LOOK: Celebrate the real South Park on the anniversary of the show’s debut

As South Park, the TV show, celebrates its anniversary, take a look at old South Park, Colorado.

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A boy stands with three burros on a wood-plank sidewalk in front of two commercial storefront buildings along a South Park City Street in Fairplay, Colorado, in Park County. Signs: "The Bank of Alma" "1880 W. E. Merriam" "Pioneer Drug Store Paints Oil Wallpaper." October 5, 1958. (Helen May Hoyt/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/X-8360)  south park; fairplay; history; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite;

A boy stands with three burros on a wood-plank sidewalk in front of two commercial storefront buildings along a South Park City street in Fairplay, Colorado, in Park County. Signs: "The Bank of Alma" "1880 W. E. Merriam" "Pioneer Drug Store Paints Oil Wallpaper." October 5, 1958. (Helen May Hoyt/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/X-8360)

It should come with a sense of cosmic righteousness that we celebrate the birthdays of two major pillars of our state within a two-week time span. Last week we commemorated the foundation of Colorado, and this Saturday we will undoubtedly find our own personal ways to honor the 19th anniversary of South Park’s first airing on Comedy Central.

But what do you know about the real South Park? Don’t fret fair audience. We got you covered.

It’s common knowledge (on the internet) that the fictional town in the show is based, at least visually, on Colorado towns Fairplay and Conifer. Conifer is co-creator Trey Parker’s hometown, but Fairplay actually used to be called South Park City and today contains another fake town called South Park City within its borders.

South Park City in the town of Fairplay, Colorado, Park County, is enclosed by a wood-picket fence with a sign over the gate. Commercial storefronts are on both sides of the unpaved street. Signs: "South Park Sentinel" "Open." Between 1960 and 1970. (Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/X-8356)  south park; fairplay; history; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite;

South Park City in the town of Fairplay, Colorado, Park County, is enclosed by a wood-picket fence with a sign over the gate. Commercial storefronts are on both sides of the unpaved street. Signs: "South Park Sentinel" "Open." Between 1960 and 1970. (Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/X-8356)

The tourist attraction South Park City, billed asan amazingly authentic restoration of a Colorado mining Boomtown,” was founded in 1959 as a tourist destination for road-trip-era families to get a taste of the Wild West. The site is made up of a collection of real pioneer-made buildings that have been relocated from the area.

Commercial storefronts are along a street in the town of Fairplay, Colorado, in Park County. The streets are covered with snow. Signs: "Bank of Alma" "South Park Sentinel."  Additional information provided by user: "This is actually taken in the South Park City Museum in Fairplay. These buildings are not on their original sites, except the Mayer home." December 31, 1958. (O. Vrtalko/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/X-8362)  south park; fairplay; history; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite;

Commercial storefronts are along a street in the town of Fairplay, Colorado, in Park County. The streets are covered with snow. Signs: "Bank of Alma" "South Park Sentinel." Additional information provided by user: "This is actually taken in the South Park City Museum in Fairplay. These buildings are not on their original sites, except the Mayer home." December 31, 1958. (O. Vrtalko/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/X-8362)

The original South Park City, which became Fairplay, was a center for gold and silver rushers in the late 1800s that began as a collection of mining camps. It was renamed exactly a century prior to the tourist town’s opening in ‘59, taking the new monicker from a mining camp called Fairplay that aimed to give every prospector a fair slice of dirt.

General Chamberlain, Judge Eyestel, General Brown, Mrs. Eyestel and her daughter pose in a camp in South Park (Park County), Colorado. A covered wagon and tents are nearby. (William Gunnison Chamberlain/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/X-19334)  south park; fairplay; history; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite;

General Chamberlain, Judge Eyestel, General Brown, Mrs. Eyestel and her daughter pose in a camp in South Park (Park County), Colorado. A covered wagon and tents are nearby. (William Gunnison Chamberlain/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/X-19334)

And then there’s South Park proper, the name of a flat swath of grassland south of Breckenridge where Fairplay is located. “A wonderful old quilt,” is how the meadow is described by one tourist info site, complete with “wide expanses of ranchland pasture, ribboned by the South Platte River and creeks.”

