Today I’m going to share memories of my trip to Colorado some years ago. I’ve posted about this before, but I’m feeling nostalgic and thought y’all might enjoy seeing these photos. There's also a sad and beautiful legend I'll share with you.
This panoramic view of Georgetown is from Wikipedia Commons. My husband snapped most of the other photos on the day we traveled west from Denver into the mountains. This was a research trip for me. I wanted to see the places I would write about in Dashing Irish. Our first stop was Georgetown, a lovely gem adjoining Georgetown Lake (in the distance in this photo.)
Founded as a mining camp in 1859, Georgetown grew to be known as “Silver Queen of the Rockies.” Nestled between granite peaks, it housed mine owners and managers in lovely Victorian homes, many of which still exist. The miners who labored to make owners rich lived farther up in Silver Plume. More about that later. First here are the photos I treasure of Georgetown.
Main Street, view one
Main Street, view two
The Hotel De Paris, founded in 1875 by Frenchman Louis Dupuy, was a first class restaurant and hotel during silver boom days. Known for its fine French cuisine, it attracted wealthy patrons from all over the country.
Georgetown saloon and restaurant where we ate lunch. I wish I could erase that trash bin! The bar looked like it might be original and the tin ceiling was beautiful.
That’s me with the turquois shirt and long brown hair. Oh, for the good ole days!
Lovely old Victorian house
I love this little beauty!
Then we headed up to Silver Plume, the miners’ town. I found the original of this photo on Wikipedia Commons. Since I wanted to use it in the book trailer prepared for me by Shirley Hicks, I painted out automobiles, light posts, etc. and changed the color of the snowy white street to look like hot summer sun shining down on the town. I hope this is somewhat the way it looked in 1875, minus miners, horses and wagons.
The Plume Mine: Was Silver Plume named for the mine or visa versa? I can’t answer that. There are several legends about how the "Living Ghost Town" – also called a “Sleeping Town” because so few people live there year around – got its name. Another legend concerns Clifford Griffin who moved to Colorado with his brother from New York state after his fiancée tragically died the night before their wedding. His brother came to own the famous 7:30 Mine (where the day shift started an hour later than the usual 6:30). Clifford managed the mine and was loved by 7:30 miners for his kindness and generosity. Each evening he also entertained them, sitting on a cliff near the mine entrance – 1500 feet above Silver Plume – and playing his violin. Thanks to high valley acoustics, the entire town could listen to him play.
One evening, after a beautiful concert, it is said the residents heard a gunshot. Miners raced up the trail to find Clifford Griffin shot through the heart, in a grave he'd dug himself. He left a note asking to remain where he lay, because that's where he'd been happiest since his wife [fiancée?] died. The town honored his wishes and erected a 10-foot-tall granite monument atop his grave, which still stands. To see the monument and some spectacular views visit: http://nathanabels.blogspot.com/2010/03/silver-plume-griffin-memorial-hike-mega.html
Original false-fronted buildings along Silver Plume main street
Stone jail ca.1875
For more wonderful pictures of Silver Plume, go here: http://www.rockymountainprofiles.com/Silver_Plume_Colorado_Ghost_Town.htm
To read about the Georgetown and Silver Plume of my imagination, I invite you to read Dashing Irish – Book 2 in the Texas Devlins trilogy.
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/lk8w55d