Georgetown, Colorado

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Town of Georgetown, Colorado
Town
Georgetown as seen from Interstate 70
Georgetown as seen from Interstate 70
Location in Clear Creek County and the state of Colorado
Location in Clear Creek County and the state of Colorado
Coordinates: 39°42′45″N 105°41′45″W / 39.71250°N 105.69583°W / 39.71250; -105.69583Coordinates: 39°42′45″N 105°41′45″W / 39.71250°N 105.69583°W / 39.71250; -105.69583
Country United States
State Colorado
County Clear Creek County Seat[1]
Established 1859
Incorporated (town) November 15, 1885[2]
Government
 • Type Territorial Charter Municipality[1]
Area
 • Total 1 sq mi (2.7 km2)
 • Land 0.9 sq mi (2.5 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 8,530 ft (2,600 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 1,088
 • Density 1,088/sq mi (403/km2)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code[3] 80444
Area code(s) Both 303 and 720
FIPS code 08-29735
GNIS feature ID 0181892
Highways I-70
Website Town of Georgetown
Only remaining Colorado Territorial Charter Municipality

The historic town of Georgetown is a Territorial Charter Municipality that is the county seat of Clear Creek County, Colorado, United States.[4] The former silver mining camp along Clear Creek in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains was established in 1859 during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. The federally designated Georgetown-Silver Plume National Historic District comprises Georgetown, the neighboring Town of Silver Plume, and the Georgetown Loop Historic Mining & Railroad Park between the two towns. The town population was 1,088 at the U.S. Census 2000.[5] The Georgetown Post Office has the ZIP Code 80444.[3]

The town sits at an elevation of 8,530 feet (2,600 m), nestled in the mountains near the upper end of the valley of Clear Creek in the mountains west of Denver along Interstate 70. Although a small town today, the town was a historic center of the mining industry in Colorado during the late 19th century, earning the nickname the "Silver Queen of Colorado". It has evolved into a lively historical summer tourist center today with many preserved structures from the heyday of the Colorado Silver Boom. The town stretches roughly north-south along Clear Creek, hemmed in by the mountains, with the historic downtown located at the southern (upper) end and modern development located at the northern (lower) end of town.

History[edit]

View west along Sixth Street in downtown Georgetown. The historic Masonic Temple in shown in the foreground.
Grace Episcopal Church built 1870, now overlooks Interstate 70

The town was founded in 1859 during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush by George and David Griffith, two prospectors from Kentucky. It was named "Georgetown" in honor of the older of the two brothers. Although founded during the gold rush, the town grew rapidly following the discovery of silver on September 14, 1864 by James Huff at a site approximately 8 miles (13 km) up the canyon in the Argentine Pass area. In the following years, thousands of mines were dug in the mountains surrounding the town and the town quickly grew into a center for prospectors and mine workers in the surrounding mountains. Located in the valley floor, the town itself was not a mining camp but a center of commerce and entertainment for miners in the surrounding mountains.

The historic Alpine Hose Firehouse No. 2 in Georgetown.

Georgetown was incorporated on 1868-01-10, and a few months later it wrested the county seat from nearby Idaho Springs, which is a much larger community today. The historic courthouse dates from this year. Georgetown is the only Colorado municipality that still operates under a charter from the Territory of Colorado. The building of the narrow gauge Colorado Central Railroad up the canyon from Golden in the 1870s further increased the central position of the town. Although most of the railroad was later removed, a portion remained between the town and Silver Plume and is operated today as a tourist railroad called the Georgetown Loop. The town experienced its greatest growth and prosperity during the Colorado silver boom of the 1880s when it rivaled Leadville to the west as the mining capital of Colorado. At one time, before the collapse of the silver boom in 1893, the town population exceeded 10,000 and a movement arose briefly among local citizens to move the state capital there from Denver.

