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Fairplay (1860, 9,953 feet) was organized as the “Fairplay Diggings” by miners squeezed out of the nearby mining camp of “Graball.” Fairplay prospered and became the county seat, while most other mining towns became ghosts. Mining continued until the 1970s, when the last large dredge boat working streams around the town was dismantled and shipped to South America. Telltale gravel mounds still disfigure strands of the Upper South Platte. Fairplay, whose population has been static at around 400 for decades, turned to tourism. The town's most unusual structure is the Prunes Memorial (c. 1930), a crude downtown monument of rocks framing a memorial case and bas-relief of a burro that lived to be sixty-three years old. This is a tribute to the beasts of burden who hauled building materials into remote mining camps and brought out ore.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel

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