Historic Places

Historic buildings abound in Georgetown district

Colorado’s rich history is being preserved through the efforts of locally- and nationally-designated historic places. Each month this year, the MMAC Monthly takes a region-by-region look at the many properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the mountain communities in Clear Creek, Gilpin, Boulder and Larimer counties.

The passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966 established the National Register and the process for adding properties to it. For a property to be eligible, it must meet at least one of four main criteria involving architectural styles, association with various aspects of social history and commerce, ownership and design/construction.

In 1859, George Griffith discovered gold east of Idaho Springs leading to the eventual formation and development of the town Georgetown. The area became an important mining district after large silver deposits are discovered nearby in 1864. For a time, Georgetown was the world’s leading producer of silver, and a thriving boom town until the silver panic of 1893 when the population dwindled. In 1950s, the economy began to rebound as tourists stopped on ski trips. Extensive preservation efforts have preserved many of the towns mining era buildings and Victorian homes.

The following properties, in addition to the entire Georgetown/Silver Plume Historic District, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

HISTORIC.HoseHouse.X-1300Alpine Hose Company No. 2
The town’s second volunteer brigade erected this two-story, false-fronted wood frame building with its distinctive 60-foot bell tower in 1875. Small windows under the bell were for the fire watchmen.

Georgetown Loop Railroad
Built in 1877 to haul silver ore, the Colorado Central Railroad also enjoyed popularity as a tourist attraction. The Devil’s Gate high bridge, considered to be an engineering feat and the most famous element of the route allowed climbing trains to circle back over the lower track as the railbed rose from Georgetown to Silver Plume. It is now an operating passenger train.

Grace Episcopal Church
The Church building was designed by local resident D. H. Joy, and construction began on the structure in 1869 by Cornish miners. The interior of the church reflects the wealth of Georgetown in the 1870s. The original pews, still in use today, are made of walnut. The pipe organ, constructed by Denver’s C. Anderson, was purchased in 1877. Still in use, it is the oldest operational organ in the state.

Hamill House
The most ambitious residential structure in Georgetown, the Country Style Gothic Revival house is the result of additions in 1878-79 to a relative modest dwelling built in 1867 for Joseph Watson, whose brother-in-law, William Arthur Hamill, acquired the house in 1874. By 1878 Hamill had a significant fortune from speculation in silver mining and added a new dining room, conservatory and rear wing as well as bay windows, gas lighting, cold running water and central heating. Since the 1970s, the property has been operated as a museum by the Georgetown Historical Society.

HISTORIC.HoteldeParis.X-1302Hotel de Paris
One of Georgetown’s most impressive commercial structures, it was originally constructed as a bakery in the 1870s. Louis Dupuy, a native of France, subsequently purchased the building and about 1889 created the present façade as part of the building’s conversion into a hotel/restaurant. In 1953, the Colorado chapter of the National Society of Colonial Dames purchased the building as a museum.

Lebanon Mill/Ore Processing Mill & Dam
Located on Republican Mountain, between Georgetown and Silver Plume, the facility was a key component in the early development and prosperity of Georgetown. The mill was patented in 1872 by Julius G. Pohle, Superintendent of the Lebanon Mining Company.

McClellan House
The 1875 residence is an unusual 1¾-story front gabled roof building and one of the earliest buildings in Georgetown. Window and door frames and the large wooden quoins were planed and shaped by Erskine McClellan in his wood-working shop that stood at the rear of the property. McClellan was an important local figure who served in a variety of civic posts and builder of Georgetown’s McClellan Opera House.

Julius G. Pohle/Mine Manager/Toll Houses
Although the exact date of construction is unknown, Julius G. Pohle, Superintendent of the Lebanon Mining Company purchased the Gothic Revival style residence in 1878. The 1½-story wood frame building was moved several yards from its original location in the 1960s when it was threatened by demolition due to the construction of I-70.

Georgetown in Clear Creek County

Alpine Hose Company No. 2
Location: 507 5th Street
Date Listed: National Register, Jan. 25, 1973

Georgetown Loop Railroad
Location: Georgetown to Silver Plume
Date Listed: National Register, Dec. 18, 1970

Grace Episcopal Church
Location: Taos St., between 4th and 5th streets
Date Listed: National Register, Aug. 14, 1973

Hamill House
Location: Argentine and 3rd streets
Date Listed: National Register, May 31, 1972

Hotel de Paris
Location: Alpine Street
Date Listed: National Register, April 28, 1970

Lebanon Mill/Ore Processing Mill & Dam
Location: Off I-70, 1 mile southwest of Georgetown
Date Listed: National Register, May 6, 1971

McClellan House
Location: 919 Taos Street
Date Listed: National Register, Dec. 5, 1972

Julius G. Pohle House/Mine Manager’s House/Toll House
Location: Adjacent to I-70, south side of Georgetown
Date Listed: National Register, Dec. 18, 1970

Originally published in the February 2014 issue of the MMAC Monthly

Photos courtesy of Denver Public Library/Western History Collection


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