Chasing the Dream, the Search for Gold in the Upper Swan River Valley, Breckenridge Colorado, tells the story of the first prospectors who found gold in the upper Swan River valley and in Illinois and Mayo gulches (east of Breckenridge) and the mining districts they organized.
Included is the story of Parkville, the first county seat of Summit County and almost the first capital of Colorado Territory. It highlights Thomas H. Fuller, the first person to consolidate many of the original claims in those districts, especially in Georgia and American gulches and on Farncomb Hill, into a "mega" company, the Fuller Placer Mining Company. Chasing the Dream follows the sale of the Fuller Placer Mining Company to the Summit County Mining and Smelting Company, which in turn was purchased by Mason B. Carpenter under the name Victoria Gold Mining Company. The story continues with John Campion, who, with the help of Ben Stanley Revett, purchased the properties and formed the Wapiti Mining Company. In 1919 a group of former employees and relatives of Campion formed the New Wapiti Mining Company with plans for extensive mining on Farncomb Hill. Some of the richest gold in Colorado and the United States came from Farncomb Hill, known for its crystalized and wire gold sold as "specimen gold" at several times its weighted value. Extensive details about the construction of huge ditches and flumes, including "The Great Flume" in the upper Swan River Valley, which brought much-needed water to the hydraulic mining operations, are part of the narrative.
Pages from original mining district log books, documents from the Wapiti Mining Company, never-before published original photographs taken by Otto Western, and numbers "then and now" photographs taken by the author make the book truly unique and will enhance your understanding of the history of Summit County, Colorado.
Written by Bill Fountain and Sandra Mather, PhD.
(c) 2013 by the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance