The City of Idaho Springs is a Statutory City that is the most populous municipality of Clear Creek County, Colorado, United States. Idaho Springs is a part of the Denver–Aurora–Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 1,717. Idaho Springs is located in Clear Creek Canyon, in the mountains upstream from Golden, some west of Denver. Founded in 1859 by prospectors during the early days of the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, the town was at the center of the region's mining district throughout the late nineteenth century. The Argo Tunnel drained and provided access to many lodes of ore between Idaho Springs and Central City. During the late twentieth century, the town evolved into a tourist center along U.S. Highway 6 and U.S. Highway 40, which ascend Clear Creek Canyon through the historic mining district. The town today is squeezed along the north side of Interstate 70, with a historical downtown in the central portion, a strip of tourist-related businesses on its eastern end, and mostly residences on its western end. It also serves as a bedroom community for workers at the Loveland Ski Area farther up the canyon. The town today is the largest community in Clear Creek County, but, for historical reasons, the county seat has remained at Georgetown.


On January 5, 1859, during the Colorado gold rush, prospector George A. Jackson discovered placer gold at the present site of Idaho Springs, where Chicago Creek empties into Clear Creek. It was the first substantial gold discovery in Colorado. Jackson, a Missouri native with experience in the California gold fields, was drawn to the area by clouds of steam rising from some nearby hot springs. Jackson kept his find secret for several months, but after he paid for some supplies with gold dust, others rushed to Jackson's diggings. The location was originally known as "Jackson's Diggings". Once the location became a permanent settlement, it was variously called "Sacramento City", "Idahoe", "Idaho City", and finally "Idaho Springs". The first placer discoveries were soon followed by discoveries of gold veins in the rocks of the canyon walls on both sides of Clear Creek. Hard rock mining became the mainstay of the town long after the gold-bearing gravels were exhausted. The Idaho Springs miners' strike of 1903 demanding an eight-hour day erupted into violence in May 1903. This was a conflict was a part the much broader Colorado Labor Wars, where the Western Federation of Miners sought to pressure mining companies into improving conditions for miners. The 1969 film ''Downhill Racer'' portrayed an alpine ski racer from Idaho Springs, played by Robert Redford; a brief scene was shot on location in Idaho Springs. Several scenes from the comedy film ''The Overbrook Brothers'' were filmed here in the spring of 2008.


Idaho Springs is located in northeastern Clear Creek County along Clear Creek near the confluence of its tributary, Chicago Creek. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which , or 1.53%, is water.


Idaho Springs has a humid continental climate (Koppen: Dfb) with moderately cold winters and warm summers with cool nights. Annual snowfall is heavy, averaging 72 inches (183 cm).


thumb|left|Colorado and Southern Railroad locomotive on exhibit in Idaho Springs As of the census of 2010, there were 1,717 people and 934 housing units. As of the census of 2000, there were 485 families residing in the city. The population density was . There were 904 housing units at an average density of . The racial makeup of the city was 94.71% White, 0.74% Black or African American, 1.06% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 1.54% from other races, and 1.48% from two or more races. 5.03% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 841 households, out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.3% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.87. In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.1% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 28.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.9 males. The median income for a household in the city was $39,643, and the median income for a family was $48,790. Males had a median income of $35,446 versus $22,688 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,789. About 2.2% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.4% of those under age 18 and 13.4% of those age 65 or over.


Idaho Springs Public Schools are part of the Clear Creek School District RE-1. There are two elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and one charter school. Students attend Clear Creek High School. Carlson Elementary School is located in Idaho Springs. Roslin Marshall is the Interim Superintendent of Schools.


Idaho Springs is incorporated into the Colorado Department of Transportation's Bustang network. It is part of the West Line, which connects Denver to Grand Junction.


File:Gold-37918.jpg|Specimen gold from the old Dixie Mine, Idaho Springs District File:Miner Street Bridge.jpg|The Miner Street Bridge is one of nine sites in Idaho Springs listed on the National Register of Historic Places Image:Steve-Canyon-Statue.jpg|Steve Canyon statue in Idaho Springs

Cultural Reference

In the movie ''Downhill Racer'', Idaho Springs was referenced as the hometown of fictional character Dave Chappellet (Robert Redford). On-location shots of Idaho Springs were used in the film.

Notable people

*Gus Alberts, Major League Baseball player *Joseph H. August, cinematographer *Warren A. Haggott, U.S. Representative from Colorado *Paul M. Lewis, entrepreneur and car builder *Pete Morrison, silent western film actor *Jennifer Whalen, professional mountain bike racer who has resided in Idaho Springs since 2002

Points of interest

* Argo Gold Mine and Mill - The mill and museum are open for tours. * Statue of cartoon character Steve CanyonSteve Canyon
/ref> * The Charlie Taylor Water Wheel - a water wheel built by miner Charlie Taylor in 1893 to power a stamp mill. Moved to its present location south of US 6 and US 40 in 1948 and restored in 1988. Fed by Bridal Veil Falls, a small waterfall, visible to the south of eastbound I-70. * Mount Evans - The mountain is located about 28 miles south of Idaho Springs. * Indian Hot Springs

See also

*Outline of Colorado **Index of Colorado-related articles *State of Colorado **Colorado cities and towns ***Colorado municipalities **Colorado counties ***Clear Creek County, Colorado ****National Register of Historic Places listings in Clear Creek County, Colorado **Colorado metropolitan areas ***Front Range Urban Corridor ***North Central Colorado Urban Area ***Denver-Aurora-Boulder, CO Combined Statistical Area ***Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area *Arapaho National Forest *Pike's Peak Gold Rush


External links

City of Idaho Springs official website

CDOT map of the City of Idaho Springs

Idaho Springs Photos and Information at Western Mining History
{{Authority control Category:Cities in Clear Creek County, Colorado Category:Cities in Colorado Category:Denver metropolitan area Category:Populated places established in 1859 Category:Hot springs of Colorado Category:Bodies of water of Clear Creek County, Colorado Category:1859 establishments in Kansas Territory