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Newsletter - January 2019
2018 is now history.  

Someday, a hundred years from now, somebody will look back on 2018 with amazement and probably say: Wow! Have times changed.  Just as we do today in awe of the accomplishments of those who came before us.

Now, it is our turn to make history. Let's make the best of it for those who will look back on our accomplishments.

On behalf of the Park County Historical Society - Happy New Year everyone!
Our first Movie Night has been scheduled for:

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Shepherd of the Rockies Lutheran Church
106 Rosalie Road
Bailey, CO 80470

6:00 pm

We have not quite decided of the specific movie just yet, but we will let you know as soon as we come to a decision.  

During the winter months we are planning to host a "Movie Night" on the last Saturday of each month.  During the summer season we will replace the movie with historical presentations as we have done in the past. 

This year we hope to expand our reach into other Park County communities.  In the past we have held Dinner and History Presentations in Hartsel and will continue to do so as long as there is interest from the community.  Other locations may include Como, Jefferson, Fairplay and Alma.  

So, stay tuned.  We will keep you informed as or plans mature.


Have you renewed your PCHS membership for 2019?

If not, now is the time to renew your membership to take full advantage of the discounts offered to our members.

If you are currently not a member, please consider joining the Park County Historical Society.  We have several programs to fit everyone's needs, including: Student, Individual, Senior Individual, Family and Lifetime.  In addition, we offer a Sponsorship Program for those who wish to support in a different way with added benefits.

Why become a member?  

While some join to take advantage of the discounts offered for our presentations, most join for other reasons.  They join to support or mission:


The Park County Historical Society (PCHS) is a preservation organization promoting the history and prehistory of the County through awareness and education for the citizens of Park County. The organization is dedicated to preservation, collection and stewardship through cooperation and communication

We could not begin to fulfill the elements of our mission without the support of our members and volunteers.  We truly appreciate your support!

You will find links below to become a Member, a Sponsor, or to make a donation for yourself or on behalf of someone else.  

PayPal and Credit Card payments are accepted.

Join or renew your membership for calendar year 2019
Become a sponsor for calendar year 2019
Donate to support the PCHS

Maintenance and Landscaping


Yes, some landscaping takes place in the winter....but, not much. The primary task is to remove the dead growth from the perennials and "tidy up" the flower beds. While it would be nice to water our shrubs and perennials in the winter, we will have to rely on snow melt to accomplish that task for us.

Come next spring, the perennials will once again come to life and honor our visitors with their show of color.  

Thanks to our volunteers who care for our landscaping....even in the winter.
Now that our plantings have gone to sleep for the winter there is little to do except wait patiently for the coming spring. Once again the flowers will bloom. Will you be there to welcome them? If you would like to be part of the landscaping at the Park, we sure could use your help. If you are young and able there is plenty of work to be done. If your days of getting down on your hands and knees and digging in the dirt are past, we could always use financial support. Help us in any way you can to make the Park a showcase for our community and a quiet and beautiful respite for those who visit.
In preparation for the winter months, there is work to be done.  Of primary importance is the winterizing of the Annex, including the restrooms.  The restrooms, to the dismay of Park visitors, must be closed during the winter months.  We will open them again in the spring, once the threat of a hard freeze has passed.

Even though we are unable to accomplish much in terms of maintenance in the winter, there is plenty of time to prioritize our projects for this summer and make plans for the work to be done.  Some of the projects scheduled for this year are:
  • Repairs to the Caboose 10600.  We made progress on the Caboose last year and have nearly finished the repairs to one of the platforms.  The remaining platform will be repaired this summer with the assistance of volunteers from the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club.

    In addition, portions of the caboose were scraped and repainted to correct areas that showed signs of deterioration.  We will continue to monitor the paint on the caboose and take corrective action when necessary.
  • Repairs to the bridge handrails.  Last year we made temporary repairs to the handrail on the walkway bridge.  The handrail presented a safety concern and we were obligated to make temporary repairs until we could come up with a plan for a more permanent repair.  We have that plan now and the repairs will take first priority when the weather improves in the spring.
We will replace the current handrail (pine pickets) with cedar post and cattle wire panels.  The wire panels will be galvanized and maintenence free.  The cedar post and rails will be stained with semi-transparent stain and will require very little upkeep and will certainly last longer than the pine picket railing.
Want to help?  