Panoramic view of the town of Fairplay, Colorado, in Park County. In the foreground, two men stand on a flatbed car attached to other cars of the Denver South Park & Pacific Railroad. Between 1860 and 1880. (Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/X-8327)  south park; fairplay; history; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite;

Panoramic view of the town of Fairplay, Colorado, in Park County. In the foreground, two men stand on a flatbed car attached to other cars of the Denver South Park & Pacific Railroad. Between 1860 and 1880. (Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/X-8327)

Prior to the arrival of white settlers the region was a hunting ground for the Arapaho and Ute tribes. These indigenous peoples were pushed out only 200 or so years ago when precious metals lured pioneers and prospectors into the mountains, setting up camps that became shantytowns that became full-fledged mountain cities, one of which was South Park City. As mineral extraction faded, settlements consolidated into what would become Fairplay and Alma.

A stagecoach is parked outside McLaughlin's livery stable in South Park City (now Fairplay) in Park County, Colorado. Shows a two story wooden building with a shed roof, cornices, brick chimneys and a flat arched entrance. Men stand near horses and a carriage. A sign painted on the side of the building reads: "McLaughlin's Livery & Feed Stable." 1870-1880. (Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/Z-15636)  south park; fairplay; history; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite;

A stagecoach is parked outside McLaughlin's livery stable in South Park City (now Fairplay) in Park County, Colorado. Shows a two-story wooden building with a shed roof, cornices, brick chimneys and a flat arched entrance. Men stand near horses and a carriage. A sign painted on the side of the building reads: "McLaughlin's Livery & Feed Stable." 1870-1880. (Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/Z-15636)

Mining activities were so extensive they spurred the construction of one of Colorado’s first railways, a narrow gauge track called the Denver South Park and Pacific Railway.

A group of passengers pose on the railroad tracks next to a Denver, Leadville and Gunnison train on the Denver & South Park near alpine tunnel. Between 1890 and 1898. (Harry H. Buckwalter/History Colorado/90.156.403)  south park; fairplay; history; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite;

A stagecoach is parked outside McLaughlin's livery stable in South Park City (now Fairplay) in Park County, Colorado. Shows a two story wooden building with a shed roof, cornices, brick chimneys and a flat arched entrance. Men stand near horses and a carriage. A sign painted on the side of the building reads: "McLaughlin's Livery & Feed Stable." 1870-1880. (Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/Z-15636)

If you prefer the old-west-alter-ego to the TV-show-version of South Park, you’re in luck. Saturday also marks South Park City’s annual “living history” weekend, where players act in period mannerisms while dressed in period clothing to bring history to life.

A nonprofit, South Park City relies solely on ticket sales and donations to exist. Much of the former will be supplied this weekend, the destination’s busiest weekend, but the latter might be more elusive.

Despite the obvious fraternity between both fake towns, Matt Stone and Trey Parker have had little involvement in the Old West town. “We’ve never seen a donation from them,” visitor center staffer Veronica Anderson-Vodnar told Denverite.

Shame.

To be fair, South Park City doesn’t sell any memorabilia, Towlie or otherwise, from the show despite questions about the two towns’ connection on a “constant basis.” Still, you can drive a little ways down the road to the Salt Licking Goat Clothing Company to take a photo with your face in a cutout as one of the four main characters. At least the scenery is right.

View of two dilapidated commercial buildings in Fairplay (also known as South Park City, Platte City, and Fairplay Diggings), Park County, Colorado. The large building in back was once a brewery and features cut, coursed stone walls and a false front. The near building is of the same construction, has a bracketed cornice, one large window bay on either side of the recessed doorway, and a plaque under the cornice that gives the date of construction as 1879. Taken July 1958. (Muriel Sibell Wolle/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/X-5778)  south park; fairplay; history; historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite;

View of two dilapidated commercial buildings in Fairplay (also known as South Park City, Platte City, and Fairplay Diggings), Park County, Colorado. The large building in back was once a brewery and features cut, coursed stone walls and a false front. The near building is of the same construction, has a bracketed cornice, one large window bay on either side of the recessed doorway, and a plaque under the cornice that gives the date of construction as 1879. Taken July 1958. (Muriel Sibell Wolle/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/X-5778)

If you do decide to go see the original South Park this weekend, tickets are $10 for people 13 and up, $4 for kids between 6 and 12, and free for kids under 5. There are coupons available online.