Business as usual

Nicole McChesney in front of some of her products at her Mountain

Essentials store on Front Street. (Photo by Flip Boettcher/The Flume)

Surprisingly, Fairplay’s historic Front Street changed little over the lean winter months this year. Front Street was Fairplay’s main thoroughfare in the 1870s.

Tarryall Outfitters did close their doors. Tangles to Toes moved over to Main Street, and Mountain Essentials opened the first week in June in its place at 520 Front Street. Their grand opening was June 15.

Mountain Essentials, owned and operated by Nicole McChesney, features everything goat milk. McChesney has 30 goats, eight of them milkers, from whom her skin care products come, including decorative soaps, lotions, lip balm and more.

The chores take about an hour or an hour and a half morning and night, which include milking the goats. McChesney then turns the goat milk into wonderful products. McChesney even makes several flavors of fresh, creamy goat milk fudge. McChesney also has wedding and baby shower gifts.

McChesney, born in Buena Vista, and her husband are Colorado natives. They have lived in Fairplay for 11 years.

It all started, said McChesney, when one of her children developed a rash. She made some goat milk cream for the rash and went on from there to develop the rest of her products.

Also, finding that she and her family were lactose intolerant led to their using goat milk, which has different proteins than cow’s milk and is easier to digest.

Mountain Essentials at 520 Front Street is open seven days a week 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Their phone number is 303-880-7258.

On the far west end of Front Street is South Park City, an outdoor, living history museum, where one steps back in time to an accurate representation of Colorado boomtown life in a mining town of the 1860s to 1890s. SPC is on the National Register of Historic places.

This year SPC is celebrating its 60th anniversary, with special events planned for July, August, September and October. Special events include SPC After Dark with reservations required; live, period music; historical presentations; visits from Father Dyer, the itinerate preacher on snowshoes who delivered mail; drawings for a 2020 family pass; old-time photos; learning to play faro, the old west card game, and much more.

July 27 and 28, the annual Llama and Burro Race finish through SPC along Front Street. Aug. 10 and 11 features SPC’s Living History Days. During Living History Days, the past really comes alive with people dressed in historic outfits from the 1800s and who participate in skits, live demonstrations, gunfights and more. There are miners, townsfolk, painted ladies, cowboys, tradesmen, preachers and saloon keepers.

SPC was the idea of Leon Snyder from Colorado Springs, who organized the South Park Historical Foundation and in 1957 the foundation purchased the property, which became SPC at the west end of Front Street.

There were seven original, historic buildings on the site, and over the years historic buildings from the county were moved to SPC. Today there are 43 structures on the site. The buildings house over 60,000 historic items that portray the economic and social life in a boom town of the late 1800s.

The museum was called South Park City because that was the name of the town from 1869-76 before the state legislature changed the name to Fairplay. Refurbishing of the historic structures is ongoing.

“Your visit will enhance your understanding of life in those rip-roaring days when life was risky, fortunes were made or lost overnight, and men and women of vision laid the groundwork for Colorado’s future,” from the museum brochure.

The museum is open every day, rain or shine, from May 15 to Oct. 15. The phone number is 719-836-2387, or visit for more information or to make reservations.

While you are on Front Street be sure to visit all the shops and galleries including The Unrepentant Artist, Colorado Mountain Hat Company, Rimfrost Antiques, Mountain Sun Arts, Coyote Creek, and South Park Pottery and Backroom Beads.

For food and refreshment visit Silver Scoop Creamery, Millonzi’s Italian restaurant, Salado southwestern restaurant, The Snitching Lady Distillery, Platte River Saloon and Park Bar.

If you need more than one day to see and do it all, there are overnight accommodations at the historic, maybe haunted, Hand Hotel on Front Street.

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