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Trip Report: Georgetown, Colorado

Basic Information

  • Name: Georgetown
  • Where: Colorado, USA
  • Founded: 1859
  • Population: 1,034
  • Elevation: 8,530 feet
  • More Info: Official Georgetown webpage

Picture from Georgetown, Colorado

Narrative

From Colorado Springs, Georgetown is about a two hour drive and is located off of I-70 just west of Denver.  It is an old mining camp that sits in isolated mountain valley.

I had been to Georgetown before after hiking up the nearby 14-thousand foot peak Mt. Bierstadt.  The town sits in a beautiful valley in the middle of the Front Range at an altitude of 8,530 feet.  Here is a picture of the town from Guanella Pass that rises above Georgetown that is the access road to the hike up Mt. Bierstadt:

This past summer I took my family to Georgetown to go ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad.  Riding the train in the morning gave us the afternoon to go explore this charming little town.  The city of Georgetown was founded in 1859 as one of the many mining camps west of Denver.  As the silver mines played themselves out in Georgetown the railway that connected the town with Denver became a popular tourist train for people looking for a mountain excursion.

Now long after the railway quit running from Denver, tourism remains the main industry of Georgetown, but this time the tourists come by car via I-70.  Most of the tourists are like me who come to ride the train to nearby Silver Plume and back and then explore the downtown historic district:

Picture from Georgetown, Colorado

Picture from Georgetown, Colorado

The vast majority of the buildings in Georgetown have been beautifully restored which shows how much pride the locals have in maintaining this town:

Picture from Georgetown, Colorado

Most of the buildings in downtown Georgetown are made of solid brick, but there are a few that are still made of wood and continue to stand after all these years:

Picture from Georgetown, Colorado

Other buildings in downtown reflect the historic nature of this town such as these old horse stables which is where the early visitors to the city would have kept their horses instead of parking cars like visitors do today:

Picture from Georgetown, Colorado

The most famous building in Georgetown is the Hotel de Paris:

Picture from Georgetown, Colorado

The history of this building is quite fascinating.  The Hotel de Paris was founded by a Frenchman named Adolphe Francois Gerard who was born in Alençon, France in 1844.  At age 20 he left a seminary he was enrolled in to eventually end up in New York City at age 22.  He ended up enlisting in the Army and traveled West to Wyoming where he deserted.  It is believed the regimented military life was not compatible with the Frenchman.  Due his desertion he took an assumed name of Louis Dupuy and in 1869 worked as a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News in Colorado’s various mining camps.  His reporting inspired him to become a miner himself.

Louis Dupuy

In 1873 Dupuy was badly injured in a mine explosion where he saved another miner’s life.  The citizens of Georgetown raised enough money for Dupuy to rent a bakery.  In a few years he saved enough money to buy the building and open the Hotel de Paris.  By the 1890s Dupuy had expanded the building and his business boomed to where wealthy tourists from Denver would take the train to Georgetown to experience the French cuisine he cooked and the luxurious atmosphere of the hotel.  You can read more about Dupuy and the hotel at this link.

Across from the Hotel de Paris is a restaurant and the town’s old police station:

Picture from Georgetown, Colorado

Here is a closer look at the police station:

Picture from Georgetown, Colorado

Another beautiful building in Georgetown is the city’s Post Office:

Picture from Georgetown, Colorado

Near the Post Office is another scenic building, the John Tomay Memorial Library:

Picture from Georgetown, Colorado

Another interesting building in downtown is the Alpine Hose Firehouse #2:

Picture from Georgetown, Colorado

Conclusion

There are many more historic buildings to see in Georgetown, but probably the best thing about the town is the people.  Just about every business you walk into the proprietors are genuinely happy to see you visiting their town.  There are plenty of other historic towns in Colorado that would be a much better place to visit if locals took as much pride in their town and were as welcoming as those in Georgetown.  Hiking up Mt. Bierstadt, riding the loop railway, and checking out downtown Georgetown makes for a great weekend trip in Colorado.

Have you been to Georgetown, Colorado before?  Do you have any pictures or stories about the town that you would like to share?  Please consider adding a trip report in the On-Walkabout Forum.

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