Originally from Marquette, Michigan, Maureen Sloan worked as a counselor at a dude ranch in the Sangre DeCristos Mountains in Southern Colorado when she was in college. She fell in love with Colorado, and after graduation in 1963, moved to Colorado Springs where she taught history and English for three years.
Having been a skier since she was four years old, she began volunteer ski patrolling on weekends at Breckenridge Ski Area. There she met her future husband Jim Nicholls, who was a ski school instructor. In the winter of 1965-66, Maureen rented a house on Ridge Street with five other teachers. That January, Jim and Maureen went on their first date and married five months later. Maureen became pregnant in 1969, and three of their daughters, Kristie, Carrie and Jill were born in Fairplay, the nearest hospital.
The Nicholls purchased the historic C.A. Finding Hardware building on Breckenridge Main street and later moved into a house built in 1899 at 224 South Main Street. Maureen continued her teaching career at Summit High. With little day-care in Summit County, Maureen gave up teaching except for local history classes at Colorado Mountain College. During this time Maureen helped with the interpretation of the 1883 Dillon Schoolhouse for the Summit Historical Society.
Living so close to Main Street, Jim and Maureen became acquainted with many old-timers and took an interest in their stories of days gone by. The couple helped clean out old barns and attics and became the recipients of discarded antiques and photographs, then regarded as junk. Maureen opened Quandary Antiques, a shop that would allow her to combine the love of history with artifacts. She also began photographing Breckenridge in the early 1970s. These photographs along with photos she had from the 1880-1930 are treasured possessions.
Maureen and her family saw many changes in Summit County including the opening of Swan Mountain Road, a bigger grocery store, and clothing stores. The Nicholls were also active in local celebrations such as Uller Dag and No Mans Land.
Maureen continues to live in Breckenridge and actively shares her stories. We thank her for preserving the history of Summit County through her countless hours of volunteer work on preservation of her beloved Breckenridge and Summit County.