This simple hall started out as a hewn log jail constructed in 1861 by Sheriff Billy Cozens, a skilled carpenter whose own modest board-and-batten house survives at 201 East First High Street. After clapboard siding and a second story were added in 1864, it was named Washington Hall. The Miners' Court, and later the Territorial District Court, convened here, as did other county agencies and several religious congregations before they erected their own churches. Crowded political meetings wore out the second floor, which collapsed in 1871, depositing 200 Republican conventioneers in the clerk and recorder's office below. The hall was rebuilt to withstand much heavier loads. In 1900, when county offices were moved to the new courthouse, Central City bought Washington Hall as a city hall. The cramped first floor houses an antique safe, while the upstairs houses the Gilpin County Art Association Gallery.
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