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Fairplay, CO History

When looking for lodging near Breckenridge, keep Fairplay, Colorado in mind. Fairplay was founded in 1859 during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush glory days and is full of rich history. Prior to the influx of gold seekers, the native peoples, primarily Ute tribes, spent their time living and hunting in the South Park area. Fur traders also inhabited the area. But it was the gold that was discovered in 1858-59 that brought over 10,000 people and much excitement and violence to the diggings around Fairplay and South Park.

People came, not only for their opportunity to become wealthy from the gold, but also to make a better way of life for themselves and their families. Camps were established throughout the area, and greed seemed to seep into the camps. Some of the miners who were frustrated with the greediness of others settled a camp where Beaver Creek meets the Middle Fork of the South Platte River. The people who started the camp known as Fair Play named it so other people would know that all would be treated fairly in their chance to stake a claim. Other names that Fairplay had along the way were "Fairplay Diggings," "Platte City," and in 1869, the name was officially changed to "South Park City". Finally in 1874, the name "Fairplay" was restored and holds that name today.

Because mining was such demanding work and not steady enough to raise a family, people began raising cattle and sheep and hay. A railroad going through Park County was built and completed in 1878 making life much easier for everyone, as supplies that might take a month or more to get could now be delivered much more quickly. The railroad also provided the means for a profitable timber business in the area and a better means of transporting the livestock in and out of the area. Because of the prospering area, other trades and professions moved in to provide services and goods to the residents. Tourist traffic also increased because the railroad provided an easier form of transportation. Subsequently, hotels began to be built all throughout the Platte Canyon and in Fairplay.

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Lodging Near Breckenridge, the Fairplay-Valiton Hotel

The property on which the hotel sits was bought in 1873 by Louis and Marie Valiton for $87.50. They built the original hotel, The Valiton Hotel on the site. Names changed on the hotel about as often as the owners changed hands. It was called the McLain Hotel, the Vestal House, the Bergh House, The Fairplay Hotel and Hotel Windsor. As the Hotel Windsor, it suffered an early fire but was not badly damaged. However, in mid- 1921 a fire forced its closure. By late August 1921, many prominent Park County citizens moved forward rebuilding the hotel on its original foundation, following the original hotel floor plans as closely as possible. William N. Bowman of Denver, CO was the architect and employed the Rustic/Adirondack style for the hotel, a design fitting the beautiful, rugged mountain area. By early June 1922, the new hotel opened to the public with a Chamber of Commerce banquet and dance.

The Hotel was featured in many travel and tourism publications in the 1920s and advertised a choice of rooms with or without a private bath with rates of $4.00 and up per day. Because the hotel had large rooms to offer the public, many community groups began holding their regular meetings at the hotel. Local dances and celebrations were also held at the hotel, many becoming an annual event. The hotel changed ownership several times and, due to the hard times of the Depression era, closing from 1942 to 1945. The hotel officially opened again in 1946, many memories have been made here including hosting entertainer Bob Hope and Jerry Colonna, a comedy writer and performer, in the hotel restaurant in the late 1940s. Contact the Fairplay-Valiton hotel directly to learn more about the Middle Fork Restaurant and for reservations.

The hotel's current owner, Constance Tiel, acquired and renovated the property in 2010. Constance and her staff have one simple mission for the hotel: "It is our goal and deepest desire to cherish the full history of this building while providing high-class amenities and comforts."

With the Fairplay-Valiton Hotel just 30 minutes away it makes for great lodging near Breckenridge. Don't forget to view year round events in the area, go to our events page for more information.