All Aboard! The Georgetown Loop Railroad® was one of Colorado’s first visitor attractions. Completed in 1884, this spectacular stretch of three-foot narrow gauge railroad was considered an engineering marvel for its time. In 1959, the centennial year of the discovery of gold in Georgetown, the Colorado Historical Society (today’s History Colorado) created the Georgetown Loop Historic Mining & Railroad Park®. The Society, over time, negotiated a donation of mining claims and mills, and 978 acres of land. Rail line construction began in 1973, with track and ties donated by the Union Pacific Railroad.
1864: After the collapse of the gold-mining era, silver is discovered in the area and Georgetown booms again, bringing experienced miners from California and Nevada who realize previous mining attempts in the town and surrounding mountainside had been weak, leading to the formation of the Argentine Mining District.
Timeline: Georgetown Summer 1859: Following the great gold rush, the Griffith brothers from Kentucky (George and David) traveled to Central City. Finding the area overcrowded, they continued on following the south fork of Clear Creek toward the gold discoveries at present Idaho Springs. Within two days, on June 17, George Griffith hits pay dirt. The news travels quickly and a small and growing settlement begins, known as “George’s Town.”
October 1871: Representatives from Georgetown meet with officials of the Colorado Central Railroad to discuss a better way to transport the millions of dollars of ore coming out of the region.
In 1973, the Colorado Historical Society began restoring the railroad as part of its 978-acre Georgetown Loop Historic Mining & Railroad Park®.
1866: By year’s end, Georgetown is growing faster than any other Colorado community. Small hotels are opening up for tourists but the town still lacks a railroad.
Timeline: The Railroad December 1872: The first railroad line up Clear Creek Canyon reaches Black Hawk. The construction, funded by bonds from Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties, was organized by William A.H. Loveland, a “fifty-niner” and proponent of the Colorado Central railroad.
1877: The railroad reaches Idaho Springs in June, thanks to financier Jay Gould who controlled the Union Pacific (UP) and supplied the necessary funds to complete both the route to Idaho Springs and the later route to
Published on May 8, 2014
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