Jefferson County Neighborhoods:
City of Golden
10th & Washington (City Hall) • 303-384-8000
The second Territorial Capitol of Colorado (1862-67) is NOT a “suburb” of Denver. The pioneers that settled Golden brought an amazing combination of skills and enthusiasm. Clear Creek passed through the valley surrounded by North and South Table Mountains, Mount Zion and Lookout Mountain—a strategic location to profit from outfitting gold seekers heading west to the mines. In 1859, it was appropriately named Golden City.
The Golden Transcript newspaper was established in 1866. Railroad transportation in 1870 supported profitable manufacturing and mining enterprises. By 1882, there were 120 "business houses" listed, including 53 fashion and food shops and 14 beer & liquor saloons.
Golden City was incorporated as "Golden" in 1871. Voters adopted a city council - city manager form of government in 1947, a Home Rule Charter in 1967, and a one percent annual growth limit in 1996.
The 2001 budget of $35 million was funded by a 3% sales tax and real estate property mill levy of 12.340. The City employs 134 full-time and 24 part-time people. The Golden Fire Department has 6 employees and 50 volunteer firefighters. The Police department employs 55 and is served by 14 sworn reserve officers.
Clear Creek White Water Park was built by Golden along Tenth Street, west of Washington Avenue next to Lions Park. The 800-foot course for kayaks and canoes offers drops and pools of different eperience levels. No fees are charged for this most unique recreation opportunity that draws as many onlookers as sportsmen.
There are 7,000 postal addresses within the Golden city limits of ten square miles. The federal zip code 80401 and 80403 serves 26,000 "Golden" addresses within 200 square miles of unincorporated Jefferson County, including the I-70 Corridor and north to the border to Boulder. The population within the 10-square mile city boundary is 18,000. Visitors are attracted by picturesque historic preservation and excellent restaurants, shops, recreation, hotels and museums.
Golden Visitors Center
10th & Washington Avenue 303 279-3113 www.goldencochamber.org
Business leaders established the Golden Chamber of Commerce in 1920 to promote the charms of their city and prevent University of Colorado from taking control of Colorado School of Mines. They convinced the city to pave Washington Avenue, improve the water system and install ornamental lighting and better street signs.
The Chamber office moved from the municipal center in 1953 to the Astor House, the second floor of store fronts to old houses to a permanent home at the 4500 square foot Golden Visitors Center in 1997.
There are 500 members of the Greater Golden Chamber of Commerce in 2002. The Visitors Center serves thousands of tourists and local businesses. When 25% of the downtown was vacant in 1991, business leaders worked with the Golden Civic Foundation* to restore the historic quality of Washington Avenue.
*The Golden Civic Foundation was established by community leaders in the 1960s "to enrich the community when tax revenues could not fund the betterment of Golden." Donations and grants are distributed to many charitable and cultural organizations and fund economic development program. Leaders found appropriate buyers of Golden High School (American Mountaineering Center), Table Mountain Inn and Golden Hotel. It organized and raised funds for the Visitors Center and other promotion of the town. The annual dinner/dance/silent auction is Golden’s most popular annual social event. www.GoldenCivicFoundation.org
822 12th St. 303-278-3557
Seth Lake built one of the first handcut stone hotel west of St. Louis at 12th and Arapahoe in 1867 for $2000. The stately structure was "free of pests associated with wood structures" to house industrialists, tourists and business owners.
After Lake died in 1888, several owners operated the hotel as a boarding house. In 1892, a young widow, Ida Goetze, purchased Astor House for back taxes. She and her children operated the "Boston House" for boarders until the 1950s.
When the city threatened to demolish Astor House for a parking lot in 1971, Golden Landmarks Association volunteers led a crusade to "Save the Astor House" and Golden voters required the city to preserve it in 1972. Astor House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. All Golden region historical sites listed on the City, State, and National registers, and a collection of historic photos are available at www.GoldenLandmarks.com
Clear Creek History Park
11th and Arapahoe St. • 303-278-3557 www.clearcreekhistorypark.org
This "living history of the 1870s" is the result of devoted volunteers relocating historic structures from Golden Gate Canyon to the south bank of Clear Creek in 1994. The park offers a glimpse of homestead life in restored family cabins, the 1876 Guy Hill School, an outhouse and barns. Historic replicas of a chicken coop (for heirloom Dominque breed), blacksmith shop, smokehouse, Arapahoe Teepee, root cellar, vegetable garden, corral, hitching post, fencing, and a prospector’s sluice box operation were established 1997-2001. A pole barn stage, nestled into the creekside provides a natural amphitheater for old-time hoe-downs, cowboy poetry, storytelling, history demonstrations and reenactments.
Golden Pioneer Museum
923 10th St. • 303-278-7151
In 1924, the Mount Lookout Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution initiated a mission "to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved American Independence… by acquisition and protection of historical spots, erection of monuments and by the preservation of documents and relics…"
Jefferson County and the federal Works Progress Administration funded exhibits and maintenance of a museum in the unoccupied North Golden School 1939-41. The "Jefferson County Museum" was restored on the first floor of the old unoccupied courthouse in 1954 and moved to a wing of the new Golden Municipal Cneter in 1958.
The Golden Pioneer Museum found a permanent home in 1996 in the former county library building, between city hall and a new county library at 10th and Cheyenne Streets. Exhibits include an excellent collection of Golden culture from 1859 to 1930, minature models of the town, fire department history, and extensive geneology and photography collections.
