Colorado History and Genealogy Project

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 Georgetown, Clear Creek County, Colorado 1871

The principal town and county seat of Clear Creek County, is pleasantly located in a beautiful valley on South Clear creek, about twelve miles from its confluence with Fall River, and eight miles from its source, at the base of the main range. This valley is surrounded on three sides by mountain ranges, which, at some points, reach an elevation of 2,000 feet above the valley, Leavenworth Mountain on the south, Republican on the west, and Summit on the east. It is nearly half a mile in breadth, level and fertile. Within the city limits the two principal branches of South Clear creek unite and form this beautiful stream, which furnishes abundant water-power for reduction works and machinery, and to the citizens an ample supply of pure, cold sparkling water for all purposes. The city limits include an area of 637 acres, 22 rods and 12 yards. The streets run north and south, and east and west, intersecting each other at right angles, and crossing Clear creek and its branches on substantial bridges. The buildings are chiefly wooden; the lumber from the pine forests that abound on the mountain. and in the valleys of Clear Creek county. Many of the residences and business blocks are large, well-constructed, neatly painted, and tastefully ornamented. The streets are paved with gravel and pebbles from the bed of the creek; entirely free from mud at all seasons, and in excellent condition. Altogether, Georgetown is one of the most beautiful and prosperous mining towns in Colorado, the surrounding scenery unsurpassed in grandeur and loveliness. The climate is unusually mild, considering the elevation and proximity of the snow range; the belt of mines in the surrounding mountains inexhaustible in richness, and their extent unknown, and the inhabitants orderly, intelligent and enterprising.

The town is connected with the plains by excellent wagon roads, in good condition for travel at all seasons. The Colorado Stage Co.'s coaches transfer passengers from this place to Denver, a distance of forty-eight miles, in about eight hours; to Idaho Spring, a distance of thirteen miles, in two hours, and Central, eighteen miles, in less than four hours, and soon a railroad will link this mining centre to the great commercial centers of the east. The district and town was first settled in 1860 by the Griffith family from which the town and district take their names; the town from, George Griffith, the first recorder of the mining district. The first survey and plat of the town site was made by David Griffith in 1860. This was lost and a second survey made by Charles Hoyt, Esq., an employee of the Bullion Silver Mining Co., in the fall of 1867, under the direction of the citizens. This survey defines the boundaries, blocks and streets of today, and is incorporated in the town charter granted by the Territorial legislature, in an approved January 10, 1868, signed by C. H. McLaughlin, speaker of the House of Representatives, William Webster, president of council, and Frank Hall, acting governor.

Previous to this charter, the authorities in the town and district were the officers of the Miners' Court, acting under the miners' code of laws, and the county officials since the county organization. Under the charter, the governing powers are a police judge, who is ex officio mayor; two selectmen from each ward (two wards), a city marshal, city clerk, attorney, surveyor, assessor, collector, treasurer and street commissioner. These are elected, a part annually and the balance bi-annually, by the legal voters of the town. The police judge is also president of the board of selectmen. The first police judge and selectmen were as follows:

Police Judge, Prof. Frank Dibben;
Selectmen-First Ward, W. W. Ware, Charles Whitner;
Second Ward, H. K. Pearson, John Scott.

The present city officials are:

Police Judge, C. A. Whitford;
Selectmen-First Ward, A. B. Rea, H. C. Chapin;
Second Ward, A. D. Cooper, J. M. Smith;
City Clerk, C. B. Patterson;
City Attorney, Frank A. Pope;
City Marshal, J. F. Wyman;
Surveyor, Albert Johnson;
Assessor and Collector, C. E. Fish;
Treasurer, W. H. Cushman;
Street Commissioner, A. H. Whitehead.

The first settlers in this town and district prospected and mined for gold only, and soon discovered that the surrounding belt of lodes were not rich in ores bearing the precious yellow metal. The existence of silver ores in Colorado was not fully established at this time, and the miners believing the large quantities of mineral discovered nearly valueless, many of them abandoned the district, which was but thinly populated until the important discovery was made, in 1864, that these ores wore exceeding rich in silver.

This changed the course of events. The abundance and richness of the silver ores of Clear Creek county, and Griffith district especially, created unusual excitement among miners and prospectors, who rushed to these mines in numbers unprecedented since the first discovery of gold in the mountains. From this period dates the real success of silver mining in Colorado, and the permanent growth and prosperity of Georgetown, which has already secured the position of second mining and mercantile town in the Territory, and will, no doubt, very soon rank among the first in wealth, number of inhabitants, and mining, milling and mercantile importance. We spent considerable time in Georgetown in the summer and fall of 1870, and know, from actual observation, that the climate is unusually mild for its elevation, and exceedingly pleasant and healthful; the location of the town and its surroundings unsurpassed in grandeur and beauty of scenery; the silver lodes in the adjacent mountains of unusual richness, and the inhabitants enterprising and prosperous. Tourists will find Georgetown a pleasant place of resort, and mining operators and capitalists a good point for safe and profitable investments.

Georgetown Business Directory | Georgetown Gazetteer

Rocky Mountain Directory & Colorado Gazetteer

Source: Rocky Mountain Directory and Colorado Gazetteer, 1871, S. S. Wallihan & Company, Compilers and Publishers, Denver, 1870.

 

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