Colorado’s Gaming Towns: Central City

Year Listed: 1998

County: Gilpin County
Construction Date: 1800s
Threat When Listed: Development

Located along Clear Creek and surrounded by recreational and cultural opportunities, Central City is one of the most historic mining towns in Colorado and the nation. The city has been seeking ways to “diversity and revitalize the city while maintaining its historic integrity.”  To achieve this end, the city became a Preserve America Community and a National Historic Landmark District.

Central City has ordinances in place that have prevented large-scale changes to their historic district but the city suffered a lack of economic vitality. In cooperation with the city and their Main Street organization, Colorado Preservation, Inc. assisted in building a consortium of nearly sixty individuals and organizations (the Central City Summit Partners) that contributed to a revitalization plan, portions of which have already been instituted. Colorado Preservation, Inc. assisted the local Main Street organization in its successful bid to become an official Main Street community in 2004 and encouraged an application to the National Park Service for assistance in developing a plan for preservation and economic recovery. The application was successful and led to a charrette in August 2004 to create solutions for Central City’s major challenges including preparation for the opening of a major new road into the city that year. The City of Central, Main Street Central, the National Park Service, the Central City Opera House Association, and Colorado Preservation, Inc. are currently working to implement the plan.

Additional Links:

Central City
Central City Opera

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Featured Project

4 Bar 4 Ranch

Homesteaded in 1895 by Dick McQueary to provide a stop for the Georgetown Stage Line, the 320-acre 4 Bar 4 Ranch has strong ties to Grand County and Colorado's heritage. The Georgetown Stage Line traveled on the road through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch from Idaho Springs to Hot Sulphur Springs over Berthoud Pass. In 1895 a roadhouse and stage stop were constructed on the ranch. The hotel and barn were constructed using trees from the Ranch property, and the hotel remained open for travelers coming over Berthoud Pass by horseback and wagon until 1913. With the coming of the automobile, the roadway over Berthoud Pass and through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch was considered an integral part of the Trans-Continental “Midland Trail” highway. Following the closing of the stage line, the ranch continued to host travelers until 1912 or 1913 when it was purchased and converted into a Ford Motor Company . Ford vehicles were sold here until 1917, when Harry Larkin purchased the ranch site. Today emergency efforts are underway to ensure it survives through the winter. Donations are in need. To learn more, contact Jennifer Orrigo Charles at

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