Silverthorne, Colorado

Silverthorne is another one of those new-fangled mountain towns where I couldn't find much of historical interest. The Raven Golf Club is beautiful, the neighborhoods around it are high-end, the views in all directions are pretty good, but the whole town felt to me like one of those "master planned communities." Even the shopping centers were architected to fit in with the rest of town so you didn't recognize them as shopping centers, until you read the signage. I did follow the signs to the Silverthorne Recreation Center and Pavilion: that was a nice surprise. Surrounded by parkland, soccer fields, baseball fields, a nice concrete skate park for the skateboarders, and a huge parking lot, the rec center itself was quite a large building with lots of amenities inside: gym, spa, workout rooms, conference rooms, etc. Which takes me back to the notion that the whole of Silverthorne was a master planned community, except that now there are some new add-ons. Like that area above the golf club... Now that I think about it, I'd say that the major part of Silverthorne came into existence about the same time that Dillon Reservoir was filling with water (back around 1963). That would also explain the structure housing the Police Department and Town Hall, and all those mature trees around that building. In the end, Silverthorne was pretty enough, I just thought it was just a bit short of historical character (as in: no Victorian architecture).

2008: I found something of historical character: Silverthorne is named for one Judge Silverthorne, original area pioneer and county judge from the late 1800s. His nickname among the folks was "Hangin' Judge Silverthorne," supposedly because of his strict demeanor (and his pants were probably too tight).

When the town of Dillon was being moved in preparation for its inundation, a lot of those original constructions were moved to Silverthorne. The first post office, the first general store and the Old Dillon Inn were among them. The Old Dillon Inn was famous for its neon "BA" sign (the "R" was never illuminated). In the early 1970s, the Old Dillon Inn was sold to someone who recognized the paintings on the interior walls as originals of Charles Russell and Frederick Remington. He got the place for a song, removed the paintings and then defaulted on the mortgage. Another old building was brought down from Kokomo (where the Climax mine wanted to build a new slag pond) and placed in the very center of Silverthorne. Frank and Nellie Flynt refurbed the building into another general store and did a good business there until Frank died in the early '70s. Today that site is where the Eddie Bauer store is in the Silverthorne Factory Outlet Stores complex.

Construction and operation of the ski resorts in Summit and Eagle Counties turned Silverthorne into an almost-affordable bedroom community for the seasonal workers who keep those resorts operating. And those resort businesses really boomed after the completion of the Eisenhower Tunnel in 1973.

The concrete Silverthorne skate park
The Silverthorne Skate Park, at the town park next to the Recreation Center
More of Silverthorne's skate park
The other side of the skate park
Photos are courtesy of TheArmchairExplorer, CCA-by-SA 4.0 License