For the next daytrip suggestion, I’ll concentrate on historic Georgetown. A long time ago when my husband and I were dating, we’d go skiing then stop on the downhill drive from Eisenhower Tunnel in Georgetown for dinner. By the time we ate a bite, the heavy traffic had cleared away and it was smooth driving into Denver.
I have not been back there in over forty years until recently. I saw nothing of the town from I-70. It sits nestled against the mountains. Thank goodness the Visitors’ Center welcomed me at the end of the exit ramp. I found maps, books, and other information suitable for any visitor within the Georgetown area. I spoke a long time with a volunteer about what to see. She named streets to drive in order to view quaint Victorian houses.
I thought I had her directions down pat. However, a roundabout skewed my sense of direction and I took at least two wrong routes. One led into the country; another down a dirt road. I finally circled back and settled on the last possible street. The town hosts no stoplights. But, be aware the speed limits are slow.
She was right. The old mining town offered lovely pastel painted Victorian homes. Historic Georgetown, Inc. was created to kick off, support, promote, and combine efforts of preserving the history and heritage of the Georgetown/Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District (designated in 1966). These two small communities, according to a past president of the Colorado Historical Society, represent “the story of the American west of the 19th century.” The organization purchased the Hamill House in 1971, restored it, and turned it into a museum. Since that time, they added a miner’s cottage, a professional man’s house, a merchant’s home, and a log cabin.
Joseph Watson built the first Hamill, house, a small cottage, on the property in 1867. He sold it all to his brother-in-law, William Arthur Hamill who enlarged the home in 1879. Hamill made his fortune buying and selling mines throughout the area. He also owned newspapers, wagon roads, and railroads. He was a banker and a politician.
After losing a part of his fortune in the silver crash, Hamill moved to Denver. His wife remained in Georgetown. After he died in 1904 and she in 1910, the family slowly dispersed. The final family members left in 1915. A few return occasionally for a visit. The most well- known of those is Mark Hamill of “Star Wars” fame. For a virtual tour of the Hamill House Museum, visit here.
Plan a Georgetown daytrip. Mark your calendar and attend the Georgetown Victorian House and Garden Tour July 21, 2012. You can order $20 adult and senior/children $15 tickets online at here. The cost of a Hamill House tour is: adults $4, senior/students $3, and families $10.
For information on Georgetown’s nearby Guanella Pass Scenic & Historic Byway, log onto http://www.georgetowncolorado.com/attractions.htm. The magnificent views differ depending on the time of year you enjoy this twenty-three mile hiking, biking, and driving route through the Pike and Arapaho National Forests.