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Gilpin County

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  • Gilpin County

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    Gilpin County, named for William Gilpin, Colorado’s first territorial governor, was established in 1861 as one of the original seventeen counties of the Colorado Territory.
    Gilpin County
  • Central City, c. 1880

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    John H. Gregory's gold discovery in 1858 led to the establishment of Central City. By the time of this photo, the city had emerged as one of the cultural hubs of Colorado's mining country.
    Central City, c. 1880
  • Central City Opera House, c. 1935.

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    The Central City Opera House was built by mine workers to provide entertainment for the city’s residents in the late nineteenth century.
    Central City Opera House, c. 1935.
  • Gold Mining in Gilpin County, c. 1860-69

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    Placer mining operations like the one shown here produced more than $240,000 in gold in Gilpin County during the 1860s, but came at a heavy environmental cost. This photo shows a stream bed that has been rearranged, and the hillside in the background was cleared of trees to build the houses and wooden sluices in the foreground.
    Gold Mining in Gilpin County, c. 1860-69



Black Hawk, Colorado, “Black Hawk, Colorado – Complete Casino List,” 2016.

Board of County Commissioners, “A Gilpin County Primer for Living in the High Country, Gilpin County, Colorado,” Gilpin County, 2005.

Central City/Clear Creek Superfund Site, “Updated Fact Sheet,” Central City/Clear Creek Superfund Site, 2015.

Colorado Geological Survey, “Gilpin County: Central City & Idaho Springs District,” Colorado Geologic Survey, Colorado School of Mines, 2015.

Genealogical Trails History Group, “Gilpin County, Colorado Genealogy and History,” 2016.

Gilpin County Planning Commission, “Gilpin County Master Plan,” 2008.

Gilpin Historical Society, “Gilpin County History,” n.d.

Gilpin Historical Society, “History of Black Hawk,” n.d.

Gilpin Historical Society, “History of Central City,” n.d.

Charles W. Henderson, Mining in Colorado: A History of Discovery, Development, and Production, US Geological Survey (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1926).

Lincoln Hills Cares, “A Proud Heritage,” Lincoln Hills Cares, n.d.

Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, “Gilpin County,” History Colorado, n.d.

Paul K. Sims, A. A. Drake, Jr. & E. W. Tooker, “Economic Geology of the Central City District Gilpin County, Colorado,” Geological Survey Professional Paper 359, US Department of the Interior, Atomic Energy Commission, United States Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1963.

Virginia McConnell Simmons, The Ute Indians of Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2000).

SWCA Environmental Consultants, “Documentation of Historic Properties along the Gilpin Tunnel Rail Corridor, Gilpin County, Colorado,” Prepared for Gilpin County, August 31, 2009.

US Environmental Protection Agency, “Site Information for Central City, Clear Creek,” updated August 9, 2016.

Additional Information: 

Caroline Bancroft, Gulch of Gold: A History of Central City, Colorado, Rev. Ed. (Boulder, CO: Johnson Books, 2003).

Black Hawk

Central City

Terry Cox, Inside the Mountains: A History of Mining Around Central City, Colorado (Boulder, CO: Pruett Publishing, 1989).

Samuel Cushman, Central City, Black Hawk and Nederland: From The Earliest Settlement Until Statehood, 1859–1876: With a Description of The Gold Mines Of Gilpin County, Colo. (Aurora, CO: John Osterberg, 1991).

Samuel Cushman and J. P. Waterman, The Gold Mines of Gilpin County, Colorado: Historical, Descriptive and Statistical (Central City, CO: Register Steam Printing House, 1876).

Gilpin County

Thomas Maitland Marshall, ed., Early Records of Gilpin County, Colorado, 1859–1861, University of Colorado Historical Collections, Vol. II, Mining Series, Vol. I, ed. James F. Willard (Boulder: University of Colorado, 1920).