The Park County Local History Archive (PCLHA) was started by a group of dedicated volunteers interested in the western history of Park County. The group began collecting photographs, manuscripts, and other records in 2001 to preserve and share the history of Park County, Colorado. The Archive is currently located in the Park County building in Fairplay, Colorado although in the past was housed at other county locations. PCLHA primarily serves the community of Park County, which includes the towns of Fairplay and Alma, in addition to the unincorporated communities of Bailey, Como, Grant, Lake George, and several others. Park County is one of Colorado's original 17 territorial counties and is known not only for its stunning beauty, but for its rich mining, railroads, and ranching histories.
PCLHA is dedicated to the acquisition and preservation of materials documenting the region’s history and community resilience, as well as illustrating how residents of Park County dealt with the challenges of pioneer and rural life. Since the inception of the Archive, the collection has grown to include thousands of materials including photographs, oral histories, maps, newspapers, letters, books, manuscripts, business records, ledgers, and other priceless items of the high country. PCLHA is working to digitize many parts of its collection. A partnership was established between the Park County Department of Heritage, Tourism, & Community Development and the University of Denver's Library and Information Science program in 2019 to assist with the digitization efforts and to build a digital archive. This collaborative project has been supported by the Public Good Fund from the University of Denver Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning (CCESL) and an award from the Colorado Historical Records Advisory Board, through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), National Archives Records Administration.
The Digital Archive includes a selection of historical materials from the PCLHA and recent photographs of the Park County unique sites and landscapes. Here you'll also find exhibits on Towns & Settlements, Railroad History, Mines and Mining, and Western Women. These exhibits were created by students enrolled in the University of Denver's Masters of Library Science program during Professor Krystyna Matusiak's Fall 2019 and 2020 Digital Libraries class. Each exhibit is focused on areas perceived as important by members of the Park County community. There are plenty more aspects of Park County's vibrant history worth exploring and you'll find many of them in the photographs, orals histories and transcripts, and associated content found here.