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Historic Georgetown, Colorado: A Famous Silver Mining Town

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Georgetown, Colorado - Historic Silver Mining Town

Georgetown, Colorado - Historic Silver Mining Town

Once called the "Silver Queen of the Rockies" this historic silver mining town initially became known because of the discovery of gold. While those gold mines caused lots of excitement and lured many miners to that locale, they did not yield much. The silver that was subsequently discovered was what really put Georgetown, Colorado on the map!

Located only 45 minutes from Denver, this is a town that can definitely take one back to those historic mining days of the mid to late 1800s and see how the relatively affluent miners liked to house and entertain their families. Many of the buildings are authentic to that era, and the scenery is superb!

My mother and I were enjoying an 11-day vacation in Colorado and were trying to experience as much as we could in that period of time. Georgetown turned out to be one of our favorite destinations.

Georgetown, Colorado Photo

Georgetown, Colorado Photo

We had already explored parts of the State of Colorado starting in Colorado Springs and heading on up to Denver and then Estes Park and afterward circling down to Grand Lake with other outings along the way like our day trip to Loveland.

There are many old mining towns in Colorado, but Georgetown particularly drew our interest. At one point in time during the silver boon times of the 1880s, Georgetown rivaled the well-known town of Leadville as being the reputed mining capital of Colorado.

History of Georgetown, Colorado

The town's name originated from one of the Kansas born brothers, George and David Griffith, who first discovered gold there in 1859. Georgetown was named after the older brother, George.

Georgetown was officially established during the time of the Pikes Peak Gold Rush days in 1859 and became the county seat of Clear Creek County in Colorado. The town was situated north to south along Clear Creek between the rising mountains and sits at an elevation of 8,500 feet above sea level.

Pikes Peak Gold Rush Era

As westward expansion was taking place all across America, the lure of gold (and then, silver) drew many people hoping to "strike it rich." While most folks did not ultimately succeed, many at least eked out a living. Those who were more successful brought their families and tried to establish comfortable surroundings.

In Georgetown, during the 1870s, there were about 3,000 residents living there with ever increasing numbers joining them. The successful miners were building churches, shops, a schoolhouse and even an opera house. The buildings still standing today are a testament to their mining success and luring other types of merchants into their growing community servicing many of their needs and desires of the time.

Georgetown, Colorado

Georgetown, Colorado

Colorado Central Railroad

By 1877, the railroad linked Denver and beyond to Georgetown transporting not only the ore from the mines but people back and forth as well. Other innovations included long distance telephone lines being installed in 1879. That was amazing in that it had only been introduced into cities like Philadelphia three years earlier!

Georgetown was not only a thriving town but at one point was second to the population in Denver according to one report that I read. Today tourists can take a short train ride into the mining country of Colorado in this region and enjoy not only the stunning scenery but also understand a bit of our history.

Photo taken in Georgetown, Colorado

Photo taken in Georgetown, Colorado

Boom to Bust

When the Sherman Silver Purchase Act was repealed by Congress in 1893, silver prices plummeted. The population of thousands of people living in Georgetown dwindled to several hundred, and Georgetown almost became a ghost town.

Photo taken in Georgetown, Colorado

Photo taken in Georgetown, Colorado

Hotel de Paris

In its heyday, businesses like the Hotel de Paris thrived. Apparently, the finest of French foods and wines were poured. Today it has been turned into a museum.

The businesses in Georgetown were quite opulent for the day and time especially considering that this was, in essence, a western mining town!

The Hotel de Paris in Georgetown, Colorado

The Hotel de Paris in Georgetown, Colorado


Several movies have been produced using Georgetown as a setting. In 1978, Clint Eastwood starred in the movie Every Which Way But Loose. Another movie was the 1998 film titled "Phantoms." Ben Affleck, Peter O'Toole, and others starred in it, and several of the buildings in Georgetown were featured, specifically the Post Office and the Hotel de Paris. The charming movie, "The Christmas Gift" was also filmed here in 1986 and starred John Denver.

