In our Do you know this place? blog series, we quiz you on what you might know about these places and then share what makes them unique.
Do you know this place?
1. Where is it?
2. When was it built?
3. What was it?
a) a bank
b) a saloon
c) a general store
d) a mortuary
1. c) Fairplay
2. a) 1879
3. b) a saloon
This small, red sandstone, false front building bears the inscription “Leonard Summer 1879.” Leonard Summer was one of at least four brothers who spent time in the area and whose full history is still somewhat disputed. It is believed that Leonard was born in Austria in 1838 and came to the United States in 1866, spending two years in Dubuque, Iowa, learning the brewery business. He moved to Colorado around 1869 and lived in Empire, where he and one of his brothers, Charles, operated a brewery that supplied beer to area miners.
In 1873 Leonard and a partner, whom he subsequently bought out, purchased a lot with a log structure in today’s Fairplay for $732.50. Leonard and Charles began operating a brewery, destroyed by fire the same year, so Leonard built a two-story stone building to replace it.
Leonard’s new brewery at Third and Front Streets was in operation by 1876; his brother Joseph had a saloon across Front Street. Leonard’s decision to build this one-story saloon in 1879 at the front of his brewery lot undoubtedly contributed to the demise of Joseph’s establishment.
The brewery represented a rather unusual enterprise for a small town. Colorado’s mining camp saloons imported most of their liquor from Denver. The Summer brothers’ brewery ensured supply and cut overhead. The brewery building became a supply center for the liquor needs of the South Park area.
This building, known as Summer Saloon, as well as the larger two-story stone and brick one on the back of the lot are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Summer Saloon sits within the South Park City Museum in Fairplay, which has also been listed in the National Register for its importance as a 1950s-era tourist park featuring Colorado’s pioneer mining past.
The saloon has received State Historical Fund grants for an assessment and subsequent stabilization and rehabilitation.