Georgetown, CA "Pride of the Mountains"September 2000
Arriving with a party of prospectors from Oregon, a young man named Hudson is credited with discovering the rich diggings in Georgetown in the summer of 1849. It is said that Hudson dug out more than $20,000 in gold within a six-week period. Soon after, a company of sailors lead by George Phipps began working the stream at a spot below the present townsite where they uncovered rich placers and took out a fortune in gold. The camp, known as Georgetown got its name from George ... but which George? The sailor George Phipps or the popular miner George Ehrenhaft? At any rate, Georgetown received its name from a George! There were tents, shacks and canvas structures lining the camp creek. Prospects were great and the camp was booming. It continued to grow and prosper and then, in 1852, the tent city was totally destroyed by fire. The fire didn't close down the camp ... instead the local folk set out immediately to rebuild their camp. They decided to make sure that they would never again lose their town to fire ... so they moved the townsite from the Empire Canyon to its present location today. The streets were much wider than before to keep any future fires from jumping. Many of the new buildings were made of brick and stone and also fitted with fireproof iron doors. When they were finished, Georgetown was a thriving and beautiful town. It quickly rose to prominence as one of the richer camps in the region and came to be known as the "Pride of the Mountains." By 1855, this remote town didn't lack for any social or cultural institutions. A local school provided education, and the church took care of their need for religion. A town hall, Masonic Hall, Sons of Temperance Hall, and of course, several saloons and gambling halls, provided meeting places for the local folk. In addition, a theatre, three hotels, four restaurants, two meat markets, four blacksmiths, two jewelry stores, three drug stores, eight clothing stores, one tinshop, one soda factory, nine grocery stores, two banking establishments, two express companies, and one cigar store; all providing goods, services, and entertainment that made Georgetown a pleasant place to live in during the Gold Rush. Today, a number of small communities (most dating back to the Gold Rush) dot the Georgetown Divide; Georgetown, Coloma, Cool, Garden Valley, Kelsey, Quintette, Greenwood, Pilot Hill, Lotus, Mosquito and Volcanoville. Georgetown celebrates its colorful history at their "Founder's Day Parade" held each year in September.