Breckenridge couple to share stories of the early days |

Breckenridge couple to share stories of the early days

BRECKENRIDGE – Bud Enyeart remembers attending elementary school in the building that now houses Colorado Mountain College.

His wife, Martha, remembers when the townfolk of old Dillon had to move their cemetery to make way for a reservoir.

Bud remembers when the old Briar Rose Restaurant burned down. Martha remembers when the original building on that lot was a butcher shop.

The Breckenridge couple plans to share those memories – and many more – at a storytelling at 3 p.m. today at Father Dyer United Methodist Church in Breckenridge. It’s part of the church’s oral history series, designed to allow longtime residents to share stories and memories of Summit County.

For the Enyearts, those memories extend to the early 1930s, when Bud lived on a ranch in the Lower Blue and Martha lived in old Dillon. The two met briefly in 1945, began dating in 1947 and married Sept. 12, 1947 – one day shy of her birthday and two days shy of his.

Bud attended Breckenridge Elementary School from the first to the fourth grade, then Slate Creek School in the Lower Blue when his family moved to that end of the county. He went to Boulder for his 10th and 11th grade education – it was either that or ride horseback 27 miles from the Lower Blue – and back to Breckenridge for his senior year.

Both Enyearts remember how Breckenridge was a “poverty pocket” with the only economies being mining and ranching.

Bud remembers the day Breckenridge was brought into the United States with a flag-raising ceremony.

“I guess being born here, I was an alien,” Bud said of his status before the incorporation. “I never was naturalized. But they still let me pay taxes and go into the services.”

Like others in the valley, the couple struggled to eke out a living. Martha reared the couple’s three children and worked periodically at the town clerk’s office, as a bookkeeper, as a substitute teacher at the local preschools or cleaning condos.

Bud, who moved here when the dredge boats were in operation, spent most of his working life mining, but he also worked as a county commissioner, drafting the county’s first planning and zoning ordinances.

“Everyone was trying to work together to bootstrap Summit County out of the Depression,” Bud said. “We did everything we could to stimulate the economy.”

Bud helped build the town’s sewer and water districts and volunteered on the Breckenridge Fire Department for 36 years, in the days when they hauled water to fires using hose and ladder carts.

The most memorable event during those years, he said, was when an arsonist kept lighting fires faster than the fire department could keep up – and what happened when citizens finally caught the fire bug.

He has stories about his work on the second bore of the Johnson tunnel – later called the Johnson-Eisenhower Tunnel – and the locals’ anxiety waiting for work to begin on Dillon Reservoir. He’s got a few stories about what was really left behind in the old town.

The couple was unable to get a loan – not even a GI Bill loan – to buy a house because lenders in Fairplay, Kremmling and Leadville felt Breckenridge was a dying town. Bud eventually purchased the lot on which their house still stands today for $250 and milled his own logs to build a home.

They remember when the assessed value of the entire county was $5 million. Homes in the 1940s, the couple recalled, typically sold for $1,200. A home Bud’s parents bought for $500 in 1940 sold for $10,000 in 1964 – and $765,000 late last year. At one point, the Enyearts could have had the house where the Hearthstone Restaurant operates for $3,000.

“We kick ourselves all over the place for that,” Martha said. “But we didn’t have the money.”

The Enyearts remember the many uses buildings have served over the years, including the town mortuary that was later converted into a radio station and is now Hamlet’s Bookshoppe. There’s Kristina’s Jewelry, which once was a residence from which the Huntington family sold coal, gas and fruit.

Before the Gold Pan was the Gold Pan, it was Bradley’s pool and gaming hall, then Sunny’s bar. The house Lois Theobald lived in on Ridge Street used to be the county hospital.

“When we were married, I told Bud we should move,” Martha said. “If we don’t move now, we’ll be like every other old person in town. And we are. We stuck it out to see what would happen. It would be interesting to see what happens in the next 50 years.”


Oral History

– Who: Bud and Martha Enyeart

– When: 3 p.m. today

– Where: Father Dyer United Methodist Church, Wellington Road and Briar Rose Lane, Breckenridge

– Cost: Donations will go toward the cost of the church renovation

– Info: (970) 453-2250


Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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