Photograph of the Park County Courthouse in Fairplay, which was built in 1874. The town of Fairplay was founded by gold prospectors in 1859, and it became the county seat in 1867. After most of the town burned to the ground in 1873, the native red sandstone was used to build the new courthouse. This courthouse has been called "The Court That Never Adjourned" because of an incident which occurred there in 1880. By the late 1870s, the courts in Fairplay had become unpopular with the citizens because there had been a number of excessively light sentences handed out including acquittals of individuals who appeared to be guilty of serious crimes. It was even suspected that bribery was involved. Then in 1879, John J. Hooper shot and killed an unarmed man named Thomas Bennett because he was drunk and angry about a drainage ditch that had flooded his liquor store. So the following year when Judge Thomas M. Bowan sentenced Hooper to only eight years in prison for the cold blooded murder ...
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