Rachel's Place

Rachel’s Place, originally known as Rache’s Place, is the town’s saloon and gambling parlor. After standing many years in the mining settlement of Alma, it was moved to South Park City in 1958. It was owned and operated by Mr. L.M. Palenbaim, known as Rache to his friends. This establishment was in operation until 1937. A drunken sign painter changed the name, by mistake, to Rachel’s Place many years ago. Old Rache was said to have a sense of humor and never had the sign repainted. Other stories tell of Rache returning all of his liquors and replacing them with soda pop and cigars during the days of The Women’s Temperance Movement, more popularly known as Prohibition.

The building has a false front which makes it seem more massive and luxurious than it actually is. This type of architecture was used in towns of this era to disguise one-story buildings. The swinging doors creak as one enters the establishment. The eye catches a glimpse of the beautiful brass chandeliers and a player piano plays a honky-tonk tune. A front bar with a scuffed brass rail beckons one to rest his feet where miners, lawmen, and prospectors once did while quenching their thirst. The bar came from the old Silver Dollar in Manitou Springs. The original Rache back bar and part of the front bar is in use in the Fairplay Hotel today. The other part of the front bar was destroyed by fire when it was in storage. On the back wall a mounted big-horned sheep head with massive curved horns looks down at you like he’s guarding his place of prominence. The other walls contain mounted deer and elk heads with multi-pointed racks attesting to the big game hunting in the South Park Area. The furnishings were made possible by The Twelve Mile Club, a group of prominent Colorado Springs fishing enthusiasts.

One can imagine what it was like in those days when the saloon, resplendent in Victorian decor, was the major meeting and recreation place. Here, people could drink, gamble and be entertained by a “Lady Of The Evening.” Fortunes would be won and lost at the gaming tables with gold dust and coins changing hands several times during an evening. Many times a professional gambler would “take all” from an unsuspecting miner.

The separate area closed off from the bar is the main gambling area, complete with a Faro Layout. This was a popular gambling game in which players bet on the cards to be turned up from the top of a dealer’s pack. A closed off area separated the serious players from the bar patrons which was probably a good arrangement. The Faro table was transported from the East by oxcart and has seen thousands of dollars across its surface. Genuine Birdcage dice and decks of well-handled cards can also be seen.