Idaho Springs (1859, 7,540 feet) was established after George A. Jackson, attracted by the hot springs that gave the town its name, camped here in January 1859 and struck placer gold in Chicago Creek near its confluence with Clear Creek. A swarm of miners established mines, mills, and outlying camps for which Idaho Springs emerged as the core supply town. In 1863 Dr. E. M. Cummings opened a commercial hot springs, which has evolved into the Indian Hot Springs Hotel and Resort.
Since 1900 Idaho Springs has stabilized at a population of about 2,000. Strung out along the narrow stretch of Clear Creek Canyon, the town retains a well-preserved commercial main street (Miner Street), a National Register District. Several parallel avenues are lined by mostly turn-of-the-century cottages, four-squares, and Queen Anne Style homes. Colorado Boulevard, the I-70 business route, retains many impressive residences such as the Cooper House (1905), 1122 Colorado Boulevard, a Classical Revival frame house occupied until the late 1920s by novelist Courtney Riley Cooper.
During the 1980s, Idaho Springs installed a greenway walk under I-70 to Clear Creek for its most prominent landmark, the restored Charles Taylor Water Wheel (1907), near Bridal Veil Falls south of I-70. The 50-foot-high wheel once powered Taylor's five-stamp ore concentrator south of Idaho Springs along Ute Creek. Taylor, a blacksmith and engineer, may have designed and built the wheel himself. Following his death in 1946, it was moved to its present site as an ornament.
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