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Jefferson County Neighborhoods:
12th Street Historic District

11th - 13th Streets, Arapahoe to Maple in Golden, Colorado

12st Street buggy rideAfter the initial gold rush in 1859, prominent founders of Golden built their homes on Courthouse Hill (near Foothills Art Center) and west of downtown along 11th, 12th, and 13th Streets. As a supply center for pioneers, Golden was Territorial Capitol (1862-67) and became the Jefferson County seat in 1876 when Colorado entered the union. Golden was a prosperous industrial town with Clear Creek providing water for farming, milling, smelting, manufacturing, and generating electricity. Clay deposits provided material for brick making.

Kelly MansionColorado School of Mines, churches, manufacturing enterprises, and Coors Brewery anchored the town in the 1870s and 80s. The homes were built for civic leaders, dentists, druggists, doctors, School of Mines professors, and merchants within walking distance of shopping, theatre, and community events. Mines students and laborers at White Ash coal mine and Parfet/Rubey clay pit laborers rented rooms in some of the larger homes.

owner George WestSome of the most prominent homeowners were George West at 1018 12th St. (founder of the Golden Transcript), Dr. James Kelly at 920 12th St. (physician & elected to Territorial Legislature), George Kimball at 1123 12th St. (Superintendent of Colorado Central Railroad and Golden Post Master), Joseph Dennis at 1106 12th St. (JeffCo Sheriff, Golden Police Chief), Ida Louise Goetz at 1107 11th St. (operated Astor House as a boarding house), Simon Parshall at 1014 12th St. (city alderman, owned Denver Express Trolley Line), Charles Welch at 1105 12th St. (elected to Territorial Legislature & introduced bill to establish Colorado School of Mines in Golden).

Red HouseA trend to demolish or severely modify “old” homes during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s threatened the historic integrity of the neighborhood. Some courageous citizens led a campaign to preserve their town. In 1972 Golden voters approved saving the historic Astor House Hotel at 12th and Arapahoe and required the city to maintain it as a museum.

Picket fencedCitizens (led by Steve Tarlton, Anna Shuck, Tom Atkins, and Gene and Arlone Child) helped convince City Council to adopt a historic preservation ordinance and appoint a citizen board to manage it. They worked on listing the neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places from 1972 until 1983. Of 46 homes in the neighborhood, 35 are listed voluntarily. Citizens continued to steer City Council toward a heritage tourism economy by establishing Clear Creek History Park along 11th Street in 1992.

For a deeper understanding of American lifestyles during the 19th century, see the Golden Pioneer Museum’s artifacts of domestic life, antique musical instruments, vintage clothing, ranching and commercial history. The museum is between City Hall and the JeffCo Library at 923 Tenth Street 303-278-7151 www.GoldenPioneerMuseum.com

Organized: Neighbors communicate often via email, enjoy block parties, and an annual potluck.

Traditions: Nearly everyone participates in the annual holiday candlelight walk, Buffalo Bill Days, and other town celebrations. Real estate values: $450,000 to $800,000. Public JeffCo schools: Golden High, Bell Middle, and Mitchell Elementary.

Amenities: Stable neighborhood where generations grow up there for 20+ years; walking distance to theatre, restaurants, retail, public library, etc.

Minus: Colorado School of Mines continues to buy properties for expansion at higher than list prices.

Assisted by Arlone Child and Janine Sturdavant; Golden Landmarks Association; “Historic Preservation in Golden Colorado” Resource Guide and “Golden Old & New” by Cathleen Norman.

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