Golden, Colorado: Where the West Lives

Since it is in our backyard, we decided to visit the Golden History Center, Astor House and the Clear Creek History Park.  The Golden History Center is located off of 10th and Cheyenne Street in downtown Golden and has lots of historical artifacts dating from the Gold Rush to present day.

Founded during the Gold Rush in 1859, Golden had grown from a dusty mining camp to the capitol of the Colorado territory from 1862 until the capitol seat was moved to Denver in 1867.  The first Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil was found near Golden, it is home to Buffalo Bill’s grave and museum and of course home to the largest single-site brewery on earth, Coors.

During Prohibition beer production stopped and Coors started new lines of business to keep their employees working. Coors began producing porcelain dishes and malted milk, which they sold mainly to Mars candy company.

After visiting the history museum we crossed over Clear Creek and headed to the Astor House.  It was originally built in 1867 and was the original hotel in Golden, serving patrons from miners to Territorial Legislators who met nearby.  In its later years it turned into a boarding house and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Astor House stayed in continuous operation as a boarding and rooming house until 1971.  It has now been restored to it’s late 1800’s historic charm and truly is a walk in the past.  It had one of the first bathtubs in town and for $0.25 a traveler could take a hot bath; I am sure it was appreciated.  From the pull chain toilet to the water pump sink in the kitchen that still works, it is a must see.

A short walk behind the Astor House is the Clear Creek History Park.  This park encapsulates Pioneer life as it was in the 1800’s.  The winters were harsh, life was tough and it took sheer will to survive.  Some of the restored structures that are on display were moved from nearby areas of Golden and ranches outside of town.  There is a schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, cabins, barns and even a root cellar.  On select days there are costumed interpreters who help bring the area to life.  The park is about a block from Washington St, so it is another one for the list if you’re in Golden.

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Our walk through Golden’s history would not be complete without a stop at the Old Capitol Grill, one of Colorado’s most historic buildings and best restaurants.  It served as the capitol building to the Colorado Territory and was home to some of the first legislative sessions, until the move to Denver.  Over the years, the building has held many different businesses.  The Colorado School of Mines had early college sessions here, Colorado Central Railroad had offices inside and it served as a mercantile until 1971.  Ok, enough history, it’s time to eat.  K ordered the fish and chips and I had the Buffalo Melt, and both were very good.  I complimented my Buffalo with a Coors Batch 19, which is a pre-prohibition style lager, only available in select cities.  A true sports bar atmosphere in the original Capitol of the Colorado territory: Awesome.

Golden, CO: Home of the 2 Hour Vacation —>

2 thoughts on “Golden, Colorado: Where the West Lives

  1. You should contact the chamber of commerce and contract to write documentary’s for the state tourism industry, you know more about what’s going on then the oldtimers that have lived there all their lives and you describe with so much color and insight,I don’t read that much but I love to read your discriptions of places you have been to, now with that said how was the Batch 19 Lager and Buffalo Butt sandwich——–Sounds like something I gotta try.


    • We would love to work in tourism and travel for a living!! We will be your tour guides and take you there when you come back. The buffalo was realy good, but have to get it cooked no more than medium, same with Elk, or it will dry out. The Batch 19 Lager was made by Coors during prohibition and they just started making it again last year. The first time I had it, I thought they said it was only available in Golden and was limited. Now on the website, it is in certain cities and I saw it in the store the other day in bottles.

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