There is always room for volunteers to help with projects such as this.  No skills are required as you will be under the direction and supervision of our "handyman", Jim Rittenhouse.  And, I am sure he will agree - "An extra pair of hands is always welcome."

If you operate a hardware or lumber business, this is a great project to donate materials to.  Your donation is tax deductible and will go a long way to conserve our limited funds for other projects.  
  • Way Station.  Currently, the Way Station is near collapse.  It is not in such poor condition as it was when moved from Glen-Isle twenty-five years ago, but getting too close for comfort.
The Way Station is an anchor feature of the Park.  It is not uncommon to see families and friends gather at the Way Station for a picnic or for simply a quiet and relaxing respite from the the days adventures.  Our plans include:
  • Bringing the Wait Station back to plumb.
  • Stabilizing the supporting posts with hidden supports.
  • Removing and replacing the beaded side panels
  • Removing and replacing the beaded soffit boards.
  • Removing and replacing the facia trim
  • Repainting to original colors.
A huge project for sure, but one that we can not delay any further. This project will begin early spring  as soon as the hand rail on the bridge is finished.

Once again, an opportunity for volunteers to lend a helping hand or for businesses to donate materials.  

Scouts in Action
November 3-4, 2018

Chris Long led a group of 15 scouts from Boy Scout Troop 238 in Bailey as they built and installed three benches on the Morrow Mountain Trail in McGraw Memorial Park on a snowy and cold November 3 and 4, 2018.   This was Chris’ Eagle Scout Rank Community Service project.  

Left to right:   Pat Mauro; Past President of the Park County Historical Society, Arleen Long; Chris’ mom, Heidi Sussenbach, Tucker Sussenbach, Chris Geiger; Assistant Scoutmaster,  Chis Long (in red), Paul Puseman, Paul Long; Scoutmaster, Cameron Troy, Tim Long (previous project leader). Photo courtesy Derek Troy

Third Time at McGraw Memorial Park for the Scouts

Chris Long led the third Eagle Scout Rank Community Service project to benefit McGraw Memorial Park. The 20 acre park in Bailey is maintained by the Park County Historical Society totally by volunteers and donations. Boy Scout Troop 238 has improved McGraw Park three years in a row. Previous Eagle Scout Rank Community Service projects were by Tim Long in 2017 (Chris’ brother) and Robert Anderson in 2016. The Scouts also cleared several trees that had fallen across the trail.  

Thank you to Chris Long and the hardy members of Troop 238.

From left to right:   Ben Hatz, Brandon Apodaca, Joey Wendel, Gavin Geiger, Jacob Despain, Cameron Troy, Sam Hatz, Chris Barrow, Tim Long, Chris Long is seated. Photo courtesy Arleen Long.

All in a days work.......Thank you Scouts!

A look back in time.
The life and times
of Leonhard Summer

Just who is Leonhard Summer?  Well, if you lived anywhere in Park County in the 1870s through the 1890s and enjoyed a cold beer after a long days work, you would know exactly who Leonhard Summer was.

For those in the minority, let me explain.

Ten years before Colorado became a state Leonhard Summer built a small log structure and began producing South Park Lager Beer to quench the thirst of pioneers and miners in and around South Park City. It was a modest beginning of what was to become the Summer Brewery in what was later to be known as the thriving town of Fairplay. Business flourished during the height of the gold rush era, but sadly tragedy was about to strike. 

On September 27th, 1873, a fire completely destroyed the brewery and most of the town of Fairplay. In 1875, Leonard built a two story stone building constructed of red sandstone quarried from nearby Red Hill. This building still stands today under the watchful care of the South Park Historical Foundation. 

In 1879 the Summer Saloon was erected to provide an outlet for the brewery. In 1893 a third story was added to the brewery to provide living quarters for Leonard's family until their permanent home was built. The brewery was in operation well into the 1890s producing 40-50 barrels of premium lager beer a day!

