Summit historical tours pan a wealth of information |

Summit historical tours pan a wealth of information

Kimberly Nicoletti

BRECKENRIDGE –  When a Missouri man dug a hole in 1859 and uncovered 40 cents worth of gold – a big find at the time – near the current recreation center, a few thousand miners flooded into Breckenridge to stake their claims, building forts and mining operations that still stand today.

Every Tuesday through Saturday, the Summit Historical Society gives tours of the Lomax Placer Gulch at 3 p.m. and the Washington Gold Mine at 1 p.m., which are examples of above-ground, placer mines and underground, hard rock mines, respectively.

Though the historical society has only traced claims from the Lomax mine dating back to 1972, members are confident it was running before 1860, said Rick Hague, mining geologist, engineer and historical society member. Tour leaders are careful not to promote folklore, but to convey accurate and documented facts, dug up in old mining engineer reports and government publications.

Artifacts fill the authentic carriage house, assay office and miner’s cabin, all of which were relocated from the surrounding area to the Lomax site. In 1977, historical society member Rich Skovlin found a canvas bag complete with mining tools, a coffee pot and sticks of dynamite, left by a miner who buried his supplies in the woods. Lab equipment crowds the assay office, where miners brought in samples to determine how much gold they had found.

The tour details the three methods of mining, the types of equipment used, how gold purity was determined from an ancient Egyptian technique and the culture of the mining days.

Both tours are one-and-a-half hours long. The Lomax Placer Gulch tour includes a slide show and an opportunity for kids and adults to try their luck at gold panning, while the Washington Gold Mine tour includes a hard-hat tour of a simulated underground mine with the original shaft house and an authentic hay trough for burros that lived underground.

At 10 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, the historical society offers a two-hour walking tour of the earliest homes and buildings in Breckenridge. From 1-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays historical buffs may tour the Edwin Carter Museum. Carter was a log cabin naturalist and built his home in 1875.

Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children 2-12. Reservations may be made by calling (970) 453-9022. For information, call (970) 453-7798.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at

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