The frontier gambler, Poker Alice, lived for a time in Georgetown and in several other Colorado communities where she was considered an expert player and dealer.[6]

Following the collapse of the Silver Boom, the town population dwindled. In the 1950s the town began to experience a small renaissance as an après-ski watering hole for the thousands of skiers who passed through the town on their way down from the mountains at the ski areas near Loveland Pass and Guanella Pass. Small craft shops began to set up businesses in the once decrepit 19th century storefronts. By the late 1960s, the establishment of a museum in one of the historic hotels had made the town a popular summer tourist destination where visitors could relive the experience of walking among structures from the mining boom.

The historic downtown was used as the location for the filming of a scene from the 1978 movie Every Which Way But Loose starring Clint Eastwood. The scene features the climactic showdown between Philo Beddoe (Eastwood's character) and the Black Widows motorcycle gang. The town was also used in the 1998 film Phantoms (film) which included the historic Hotel de Paris, as well as the colonial-style post office.

The made-for-TV movie The Christmas Gift, starring John Denver, was also filmed in Georgetown in 1986. The film is about a widower and his daughter who go to Georgetown for vacation and business and find the true meaning of Christmas.

The Sonic Bloom Music Festival[7] takes place every June in Georgetown. It moved to Georgetown in 2011 and features premier electronic artists.

Georgetown, CO

Geography and climate[edit]

Georgetown is located at 39°42′45″N 105°41′45″W / 39.71250°N 105.69583°W / 39.71250; -105.69583 (39.712381, −105.695845)[8].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2), of which, 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (7.77%) is water.

Climate data for Georgetown, Colorado (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 36.7
(2.6)
38.4
(3.6)
44.3
(6.8)
50.3
(10.2)
60.7
(15.9)
71.4
(21.9)
78.2
(25.7)
75.3
(24.1)
68.3
(20.2)
56.8
(13.8)
45.1
(7.3)
36.2
(2.3)
55.1
(12.8)
Average low °F (°C) 14.7
(−9.6)
14.5
(−9.7)
19.7
(−6.8)
25.2
(−3.8)
34.0
(1.1)
41.2
(5.1)
48.3
(9.1)
45.7
(7.6)
38.0
(3.3)
29.4
(−1.4)
21.4
(−5.9)
14.6
(−9.7)
28.9
(−1.7)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.83
(21.1)
0.87
(22.1)
1.72
(43.7)
2.36
(59.9)
2.01
(51.1)
1.60
(40.6)
2.36
(59.9)
2.37
(60.2)
1.59
(40.4)
1.26
(32)
0.90
(22.9)
0.89
(22.6)
18.76
(476.5)
Snowfall inches (cm) 12.5
(31.8)
11.4
(29)
20.6
(52.3)
22.0
(55.9)
6.5
(16.5)
0.2
(0.5)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
2.1
(5.3)
7.1
(18)
11.6
(29.5)
13.2
(33.5)
107.3
(272.5)
Source: NOAA[9]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 802
1880 3,294 310.7%
1890 1,927 −41.5%
1900 1,418 −26.4%
1910 950 −33.0%
1920 703 −26.0%
1930 128 −81.8%
1940 145 13.3%
1950 329 126.9%
1960 307 −6.7%
1970 542 76.5%
1980 830 53.1%
2000 1,088

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 1,088 people, 503 households, and 278 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,146.2 people per square mile (442.2/km²). There were 670 housing units at an average density of 705.8 per square mile (272.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.96% White, 0.18% African American, 0.74% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.18% Pacific Islander, 1.10% from other races, and 1.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.41% of the population.

There were 503 households out of which 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.7% were non-families. 34.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.67.

In the town the population was spread out with 19.0% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 33.9% from 25 to 44, 31.0% from 45 to 64, and 8.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 109.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 112.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $42,969, and the median income for a family was $53,333. Males had a median income of $35,952 versus $28,068 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,180. About 3.4% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.1% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.

See also[edit]

Local publication[edit]

Georgetown Public School
  • Historic Georgetown: Centennial Gazette 1868−1968

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  2. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  3. ^ a b "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. December 14, 2006. Retrieved December 14, 2006. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Kathy Weiser, "Poker Alice - Famous Frontier Gambler"". legendsofamerica.com. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ http://sonicbloomfestival.com/2013/
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 

External links[edit]