Needless to say, the Summer Brewery was the cornerstone of the Fairplay business community. Today, it remains as the cornerstone of South Park City and a vivid reminder of those who came before us.

Leonhard Summer and his family operated a premier brewery in Fairplay from 1873 to early 1900.  His life events - times of prosperity and tragedy - were chronicled in newspapers of the time.  

Following are a few excerpts of published reports.

May, 1873    Leonhard and Charles Summer set up Summer Brewery in an old log structure on Leonhard's Front Street property.

September 26, 1873    Summer Brewery falls victim to fire. All the business portion of Fairplay and many residences are in ashes.

March 20, 1879    Wanted at Once.  Six or eight teams are wanted to haul ice for the South Park Brewery. A Chance for Freighters. Leonhard Summer wishes to make a contract with freighters to carry two hundred kegs of beer to Leadville every two weeks.  (These loaded wagons of beer would cross Mosquito Pass to Leadville)

Leonhard Summer Brewery and Saloon.  c. 1950s

September 25, 1879    The grand opening of Leonhard Summer's new beer hall is now positively announced to take place on Saturday, October 4.  

The dance will be free, and all are invited to attend.  No bar will be put up and liquor sold in the hall that evening.  Ladies will have to use the proprietors sitting room for a dressing room.

September 9, 1880    A very neatly painted delivery wagon bearing the legends: “South Park Brewery,” “Bottled Beer,” and “L. Summer” has appeared on the streets. It will be used in connection with the new beer bottling establishment.

December 15, 1881    Leonhard Summer has just received twelve thousand fine cigars direct from New York. He wants to sell them all out by Christmas.

January 26, 1882    The new and sparkling array of liquors at Leonhard Summer's Saloon contains holiday cheer for a thousand.

February 2, 1882    That Leonhard Summer's beer sells readily in every town in the county except the one in which it is manufactured. That the leading saloon keepers of Fairplay can not afford to spend a dollar in supporting the local property. 

August 11, 1882    The South Park Brewery in ashes

Since Fairplay was literally burned up in 1873 we have had no such destructive fire as that which destroyed the South Park brewery on Saturday morning, August 6. 

The brewery buildings, with all the stock and machinery, were an almost total loss. The fire no doubt caught from the furnace chimney, which was centrally located in the main building, as Messrs. Eckert & Gebhardt, the lessees, had been brewing for two days before and had a hot fire up to the evening the day previous. 

When discovered, shortly after midnight, the fire was breaking out in all parts of the roof and it was evident the building was doomed. The fire boys and citizens generally directed their efforts to saving the surrounding buildings and with two lines of hose were able to confine the flames to the brewery building. 

The night was perfectly still or the result would probably have been a still heavier loss. The loss to the owner, Leonhard Summer, is more than the insurance, which was $4,000 on the brewery and $2,000 on his residence, saloon, stables, etc. The latter received but trifling damage. 

He is not discouraged and announces that as soon as the insurance is adjusted, he will commence rebuilding on a larger scale and entirely of stone. 

He will equip the new brewery with improved machinery so as to be able to compete with outside breweries fully. 

Mr. Summer has paid out a great deal of money for insurance, never having allowed his insurance to run out since the brewery was erected in 1873, and now gets his first benefit. 

Eckert & Gebhardt, who had a two year’s lease on the brewery dating from the previous February, also lost heavily in stock and supplies. Fortunately they had taken out a $2,000 insurance policy only two or three weeks ago, and that amount will cover their losses. 

One of the partners, Mr. Gebhardt, slept in the stone part of the brewery, and had a rather narrow escape from asphyxiation.

August 18, 1882    Leonhard Summer has commenced to rebuild the new brewery building. 

September 28, 1882    Joe Summer has just, completed some noteworthy improvements on his house on Front street, and will soon make his home there. The large building formerly used as a saloon is for rent.

Leonhard Summer home stands adjacent to the Summer Saloon, c. 1950s

July 13, 1883    A Terrible Affair

Joe Summer Kills Himself While Temporarily Insane. 

The news of Joe Summer’s terrible end is known already to almost every one in the county. 

