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Eldora (1897, 8,700 feet), historically known as Happy Valley and Eldorado Camp, sprang up after a gold strike on Spencer Mountain. Eldora is a good example of a mining town that became a resort. Miners' cabins were converted to summer houses after the Switzerland Trail railroad arrived in 1905, and by the 1920s tourism had replaced mining as the economic base.

The Eldora Historic District centers on Eldorado Avenue, the main street, whose buildings are of log construction, as this mining camp never graduated to the masonry town stage. The Gold Miner Hotel (1897), northwest corner of 6th and Klondike, a hewn log boarding house with a clapboard front, reopened as a bed and breakfast in 1984. False fronts attached to the log commercial buildings used milled lumber from five local sawmills. Early miners' cabins, such as 601 Washington (1878), are single story, with corner-notched logs and no foundations. Later tourist cabins are distinguished primarily by porches. Newer log homes make the community a showcase for the evolution of rustic log architecture. The town has been little affected by the Eldora Mountain ski area, seven miles away and over a ridge, unique in being served by a Regional Transportation District bus line and for its night skiing.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel

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