The original structure’s initial occupants were the Fletchers, one of the first families to settle in Breckenridge in the 1860s. Eli Fletcher, who soon after constructed a home on the corner of Harris and Lincoln streets, became a well-known business owner and ski maker in the town. The second family to move into the Inn is thought to be the Curtins, with two generations living in the home before it was boarded up in 1960 after the death of one of the Curtin daughters. Seven years later, it was purchased by the Wamsleys, who opened the original structure as an antique shop and added on to the rear of the home for living quarters. In 1975, Gail Galbreath purchased the home and converted it into an inn, changing ownership two more times before the Harrises purchased it.
Throughout the years, as the home changed hands, multiple additions were added on prior to 1985, creating a maze of rooms along three floors. The original structure is the smaller space that faces French Street, what now houses Niki and Andy’s living room, an estimated century-and-a-half-year-old relic that is protected by the town’s historic preservation guidelines.
PRESERVING THE TOWN’S HISTORY
The Breckenridge Historic District was established in 1980, and is federally designated on the National Register of Historic Places. The district has the highest concentration of historic buildings in the community, encompassing Main Street up to High Street and French to Jefferson streets. There are more than 200 buildings that contribute to the district — which includes smaller sheds and outhouses — making it one of the largest historic districts in the state of Colorado, according to Larissa O’Neil, executive director of the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance (BHA).
Although there are no buildings from the first year of the town’s establishment in 1859, Breckenridge does still hold several buildings, many modified — such as the Fireside — that originated in the late 1860s and early 1870s.
The goal of the district is to protect its character through the careful preservation of historic structures and the sensitive design of new buildings in their context, according to the town of Breckenridge’s website. So while buildings within the district can be modified and new structures can be added, they have to follow design standards. In 1992, the town adopted the “Handbook of Design Standards for the Historic and Conservation Districts” to establish these standards for all new construction and rehabilitation or restoration of existing structures.
Owner of the Fireside Inn Niki Harris stands in her living room, which is part of the original structure of the house built in around the late 1860s or early 1870s.
This relic on the wall was found in the barn, which is now used as storage.
The living room is a community area for guests to socialize. This portion of the Fireside Inn was added on in the 1970s by the Warmleys, who used the original structure as an antique shop, and built this end of the home to live.
A community hot tub was added on after the structure was turned into an inn.
The Harrises added historic items they found on the property to the decor, like this old sewing machine used as the legs of the sink.
A set of small stairs leds to a loft above the Harris' living quarters
Owner Niki Harris on the third-floor balcony of the Fireside Inn