Prior to the 1940s, Native American tribes, along with Fur Trappers populated the colorado region. Otherwise, the land remained significantly uninhabited by western settlers.
The discovery of gold in Colorado in 1859 sparked a population boom that eventually led the U.S. Congress to pass the Colorado Organic Act of 1861. This act organized Colorado into an incorporated territory of the United States, with its own legislature, governor, and judicial system.
The first Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Colorado convened on September 9th, 1861 to enact laws establishing the original seventeen counties, including Park County.
To increase the development of the region’s natural resources, the legislature encouraged capital investment from independent investors. Priority was given to those who made investments in metal mining, transportation/communications, and water/irrigation. These investors were able to obtain charters of incorporation, enabling them to establish a foothold within the communities of Park County. Moreover, these corporations existed in a territory that had vague incorporation laws, weak enforcement powers, and a pro-industry legislature. As a result, many entrepreneurs and corporations began to lay claim to tracts of land that would eventually become the communities of Tarryall, Como, Alma, Fairplay, and Jefferson.