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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name South Park City Museum
Reference Number 14000899
State CO
County Park
Town Fairplay
Street Address 100 4th St.
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 11/5/2014
Areas of Significance Entertainment/ Recreation, Social History
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The South Park City Museum is an intact mid-twentieth century outdoor museum interpreting a frontier mining community, significant for its association with Park County tourism, the Rush to the Rockies, and early historic preservation efforts in Park County. During Colorado's Gold Rush, mining towns were scattered across Park County but by mid-twentieth century, these ghost towns were rapidly disappearing, victims of vandalism, fire, and the natural elements. Leon Snyder (1892-1973), a Colorado Springs lawyer, worked with local residents to preserve Park County's mining heritage by creating an outdoor museum. The goal was to create an authentic replica of a nineteenth century Colorado mining town, using historic buildings from Park County. The creation of the outdoor museum was a community effort, with residents donating their time to prepare the buildings as well as artifacts to furnish them. South Park City opened in 1959. It was well-received with positive press in the Denver and Colorado Springs newspapers, an award from the American Association of State and Local History, visitors from across the United States, and even an article in the New York Times. Over the next several years several additions were made to the museum as Snyder and the museum board worked to create what they felt was a complete frontier mining town. The initial museum plan was completed in 1966 with the installation of a narrow gauge railroad engine.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria