Skip to main content

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 31; former US Route 6 and Colorado State Route 91 in Georgetown

Upon leaving the near ghost town of Silver Plume I headed east on US 6/I-70 further into Clear Creek Canyon.  My next destination was close by at much more lively Georgetown.



This article serves as the 31st entry in the 2016 Summer Mountain Trip Series.  Part 30 regarding former US 6 and CO 91 in Silver Plume can be found below:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 30; former US Route 6 and Colorado State 91 in Silver Plume

As noted in Part 29 and Part 30 Loveland Pass is one of the oldest transportation corridors through the Rockies.  Loveland Pass traces it's origins back to a wagon road constructed through Clear Creek Canyon by William A.H. Loveland in 1863-1864.  The Loveland wagon road up Clear Creek Canyon to Loveland Pass was built to take advantage of the numerous mining stamp mills that popped up during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush.

Georgetown was founded in 1859 during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush by George and David Griffith out of Kentucky.  The name "Georgetown" was taken in honor of the older George Griffith.  Georgetown notably was founded during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush but grew rapidly upon the discovery of silver during September 1864 in a canyon south of Argentine Pass.  By 1880 the population of Georgetown would ascend to over 3,000 residents.

By 1879 the Colorado Central Railroad became interested extending the line from Georgetown west through Silver Plume to Leadville.  The solution to solve the 6% grades of Clear Creek Canyon was to reduce the grade to 3% by use of heavy switchbacks.  This series of switchbacks and curves would come to be known as the Georgetown Loop.  The Georgetown Loop was complete by 1884 which is when the first trains in Silver Plume began to arrive.  The Georgetown Loop and Colorado Central ultimately would only make it a couple miles west of Silver Plume. 

During the Auto Trail era in Colorado the road over Loveland Pass by way of Georgetown and Silver Plume appeared not to be a major corridor of travel.  No signed highways appear over Georgetown, Silver Plume, and Loveland Pass on the 1924 Rand McNally Regional Highway Map.  The Midland-Roosevlt Midland Trail is shown to climb out of Clear Creek Canyon via Berthoud Pass (future US 40) via Empire.



Georgetown, Silver Plume, and Loveland Pass appears on the route of CO 91 on the 1927 Rand McNally Highway Map of Colorado.  CO 91 in it's original form began at US 40S in Leadville.  CO 91 from Leadville headed northeast via Fremont Pass and Loveland Pass to US 40/CO 2 in Empire.  CO 91 was aligned on what is now Loop Drive and Argentine Street through Georgetown. 


During the 1930s US 40 through clear Creek Canyon was improved which is evidenced by bridge work on Colorado Boulevard in Idaho Springs having date stamps of "1931."  By 1937 US 6 was extended from Greeley, CO to Long Beach, CA according to USends.  US 6 absorbed the entire route of CO 91 which aligned it through Georgetown, Silver Plume, Loveland Pass, and Fremont Pass which can be seen on the 1939 State Farm Insurance Map of Colorado.  By 1940 US 6 would be rerouted from Fremont Pass to Vail Pass but Loveland Pass would remain as part of the highway.  US 6 would remain on Loop Drive and Argentine Street until it was shifted onto a multiplex with I-70. 


My walking tour of Georgetown began just off of former US 6 on Brownell Street at the Georgetown Fire Department building.  I entered Georgetown via US 6/I-70 Exit 228. 



A look east on Sixth Street near the intersection of Argentine Street.


Some of the street scenery on Sixth Street.














The notable Hotel de Paris is located on 6th Street between Taos Street and Griffith Street.  The Hotel de Paris opened during 1875 and was once famous for it's French oriented dining.



Some various street scenes in Georgetown.




The Buckley Garage located at the corner of Rose Street and Seventh Street is adorned with an older Conoco marque.


Upon leaving Georgetown I returned to US 6/I-70 eastbound.  My next stop was in downtown Idaho Springs.

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 32; former US Route 40 in Idaho Springs

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Vague Original Southern Terminus of US Route 91 in the Californian Mojave Desert

One of the more intriguing mysteries of the early US Route System in California is where the original south terminus of US Route 91 was intended to be located in the Mojave Desert.  This blog is a little different than my usual behind the wheel fare and explores why US Route 91 ultimately ended at US Route 66 in Daggett instead of Bannock. What ultimately became the US Route System was first discussed during the American Association of State Highway Officials ("AASHO") during their annual 1924 meeting.  Ultimately the AASHO recommended to the Department of Agriculture to work with the States to develop a system of Interstate Highways to replace the many Auto Trails in use.  The Joint Board on Interstate Highways was ultimately commissioned by the Department of Agriculture and it's branch agency the Bureau of Public Roads in March of 1925.  The Joint Board on Interstate Highways first met in April of 1925 and decided on the new interstate road network would be known a

Where the hell is Hill Valley? (US Route 8 south/US Route 395 east)

Recently I made a visit to Universal Studios near Los Angeles.  While on the back lot tour I came across a piece of infamous movie-borne fictional highway infamy; the location of town square of Hill Valley, California on US Route 8/US Route 395. The above photo is part of the intro scene to the first Back-to-the-Future movie which was set in 1985. To anyone who follows roadways the signage error of US 8 meeting US 395 in California is an immediately notable error.  For one; US 8 doesn't even exist anywhere near California with present alignment being signed as an east/west highway between Norway, Michigan and Forest Lake, Minnesota.  To make matters worse US 8 is signed as a southbound route and US 395 (a north/south highway) is signed as an eastbound route.  At minimum the cut-out US 8 and US 395 shields somewhat resemble what Caltrans used in the 1980s. Assuming Hill Valley is located on what would have been US 395 by 1985 what locales would be a viable real world analog? 

Legend of the Ridge Route; a history of crossing the mountains between the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley from wagon trails to Interstates

Over the past two decades I've crossed the Interstate 5 corridor from Los Angeles north over the Sierra Pelona Mountains and Tehachapi Range to San Joaquin Valley what seems to be an immeasurable number of times.  While Interstate 5 from Castaic Junction to Grapevine via Tejon Pass today is known to most as "The Grapevine" it occupies a corridor which has been traversed by numerous historic highways.  The most notable of these highways is known as the "Ridge Route."  This article is dedicated to the Ridge Route and the various highways that preceded it.  The Ridge Route is a 44 mile section of highway which was completed in 1915.  The Ridge Route originally stretched from Castaic Junction north over Liebre Summit and Tejon Pass to the tiny community of Grapevine.  In spite of a roadway that once utilized nearly 700 curves the Ridge Route is generally considered far ahead of it's time and one of the first modern highways constructed for automotive use.