Post office photo in Georgetown, Colo.

Post office photo in Georgetown, Colo.

In addition to strolling the streets of Georgetown, my mother and I also enjoyed seeing some of the surrounding countryside. Wildflowers were in bloom and dotted the fields with vibrant colors. The air was crisp and enjoyable, which was a real treat for us escaping some of Houston's July heat.

Georgetown Lake is adjacent to the town enabling aquatic entertainment. We saw several people fishing the day we were there.

Georgetown, Colorado Lake

Georgetown, Colorado Lake

Thankfully this old mining town did not suffer the fate of becoming a ghost town, although in the 1930s only a few hundred people still lived here.

In the 1950s and beyond, a resurgence of interest in preserving historic sites like this has occurred and Georgetown's proximity to Denver is once again luring visitors to its location.

Cemetery in Georgetown

Cemetery in Georgetown

There is a less crowded ski area nearby, and lovers of wine can sip vintages while on that historic train ride into the mountains.

Lodgings are available, so whether one makes it an enjoyable day trip or has plans to stay for a longer period of time, Georgetown can accommodate one's wishes.

Map showing Georgetown's proximity to Denver

All in all, the time that my mother and I spent in and around Georgetown, Colorado was an enjoyable part of our vacation. We learned a little bit about the history of this famous silver mining town and I got to take pictures of this resplendent site.

Looking north over Georgetown, Colorado

Looking north over Georgetown, Colorado

Look how some use Georgetown Lake in the Winter!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 27, 2018:

Hello Johnk831,

Sorry for the very late response. For some reason this was in my spam folder and I just discovered it. Yes you can quote me as long as you credit me and give a link back to this page. Thanks for asking.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 27, 2018:

Hi Kat Coffield,

You certainly do live in a beautiful place! Thanks for letting us know how much you enjoy living in Georgetown.

Kat Coffield on April 27, 2018:

I live in Georgetown and love it.

Johnk831 on July 17, 2014:

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Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 11, 2012:

Hi daFuj,

How very interesting that you have such close ties to Georgetown, Colorado. You must be very proud to know those facts and that history. Appreciate your comment...especially as a 5th generation Coloradoan. Thanks!

daFuj from Colorado Springs on May 11, 2012:

My Grandmother was born in Georgetown. My great grandfather was a painter and helped to color the "gingerbread" on many Georgetown buildings. We are into our 5th generation of Coloradoans!

I enjoyed your article.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 21, 2012:

Hello Ruthann,

That would have been a most interesting job, that of working in Georgetown, Colorado and learning what you did during that time. Thanks for sharing that information here. Appreciate your comment.

Ruthann Maixner from Kittredge, Colorado on March 21, 2012:

Worked in G'town for the Georgetown Loop for a summer. Often felt like I was back in the day. Awesome architecture. A great feeling to be right up against the mountains. Really cool scenery all around. A super cute town. Learned all about living and mining back in those mining days. Enjoyed being so close to Silver Plume as well - named after the shapes of the silver veins they found.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 20, 2012:

Hello empire mike,

That is saying something if you learned something from reading my hub about Georgetown, Colorado after having actually lived there. Appreciate your comment and will check out your hub on the same subject. Thanks!

empire mike from empire, colorado on March 20, 2012:

hey peggy, i found this as a related hub on one of my hubs. loved your hub, as i spent 20 of my last 22 years living in g'town. have spent the last 2 years living in empire- just around the corner. i learned a lot from you i didn't even know. every which way but loose? didn't know that- never saw it even. will have to check it out! i was able to see some of the shooting of phantoms- ben affleck wasn't even famous then. most of my hubs have been and will be photography in and around g'town, empire, and idaho springs. have only been a member for a couple of weeks. i have even been in g'town TX, as i was born, raised, and spent 36 years there. small world. good job!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 11, 2011:

Hello Prisana,

Nice to know that this hub about Georgetown stimulated your interest in seeing more of it. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. :)

Prisana Nuechterlein from Thailand and Colorado on September 11, 2011:

I've passed by Georgetown more times than I can count, but have never actually explored the area. Thanks for sharing your information and beautiful pictures. Next time instead of passing Georgetown, I plan to stop and take in the place you so beautifully described!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2011:

Hello jim doyle,

What you said is so true. Georgetown, Colorado has that old time America look and feel to it in addition to the great country air and spectacular scenery. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

jim doyle on May 08, 2011:

This is just the place to visit if you want to see what old time america used to look like.There is also the pristine country air and scenery to take in.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 07, 2011:

Hello scheng1,

Georgetown, Colorado is indeed a charming town and early silver mining town. Now most of the money is probably made in casinos. Thanks for the visit and comment.

scheng1 on January 07, 2011:

Very charming town. I guess those folks are very rich if they keep the silver in their family.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 22, 2010:


I agree with you about the scenery in Colorado being beautiful. Happy to hear that you enjoyed these pictures of the silver mining town of Georgetown. Thanks for the comment.

SUSIE DUZY from Delray Beach, Florida on November 22, 2010:

I love this hub. The scenery in Colorado is just beautiful and you have caught the essence of it. Thanks

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 21, 2010:

Hello John Vasquez,

Interesting that the famous silver mining town of Georgetown, Colorado reminds you of Bodie in California. Was it also a silver mining town?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 17, 2010:

Greetings flinsura,

Nice to hear that you enjoyed the pictures taken in the historic town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. Thanks for the comment and wishing you an equally great day to come.

flinsura on October 17, 2010:

Hi peggy thanks for the beautiful pictures in here, and thanks for the awareness about the place... Have a great day ahead.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 09, 2010:

Hi Ethel,

Actually western towns like Georgetown in Colorado would have been on the fancier side of the norm. Most would not have had opera houses, for example. Guess the gold and then primarily the silver mining paid for those extravagances...but nice for the people living there!

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on August 09, 2010:

So reminiscent of my mind's eye idea of an old west town, today

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 06, 2010:

Hello Micky Dee,

There were other videos available showing the car racing on the frozen Georgetown Lake, but I thought that this one was the most fun to view...also seeing it from the perspective of inside the car. Georgetown, Colorado looks like a great place to visit all times of the year. Thanks for the comment.

Micky Dee on August 06, 2010:

Beautiful. I loved the videos. The train ride was superb! The two guys in the car on the lake could not stop laughing after they were done!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 05, 2010:

Hi Mike,

I agree with you that the scenery in Colorado is magnificent. It cannot help but speak to one's heart and soul! I have a friend that goes on vacation to Grand Lake every year and other family members join them at that same time. Great place for a reunion! I'll be writing more about our Estes Park experiences. Of all the places you mentioned, Frazier is one we missed seeing. Many Texans head to Colorado each year to escape some summer heat and others go a different time of the year to ski. Thanks for your nice comment.

Mike Lickteig from Lawrence KS USA on August 04, 2010:

Peggy, this was another beautiful look at wonderful places in the U.S. I have only been to Georgetown a couple times, but I have been a frequent visitor to Denver, Grand Lake, Frazier, Estes Park and other towns in the area. I love the little mountain towns with their proximity to the mountains--the scenery is magnficent and speaks to my heart and soul. I haven't been there in about five years, but hopefully I can make my way back again someday soon.

Thanks for the wonderful look at an area I truly love.


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 04, 2010:

Hello nifty@50,

Happy to hear that this hub about Georgetown, Colorado might have helped you with your vacation planning. Lots to do and see in Colorado! Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 04, 2010:

Hi Prasetio,

Nice to be able to share places like the historic Georgetown, Colorado with you. Am sure had we spent even more time there I could have written more details...but at least you have a flavor of the place. Thanks for your nice comment as always.

nifty@50 on August 04, 2010:

Thanks Peggy, you've given my wife and I some ideas for our next Colorado trip! Never been to George town, but will see it soon. Great hub!

