Summer Saloon

A date stone placed high in the main facade of the Summer Saloon bears the inscription “LEONHARD SUMMER, 1879”. The building was erected to provide an outlet for his beer, manufactured in the brewery behind the saloon. The impressive structure is made of red sandstone, like the brewery, from quarries near Red Hill. The building has a massive stone front and is similar to that to that of Old Main at the University of Colorado. The saloon is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and remains on its original site. According to the Park County Deed Record, Leonhard Summer bought the land where the saloon and brewery now stand for $732.50.

The front of the building is capped with a wood box cornice which stands out against the red sandstone blocks. It is the most massive structure on Front Street. There are two large single-sash windows on both sides of the front entry. Double doors with upper panels of glass beckon one to enter. Except for the front exterior, the building is relatively plain; a one-room structure with high ceilings and a door on each side, along with one in the rear. Plaster was applied to the interior surface of the stones to give a more finished appearance. The building was built at ground level with no basement.

The exact opening date of the saloon is not known, but the December 4, 1879 issue of the Fairplay Flume first advertised the Summer Saloon as having an elegant interior, with the bar and fixtures being the finest in Colorado. It has been said that Father Dyer, a well-known Methodist missionary of the South Park area, once preached within its walls. The Summer Saloon at one time was used for a display of pioneer women’s fashions. Today the saloon hosts a collection of minerals once housed at the Bank of Fairplay. The collection was a community effort. From the early 1900s patrons of the bank were encouraged to contribute any interesting finds to the collection. In 2012 the entire collection was donated to South Park City by the bank.