How a Bygone Era Came to Life in a Colorado Mountain Town

Donna Wichelman Uncategorized

Have you ever visited a place where you had that sensation of having stepped into a picture postcard of a bygone era? Did your body seem to relax, as if you’d been transported into a time long ago when life seemed much simpler and the stresses and strains of daily routine melted away? Christmas 2019 in Georgetown, Colorado was that experience for me.

I had taken this step into the past as part of a desire to research the town for the historical romance series I’ve been writing and takes place in Georgetown when it was a thriving silver mining town in the 1870s. But I came away with a magical lift of joy and spirit in a timeless place as my husband and I strolled through the annual Christmas Market and later in the evening attended Christmas at the historic Hamill House.

The weather forecasters had predicted record snowfall totals for the Colorado mountains that weekend of our visit, so when we found ourselves walking through a winter wonderland of falling snow on the main street, I felt as if I couldn’t have ordered up a more fitting occasion to experience Georgetown as it might have looked in December 1872.


Madrigal Singers performing Christmas carols near the Busy Bee Cab Co. car and sleigh used
in the 1986 John Denver film, The Christmas Gift

Donna standing in front of the sleigh used in the 1986 John Denver film, The Christmas Gift

Georgetown has worked hard to keep its Victorian era character, passing ordinances maintaining the gingerbread architecture in the old part of town and buying up open space land to ensure the town isn’t overdeveloped. You might have seen the 1986 John Denver film, The Christmas Gift, in which a New York developer tries to purchase land and build condominiums and a golf course in Georgetown. The film is loosely based on a true story and reflects the generosity and neighborly spirit that continues to thrive in Georgetown. It has just that kind of “hometown” atmosphere, which is why you’ll find families who’ve remained for generations in the same house.

If you’ve never been to Georgetown, Colorado, the folks at Historic Georgetown, Inc. invite you to step back in time for just a little while and enjoy what the town has to offer. It doesn’t promise nightclubs and the city high life, but it does provide you with a peek into a time when life was a little more relaxed and the people knew their neighbors’ names.

Beginning this weekend, Saturday, December 4th through Sunday, December 12th is the Annual Christmas Market where Historic Gerogetown, Inc. promise that you’ll “experience a traditional holiday where Christmas hasn’t changed in 100 years: roasted chestnuts, shopping, horse-drawn wagon rides, and wonderful sights and smells.” While Christmas at the Hamill House is canceled due to COVID, they are holding an outdoor event near the Hamill House Carriage House called A Snow Globe Christmas at Hamill on Saturday, December 18, 2021, 5:30 – 7:00 pm. You can buy tickets at

Christmas at the Hamill House: Wassail

Christmas at the Hamill House: A Reading of the Night Before Christmas

Christmas at the Hamill House: Christmas Tree Candle Lighting Ceremony