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on August 04, 2010:

Peggy, you know that I love travel and places topic. You always amaze me with useful information and beautiful pictures. You give us something complete. Great hub. I wish I could visit this place someday. As usual, I Vote this up.


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 04, 2010:

Hello LaMamaLoli,

If seeing these historic buildings and scenery around Georgetown, Colorado inspired you to someday visit...you are in for a real treat. There is much, much more to Colorado! It truly is a gorgeous State! Thanks for the visit and comment.

LaMamaLoli from London on August 04, 2010:

WOW! What a beautiful hub. I have always wanted to visit Colorado since I read What Katy did next, now I definately have to go!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 04, 2010:

Hello Springboard,

Yes, Georgetown, Colorado certainly has a unique place in our country's history especially with regard to silver mining. Around 1,000 people now live there permanently, but tourists swell the numbers at least during the day. That being said, it did not seem at all crowded to us. Thanks for taking a look and leaving a comment.

Springboard from Wisconsin on August 04, 2010:

I am in awe of that place. Wow! You and your mom have me envious. Definitely a very unique, but very American town.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 04, 2010:

Hi Hello, hello,

I have to admit that the landscape is fabulous and seeing Georgetown in that setting was a treat. Will have to work on more hubs from Colorado. The Rocky Mountains make much of Colorado a dream landscape. Happy to hear that you really enjoyed this particular hub. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 04, 2010:

Hello Granny's House,

Thanks for the compliment on the pictures. They are always my favorite type of souvenir and I got my fair share of them while visiting Georgetown in Colorado.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on August 04, 2010:

Oh, Peggy, I was in 7 heaven seeing all these wonderful old buildings and the great landscape. Thank you so much for showing it.

Granny's House from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time on August 04, 2010:

Peggy, Great job on the hub and the pics. I always love the photos you take.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 03, 2010:

Hello agusfanani,

Happy to have been able to show the historic mining town of Georgetown, Colorado to you and its relation to those movies you saw. Thanks for the comment.

agusfanani from Indonesia on August 03, 2010:

Thanks for sharing this story, I saw some of those sites on films but now I'm lucky to see the pictures as well the stories behind them.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 03, 2010:

Hi Billy,

Visiting Georgetown in Colorado was just part of a one day visit to that general locale but we really enjoyed it. Would be fun to take that train ride and actually visit one of those mining caves. The scenery is splendid and that we loved! Glad you enjoyed this hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 03, 2010:

Hi Pamela99,

Colorado is truly a gorgeous State and I can easily see the attraction for wanting to live there. One of my very best friends (also maid of honor in our wedding almost 40 years ago) lives in that State and when my mother and I vacationed on this very trip, we got to visit with her.

Thanks for reading this hub about Georgetown, the famous and historic silver mining town and leaving your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 03, 2010:

Hi dahoglund,

Thanks for being "Johnny on the Spot" commenting on this Historic Georgetown, Colorado hub. For sure Colorado is a beautiful state! Will show what we enjoyed of it while on vacation in various hubs. Have more to write.

billyaustindillon on August 03, 2010:

Peggy Georgetown's restoration to past glories looks like it is taking you back to the old Gold Rush days. Would be great as part of summer trekking holiday. As always your pictures and background information is superb. I did enjoy those old Clint Eastwood movies with the Orangutang. I can see Clint Eastwood here in more his Western get up too.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 03, 2010:

Peggy, Your pictures and desctiptions of Colorado make me want to move there. They are gorgeous.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on August 03, 2010:

You make Colorado look very attractive. Of coarse it always was. Trouble is that all of us mid-westerners wanted to move to those places and over populate them. You have some very nice pictures as you always do.

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