While laboring under temporary insanity he inflicted blows upon his own head which resulted in his death at about noon on Tuesday, July 10. 

During Monday night, Joe had exhibited signs of insanity and had endeavored to put an end to his life by shooting himself with a rifle or stabbing himself with a long hunting knife, but he was prevented by Sam Marsh and Yardmaster Bradley, the town constable at Como. 

When the weapons had been taken from him he went out and endeavored to beat out his brains on the end of some railroad ties, and later was found in the saloon which he recently rented of George Grabiell, driving his head against the sharp corner of the bar counter. 

Though the injuries thus inflicted did not seem necessarily fatal yet at noon he died. 

Dr. Harris was summoned to hold the coroner’s inquest, and a verdict substantially as above was returned. Joe Summer was forty-three years of age, and leaves a wife and three young children, who are highly respected in the community. He was a brother of Leonhard Summer, and had resided in Fairplay since 1871. 

All will regret his end who knew him as a pioneer. The remains were brought to Fairplay, and the funeral, which was largely attended, took place today.

Leonhard Summer Brewery, Saloon, residence, stables, and Ice Pond, c. 1888. The Brewery, Saloon, and residence are still in their original location within South Park City. The Ice Pond was located approximately where the Visitor Center parking lot is today.

May 18, 1891    Leonhard Summer will move into the nice frame building next to his saloon on Front Street, this week. His former residence is for rent. 

1896    The South Park Brewery is closed for good. Leonhard Summer is operating a meet market in the old saloon.

September 13, 1900

Leonhard Summer deceased.

Leonhard Summer, an old citizen of Fairplay. committed suicide at his home Monday afternoon by shooting himself. The cause was supposed to have been despondency. 

He took dinner with Mr. Jos. Sykes Monday and Mr. Sykes noticed that he appeared unusually despondent. 

In the afternoon, Mr. Sykes went to invite him to supper and found him unconscious, with a revolver in one hand and a razor in the other. A pistol ball had entered his neck under the chin and lodged at the base of the brain. He lived until noon of the following day, but remained unconscious.

He leaves a son and two daughters, the former being employed at the Edmondson ranch and the two daughters having departed a day or two previous for Victor, Colorado. 

His two brothers, living at Central City and Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and one at Dyersville, Iowa, were telegraphed for and all effort made to convey information to the two daughters on the road to Victor. 

Mr. Summer will be remembered as an enterprising and liberal citizen of the county, whose death there are many friends to regret. 

Tho funeral took place Thursday at Fairplay, all of the children being present. A large number of Alma, Fairplay and county people attended.

August 23, 1901    Miss Eva Cassidy, of Des Moines, Iowa, a cousin of Mrs. A. F. Powless, arrived in Alma Monday for a visit. Judge Nenhaus was in Fairplay Wednesday, assisting to appraise tho personal property of Leonhard Summers' estate. 

1902    Second story of Brewery is converted to boarding rooms.

Summer Brewery in the background behind the Summer Saloon. c. 1970s. The log cabin to the left of the Saloon was moved from Garo to this location in 1973.
Leonhard's Brewery, Saloon, and Residence continue to watch over South Park City just as they did 140 years ago.

PCHS Website News
The PCHS website has become more that a website to highlight who and what we are.  It is quickly becoming a place to learn about the history and heritage of Park County.  You will find most of the history in the form of maps, photos, articles, videos, presentations, and links to other important websites in the "Resources" section.

The "Resources" section continues to evolve with new information being added on a regular basis.  Check it often and let us know of features that you would like added.

A few recent updates to the PCHS website include:
  • Added "Subscribe to Our Mail List" form
  • Added - Colorado history - territorial prisons, Part I & II
  • Added November issue of the Newsletter
  • Added South Park National Heritage Area video on McGraw Memorial Park featuring Jim Glenn
  • Added link to the Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative
  • Added South Park City Kiosk slide presenation of historic images of Park County
  • Added Tarryall/Cline Ranch Historical Assessment
As always, we welcome your suggestions for improvement and especially new content.
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Park County Historical Society
Box 43
Bailey, CO  80421

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Park County Historical Society · Box 43 · Bailey, CO 80421 · USA

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