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SUMMIT features: 

Nineteen detail-packed chapters 

Nearly 100 pictures, most antique 1800s photographs 


Rich design, spiced with century old drawings.


The book helps you explore the early days of Summit's first explorers.

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Sample these adventures:

Camp with nomad Ute Indians 

Follow the beaver men who came seeking pelts and found glittering metal

Search out the hidden mining towns and ghost camps in mountain valleys.

August 10, 1859 marked the Blue Valley's first official gold strike.

Breckenridge sprang up in 1860 to house a horde of prospectors and other towns followed.

SUMMIT takes you up and over the old high passes.

The book guides you along the 1880's narrow-gauge rail routes.

Use the mining tour guides for jeep tours of the area's historic mines.

SUMMIT profiles  the county's colorful characters.

The book reports on the  crusading local newspapers.

Witnesses the birth pangs of Summit county's now world-famous ski areas.

SUMMIT was first published to celebrate the town centennials of Breckenridge, Frisco, Montezuma and Dillon.




Cover Image: SUMMIT Gold Rush History

Editorial Reviews:
The Denver Post

Popular Colorado author Sandra Dallas reviewed the book: "SUMMIT is a wonderful mix of history and folklore." It will "stir the imaginations of those unfamiliar with Summit County history."

The Rocky Mountain News
Historian Louisa Arps remarked: "The book is as full of riches as Summit County was full of gold. "The book is worth reading as Colorado history and worth owning for all those interested in Summit County. "'Gold is where you find it' and. you can find almost everything about the Summit County gold rush in the ...pages of this book."

Essays and Monographs in Colorado History, 1983, No. 1
"Much of this book's appeal lies in a masterful use of fascinating anecdotal material. Typical is an account of two prospectors who, when snowed in during the winter of 1898-99 and faced with imminent starvation, decided to eat their companion, a beloved dog. They began by cutting off the animal's tail, boiling it into a soup, and feeding the pet his own bone. Fortunately, this nourishment revived the miners sufficiently to permit a successful hunting expedition, which ensured survival for all."

Book Review for The Summit Historical Society.
Liston E. Leyendecker, History Professor at Colorado State University, wrote: "All of it is fascinating reading... Obviously Mrs. Gilliland loves Summit County and has spent many years talking to people as well as researching both in libraries and other depositories to obtain the material for this book. It is a tribute to her work, for good local history should acquaint its readers with how events in their region fitted into a larger area's past. "Mrs. Gilliland has produced a pioneer work to which historians and other writers interested in Colorado's past will refer for many years."

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Book Description
SUMMIT's content is rich as the gold the book describes. Narrow-gauge alpine railways, nomad Ute Indians, lusty mine camps, the 1860s birth of now-famous ski towns and self guided mine tours all highlight this classic history. A parade of larger-than-life characters march across its pages-people like dredge king Ben Stanley Revett and Colorado's famed Snowshoe Itinerant, John Lewis Dyer, the skiing preacher. Saints and sinners (mostly sinners) lead the parade of prospectors, claimjumpers, shyster lawyers, shady ladies and hard-working miners who scaled the high mountain passes to create the history this book records.

This lively gold rush history of Summit County, Colorado has been designated a Best Seller by regional Colorado bookstores. Gilliland's high-energy writing style enhances her detailed picture of gold rush days.

From the Publisher
Three hundred thirty six detail-packed, richly-illustrated pages make this book a great buy. Unlike most books which start strong then fizzle after a couple of years, SUMMIT started strong and has continued to enjoy solid support from Colorado history readers year after year. SUMMIT stands as the first and only complete history of Summit County, Colorado's past. The book is written for local residents and the area's many winter and summer visitors. SUMMIT is not a scholarly tome, but a readable, entertaining and informative history.

From the Author
Being the first to write a comprehensive history of this once-bustling gold rush area, I discovered many puzzles to solve. When did the town of Frisco get its start? Nobody really knew. Who was the mysterious Captain Leonard said to have named the town, then vanished? Why did silver mining here make such a strong resurgence a few years after the Silver Panic of 1893 devastated silver towns all over the West? Who was the elusive Captain Buford who started the lucrative Victoria Mine, only to walk away from his expensive effort? Why did 1865 Montezuma and its neighbors, Peru and Chihuahua, have Spanish names? These and other intriguing questions made my research into a challenging detective job, and gave me great elation when the answers emerged.

I wrote SUMMIT with amusement over the high aspirations and the highjinks of the early day mining entrepreneurs. They believed they could do almost anything-railroad tunnels through the massive Continental Divide mountains, redirection of torrential rivers, excavation of 90-foot-deep mine pits into boulder-packed glacial gravel. All this was accomplished without the aid of modern equipment, just men, horses and crude steam power. The misadventure and the larger-than-life characters that punctuated the SUMMIT story make for humorous anecdotes and stories galore. 
Mary Ellen Gilliland

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From the Back Cover
Together the Gillilands bumped over back country jeep roads, trudged forgotten stagecoach routes, scrambled up steep ghost town trails and climbed the old high passes to reach the history-rich sites this book describes. Mary Ellen, with her map-toting husband, Larry, and youngsters, Sheliah and Matt explored most of the old camps, ghost towns, mines and other rich relics highlighted in SUMMIT.

Summit County historians comment on the book...

We endorse this historical look backward at Breckenridge's rich past and that of Summit County as a whole...The Breckenridge Centennial Commission, Inc.

Mary Ellen Gilliland has given us the first book devoted exclusively to the history of Summit County, a testimony to her love for the county...Lois Darlene Rupert, President, Summit Historical Society.

About the Author
Mary Ellen Gilliland is the author of 11 books and more than 200 magazine and newspaper articles. A seasoned researcher and colorful writer, she maintains the position of Summit County, Colorado's chief historian, with five books on the 1800s mining mecca. Gilliland is a former New York City magazine editor who has lived in the Colorado mountains since 1969.

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