Exploring Frisco’s history | SummitDaily.com

Exploring Frisco’s history

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

Long before Frisco was home to its present snow seekers and ski bums, the region had a rich history dating back before the town’s founding in the mid-19th century. The area’s history – from the Ute Indians to the fur trappers and prospectors through the present – is preserved and promoted at the Frisco Historic Park & Museum.The park and museum was dedicated in 1983 by the Town of Frisco and the Frisco Historical Society, and consists of 13 different structures. All of the historic buildings, except for the schoolhouse museum, were slated for demolition and moved to the property located on Main Street. The schoolhouse museum – which houses the main office and greeting center – was the first active part of the historical display and is the only original building to the property. The schoolhouse was built as a saloon in 1899 and used as a school until 1963. On its website, the park and museum states the schoolhouse “planted the seed for what we now know as one of Frisco’s most significant and entertaining heritage attractions.” Visitors can reserve a guided tour or explore the property themselves. All of the historic structures on the property are original to the town. The schoolhouse museum houses artifacts and displays detailing Frisco’s “rich and colorful” history. Museum manager Simone Belz said the train diorama, located inside the schoolhouse, is one of their most popular displays. “Kids love it,” she said.The diorama is a representation of historic Frisco and Ten Mile Canyon based off historic photos from 1890 to 1900. Belz said children enjoy operating the model train (for a quarter) and participating in the diorama scavenger hunt, where they are asked to locate a slice of chocolate cake, a bicycle and a sleeping drunk, among other things.In the park, Belz said the most popular structure is the Frisco jail. Frisco’s first and only jail features an original 7×10 foot cell, where Belz said children like to “lock the door and pretend they’re prisoners.” A display in the jail says prisoners were locked up for “claim-jumping, fighting or cheating.”Also on the property, Wood’s cabin – built in 1860 – is Frisco’s oldest standing structure. The building has served many different purposes; acting as a family residence, a post office drop, a bank, a madam’s house, a saloon and a storage facility. Visitors can also tour a typical example of an original Frisco home: the Bailey house. Inside the two-story house, newspapers originally used as insulation for the interior walls are displayed. The papers date back to 1884.Belz said the park and museum receives 32,000 visitors annually. She said 75 percent are first-time visitors. Everything is free to the public. The Town of Frisco funds 100 percent of the park and museum’s operations. Belz said the expense of operating the museum is hopefully recuperated when visitors have dinner or purchase goods within town, which generates sales tax. Donations are also accepted. Belz, who has managed the museum for five years, said her job is “a labor of love.” “It’s an absolute honor to work here and be a steward for the community to preserve its history,” she said. For more information, contact the Frisco Historic Park at (970) 668-3428, or visit http://www.townoffrisco.com/activities/historic-park-museum.

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