Foothills Art Center
809 15th (at Washington) • 303-279-9470 www.FoothillsArtCenter.org
This unique, community-based, cultural center combines the best of art and historic architecture. Foothills is recognized internationally for six outstanding, juried exhibits of distinguished artists from around the world annually. The Center also organizes studio classes, workshops and lectures, activities centered around photography, music, and poetry and annual events.
The building began as a Presbyterian Church in 1872 in the elite "Courthouse Hill" neighborhood. A parsonage was added in 1892. Additions over the next 50 years retained the original architecture. The congregation moved to a larger church in 1958 and leased the building to Unitarians who hosted community art shows and seminars.
Foothills gradually became a "living art center" managed by community leaders that organized exhibits and raised funds to acquire the building in 1968 for $30,000. Volunteers donated time, elbow grease and money to repair and renovate the center and hire staff.
The historic home next door, Unger House, was built 1899. Ownership changed often until 1983 when it was acquired to become the Foothills Gallery II. First Presbyterian Church and Unger House were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
1111 Washington • 303-277-0377
Volunteers opened this unique museum in 1990 with the gift of 100 quilts from the private collection of Eugenia Mitchell. Staff and volunteers create changing exhibits, provide demonstration lectures, and manage a reference library and gift shop.
Colorado School of Mines
Guggenheim Hall, 1500 Illinois St. • 303-273-3300
When a preparatory school for boys was founded in Golden in 1869, the immediate demand was learning to test ores and fuels. The school became Colorado School of Mines, the first higher education institution adopted by the legislature when Colorado became a state in 1876. A four-year degree replaced short term assaying education in 1883. Enrollment surpassed 300 by 1908 when students first whitewashed the "M" insignia on Mount Zion that was electrified in 1932.
By 1984, the natural resources curriculum had shifted to a diversified school of engineering and applied sciences. Students and faculty are involved with the most advanced technology, economics and engineering projects in the world, including renewable energy and space commerce. Today’s 3200 students (23% women) are scientists who also develop business plans and construct practical prototypes appropriate for private industry.
Students are required to take 18-credit hours in the humanities and social sciences. A complete athletic program, band, choir, ROTC and many social clubs are available. The surrounding community joins students and faculty at the "Green Center" for lectures, conferences and performances by the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra.
Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum
12th and Maple St. • 303-273-3815 www.Mines.edu/academic/geology/museum
The museum’s first curator was Arthur Lakes who discovered tons of dinosaur bones near Morrison in 1874. The museum offers a world-class display of 75,000 precious metals, fossils, gemstones and artifacts. There are also exhibits of Golden area geology and a cave replica of the Guild Gold Mine.
National Earthquake Information Center
1711 Illinois Street •303-273-8500
Scientists record seismic activity from 3,000 stations to determine the size and location of earthquakes worldwide, 24-hours a day. The U.S. Department of Interior, Geological Survey staff collects and distribute information to international agencies and scientists. A 45-minute tour is available to the public by reservation.
American Mountaineering Center
When the Beaux Arts style Golden High School was built in 1924, it was considered to be "the finest public school building in its convenience of arrangement, completeness and artistic finish." It is the oldest secondary school in continuous use in Colorado and reminds many visitors of their high school days. The 37,000 square foot building served as a Junior High School 1956-88.
The historic landmark stood vacant until the Golden Civic Foundation acquired it from the city and negotiated with the American Alpine Club and Colorado Mountain Club to acquire it in 1993. Results of a $4.5 million restoration are exquisite offices and meeting rooms for AAC and CMC, as well as Colorado Outward Bound, American Mountain Guides Association, Climbing for Life, and Colorado Fourteeners Initiative.
The Center has the largest mountaineering library in the western hemisphere, a recreational climbing gym and 375-seat auditorium for lectures, seminars and concerts. Today’s student takes classes in mountaineering, first aid, climbing, photography, wilderness survival, cross country skiing, flora & fauna identification, avalanche awareness, telemark skiing and winter camping.
National Geographic Society is helping to develop the only mountaineering museum in the United States in the two-story high school gymnasium. The building was listed with the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
Jefferson County Government Center
100-900 JeffCo Pkwy, 80419 • 303-279-6511 www.co.Jefferson.co.us
Four county courthouses have been built in Golden. The first was on Courthouse Hill on Washington Avenue in 1877. The second was built at the east edge of the Colorado School of Mines campus in 1953. The Hall of Justice was built adjacent to administration building in 1966.
Today’s Jefferson County Government campus was established along 6th Avenue in the 1990s. The glass-domed administration and courts building was nicknamed "Taj Mahal" by citizens. JeffCo Open Space, Coroner and Emergency Management utilize other existing buildings. New structures were built for the District Attorney, Social Services, County Sheriff and Jail.
The 2002 population of the largest county in Colorado is 525,000, including 220,000 in unincorporated areas. Jefferson County is controlled by three County Commissioners that reside in North, Central or South districts but are elected at large. The Commissioners appoint volunteers to boards and commissions that make recommendations while decisions of the Board of Health and Board of Adjustment are quasi-judicial. JeffCo has 3,000 employees and the 2002 budget was $377 million.
Read more about Greater Golden Attractions (outside the city limits).