Summit’s past comes alive |

Summit’s past comes alive

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk

SUMMIT COUNTY – To celebrate the 25th anniversary publishing books in Summit County with Alpenrose Press, local author Mary Ellen Gilliland has updated her comprehensive history volume of the area with the 25th Anniversary Edition of “Summit: A Gold Rush History of Summit County, Colorado.” “Gold Rush History” covers everything from how the gold got into the rocks and the Ute Indians through the most recent events in the history of Summit’s four major ski areas, Gilliland said.There is plenty of new information. The first edition was published in 1980 and contained 15 chapters and about 300 pages; the new edition has 30 chapters and more than 500 pages of history. Nearly all the photos are previously unpublished.Gilliland said she learned some new things in the making of the 25th edition.

“I’ve never done Silverthorne history before – the town I live in. It was a hotbed of mining activity in 1905. It was a churning, wild placer mining site. 1900-1905 was its ultimate peak,” she said.Besides a comprehensive big picture view of the county’s history, the book offers more in-depth looks on certain subjects, such as “Spotlight on Frontier Medicine,” “Spotlight on Old-Time Holidays,” or “Spotlight on Boardinghouse Fare and Recipes.”Gilliland said, “The ‘Spotlights’ give you a feel and help you to experience what life was like then.”Another feature, the 18th chapter, “Field Guides to History,” offers descriptions of historical routes and sites which can be accessed today. A bike tour leads the reader into the history of the competing railroad companies during the mineral rush heydey of Summit, the Denver & Rio Grande Railway and the Denver, South Park & Pacific.

A jeep trip to the Boston Ghost Camp may be fairly easy now (especially with Gilliland’s guidance), but for the miners it was a different story. Gilliland describes methods of transportation to mine towns in their early years. Another tour offered in the field guide is of the county’s historical cemeteries.”Summit: A Gold Rush History of Summit County, Colorado” is the product of 25 years of research, according to the author.Gilliland said, “One of the things I find most poignant in the book is the ‘then and now’ section showing a mine camp or say a dredge site and how it is slowly disintegrating into the landscape. It is one of my dearest wishes that we could preserve some of our crumbling ghost town.”

Leslie Brefeld can be reached at (970) 669-3998 ext. 13622 or Ellen Gilliland Author Bio- Family: Husband, daughter and son

– Came to Summit in: 1973- Residence: North of Silverthorne- Other books: “The New Summit Hiker,” “The Vail Hiker,” “Breckenridge!,” “Frisco, A Colorful Colorado Community,” “Seasons in the Sun,” “Lula, Portrait in Pictures and Prose,” “A Century of Faith,” “Heaven on Earth, Here and Now,” and “Colorado Rascals, Scoundrels and No Goods”- Get the book: Alpenrose Press,

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