Frisco is located approximately 100 miles west of Denver International Airport via Interstate 70 and Colorado Highway 9. Centrally located, it offers access to 4 internationally known ski areas and is adjacent to Dillon Reservoir.
Frisco’s history began with the Ute Indians, Colorado’s first and longest remaining inhabitants, to the region now known as Summit County. The first white men to come through this area were known as “mountain men” who trapped in the high mountain lakes for beaver from 1810 into the 1840s.
The 1870s ushered in the mining industry. Founded in 1873 (officially chartered in 1879) by Henry Recen, the Town of Frisco quickly developed thanks in part to the locale’s many mines. By 1882 the permanent population reached 250 with two railroads, many businesses, hotels and saloons. The mining boomed lasted until 1918.
Along with the rest of the country, Frisco was hit by the Depression; by 1930 Frisco’s permanent population had dropped to only 18 people, but was one of the few mining towns to keep going. Frisco persevered and by 1946 the population had increased to 50.
With a current population just under 2,800 full-time residents, Frisco remained a sleepy town with a sprinkling of summer tourists until the ski industry – which now attracts millions of people a year to the area — brought a new boom era to Summit County.
In 1875, a scout named Captain Henry Learned attached a sign to a cabin declaring this area “Frisco City”. His intention was to draw a railroad line into the area, which was already slated to be a vital stagecoach stop serving the transportation needs of pioneers and miners.
Henry Learned, a railroad agent representing the State of Colorado, was hired by rail companies and stakeholders who had interests in expanding railroad lines to the West. One capital stakeholder was the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, a.k.a. The Frisco Line, incorporated in 1876.
“Frisco” was not named after San Francisco, CA. The name Frisco was derived from a combination of letters associated with the
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company: the “F R” from Francisco the “I S” from St. Louis the “C O” for Company, which produced…F R I S C O
This Frisco Line, originating in Missouri, never made its way into Frisco, Colorado. It eventually ran south and ended up in Frisco, Texas instead.
By 1882, two different railroad companies did service Frisco; the Denver, South Park & Pacific (D. S. P. & P.) and the Denver & Rio Grande (D. & R. G.).
Captain Henry Learned stayed in the area and went on to serve as a prominent community leader in Frisco.