Georgetown, Colorado

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Georgetown, Colorado
Town of Georgetown[1]
Georgetown as seen from Interstate 70.
Georgetown as seen from Interstate 70.
Location of the Town of Georgetown in Clear Creek County, Colorado.
Location of the Town of Georgetown in Clear Creek County, Colorado.
Georgetown is located in the United States
Location of the Town of Georgetown in the United States.
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
CountyClear Creek County seat[1]
IncorporatedNovember 16, 1885[2]
 • TypeTerritorial Charter Municipality[1]
 • Total1.098 sq mi (2.845 km2)
 • Land0.997 sq mi (2.583 km2)
 • Water0.101 sq mi (0.262 km2)
8,530 ft (2,600 m)
 • Total1,118
 • Density1,121/sq mi (433/km2)
 • Metro
2,963,821 (19th)
 • CSA
3,623,560 (17th)
 • Front Range
Time zoneUTC−07:00 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−06:00 (MDT)
ZIP code[4]
Area code(s)Both 303 and 720
FIPS code08-29735
GNIS feature ID0181892
The only surviving
Colorado Territorial Charter Municipality

The historic Town of Georgetown is the territorial charter municipality that is the county seat of Clear Creek County, Colorado, United States.[1] The town population was 1,118 at the 2020 United States Census.[3] 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 Historic District comprises Georgetown, the neighboring town of Silver Plume, and the Georgetown Loop Historic Mining & Railroad Park between the two towns. The Georgetown Post Office has the ZIP code 80444.[4]

The town sits at an elevation of 8,530 feet (2,600 m) above sea level, nestled in the mountains near the upper end of the valley of Clear Creek in the mountains west of Denver along Interstate 70. Although population was only about 1,000 at the 2010 census, 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. Georgetown is now a part of the Denver–Aurora–Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Front Range Urban Corridor.


Georgetown, 1867
View west along Sixth Street in downtown Georgetown, with the historic Masonic Temple in the foreground.
Grace Episcopal Church, built 1870, now overlooks Interstate 70
The historic Alpine Hose Firehouse No. 2 in Georgetown
Georgetown Public School

The town was founded in 1869 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.............

Silver, the main product from the district, was not discovered until 1864. John Henry Bowman (1850–1900) came to Silver Plume, Colorado, in 1883, then moved to Georgetown, Colorado, in 1885. A machinist, he worked as foreman of the Miners Sampling Works. Later, he was superintendent of the American Sisters Mine, a company in which he owned stock. American Sisters Mine was a consolidation of Two Sisters Mine and Native American Mine, silver mines located on Columbia Mountain in upper Clear Creek County, Colorado. In 1891–1892, John Bowman and his wife, Lavinia Potts Bowman (1848–1901) built what later became known as the Bowman/White House in Georgetown (a historical site today). There they raised two daughters, Iorria and Mary Ellen ("Mellie"). In 1899, Iorria married J. E. Carnal and moved to Ohio.

For the most part, Mellie (1876–1969) stayed in the family home after she married John James ("J.J.") White (1870–1932) in 1901. She inherited half of her father's share in the American Sisters Mine and served on the Georgetown Library Association from 1911–1922.

Mellie's husband, John James White, Sr., bought the remaining stock of what was now called the Two American Sisters Mine. He managed construction of a dam and power plant north of Georgetown, and built a new shaft house and mill at the mine site. White, an attorney, practiced law, served as the Police Judge and Mayor of Georgetown from 1900–1902, and was President of the Georgetown school board. The Bowman-White House still remains, and is registered as a historical site in Georgetown, Colorado.[5]

Georgetown was incorporated on January 10, 1868, and a few months later it rested the county seat from nearby Idaho Springs, which is a 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 which includes a Police Judge as Mayor and a Board of Selectmen instead of a Town Council. 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. Furthermore, as the front range ski areas grow in popularity, the town makes for a good midway-stop for the returning skiers coming through I-70. More winter sports traffic comes from the nearby Otter Mountain, and in the winter the towns hotels house many skiers.

The made-for-TV movie The Christmas Gift, starring John Denver, was 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.

Other movies filmed at least partly in Georgetown include the made-for-TV movies "Perry Mason: The Case of the Reckless Romeo, and "Perry Mason: The Case of the Skin Deep Scandal"; and the feature film "Switchback" with Danny Glover and Dennis Quaid; and at least one scene from "The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox", with Goldie Hawn and George Segal. In addition, it has been the site for the filming of various commercials, and some music videos, including part of John Tesh's "A Romantic Christmas."[7]

The Sonic Bloom Music Festival[8] takes place every June in Georgetown. It moved to Georgetown in 2011 and features premier electronic artists.

On February 19, 2020, Parker the Show Dog was sworn in as honorary mayor of Georgetown. Local Colorado celebrity Parker the Snow Dog, received worldwide attention for becoming the new honorary mayor of Georgetown. Parker is the official mascot of Loveland Ski Area, an avid Broncos fan and philanthropist and Camp Therapy Dog for Rocky Mountain Easter Seals. Parker the Snow Dog was voted unanimously to be the Honorary Mayor of Georgetown, by the Town of Georgetown Selectmen on February 12, 2020. Parker's website is

Key scenes from the 1978 Clint Eastwood movie Every Which Way but Loose were filmed in Georgetown.


Georgetown is located in the valley of Clear Creek. Interstate 70 and U.S. Route 6 run along the western edge of the town, with access from Exit 228. It is 45 miles (72 km) east to Denver and 22 miles (35 km) west across the Continental Divide to Silverthorne.

At the 2020 United States Census, the town had a total area of 703 acres (2.845 km2) including 65 acres (0.262 km2) of water.[3]


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
Average low °F (°C) 14.7
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.83
Average snowfall inches (cm) 12.5
Source: NOAA[9]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census[10] 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]

  • Historic Georgetown: Centennial Gazette 1868−1968


  1. ^ a b c d e "Active Colorado Municipalities". Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  2. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-09-02.
  3. ^ a b c d "Decennial Census P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data". United States Census Bureau, United States Department of Commerce. August 12, 2021. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "ZIP Code Lookup". United States Postal Service. December 14, 2006. Archived from the original (JavaScript/HTML) on November 4, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2006.
  5. ^ Bowman/White Family Papers, WH32, Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library.
  6. ^ "Kathy Weiser, "Poker Alice - Famous Frontier Gambler"". Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  7. ^ Personal knowledge from living there.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.

External links[edit]