomed across the countryside, and ranches, which provided much needed food, were established along the lower part of the valley. The arrival of the railroads in 1882 facilitated the movement of people and goods in and out of the area. The railroads also made mining operations much more profitable and diminished the isolation of the county’s residents. Women and children began arriving in greater numbers in the 1880s, bringing with them the refinements of the Victorian era. The influx of families spurred the establishment of churches, libraries, social clubs, and hospitals and, at the same time, discouraged gambling, drinking, and prostitution.
About the Author
Author Sandra F. Mather, professor emerita at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, arrived in Summit County in 1980. Since then, she has written numerous books about the county’s natural and human landscapes. The photographs in this volume are drawn from the archives of the Summit Historical Society, whose members contributed to the project, as well as from the Frisco Historical Society and the private collections of Robert L. Brown, Raymond Ritchey, and the author.
Table of ContentsAcknowledgments 6
The Utes, the Original Inhabitants 9
Mining the Precious Minerals 13
Mining Towns and Camps 37
Lifestyles in the Victorian Era 73
Transportation, Overcoming Isolation 93
Agriculture along the Lower Blue River 111
Recreation, Fun, and Relaxation 119