Alma Queen: A recreation of the Alma Queen Mine can be seen at the South Park City Museum in Colorado. The museum was formed in the 1950s as a way of saving buildings and artifacts from the area’s mining history. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Museum View: The museum consist of about 40 structures from the boom days of the 1800s. Seven of the structures are in their original location while others have been moved from nearby communities and reconstructed on the museum site. The structures are arranged in a way that a town of the 1800s would have appeared. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
School Days: The interior of a school classroom from the 1860s is shown complete with desk, chalkboards and supplies from the school of yesteryear. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
By GARY WARREN Photographer Formerly of Los Alamos
Almost everyone has heard of South Park, Colorado because of the Comedy Central animated TV series South Park. But many may be surprised to know that there is indeed a real South Park.
South Park is a very large grassland basin surrounded by high mountain peaks. The grassland valley covers almost 1,000 square miles and is at an elevation of 9,000-10,000 feet.
During the gold rush boom in the 1860s, several small communities were established to service the miners and their families. Along with increased mining activity, the railroads were added, which also brought an increase in the population of the area.
Fair Play, Colo., was renamed South Park City in 1869 but then changed back to Fairplay (one word) in 1874. In the town of Fairplay is the South Park City Museum, which features historical structures and artifacts from the area’s mining history.
Editor’s note: Longtime Los Alamos photographer Gary Warren and his wife Marilyn are traveling around the country and he shares his photographs, which appear in the ‘Posts from the Road’ series published in the Sunday edition of the Los Alamos Daily Post.
Home Interior: The kitchen area of a miner’s home is seen at the South Park City Museum. Notice the walls are lined with newspapers and the furniture is home made and very minimal. All heating and cooking was done with the wood burning stove. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Transportation: Transportation in the 1800s was by horse and buggy as seen at the museum. The railroad seen in the background also was a major way of transporting gold and silver from the mines as well as transporting passengers to other cities. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Train Depot: The train depot at the South Park City Museum is shown as it would have appeared in the boom days in the 1860s. The furnishings and artifacts of all of the museum buildings were collected from the various mining towns throughout the South Park area of Colorado. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com