The first miners in the Georgetown area were a party of Oregonians led by a Mr. Hudson. They arrived in June of 1849 and, although they found deposits of gold at both “Hudson’s Gulch” and “Oregon Canyon,” for some reason they soon moved on.
By August of 1849 several hundred miners that had come from Coloma in search of the golden deposits had located their claims at the north side of the head of Empire Canyon.
Because they found rich deposits, more miners soon arrived and a town was established on the slope downhill from today’s location. First it was named George’s Town and then Georgetown after the first miner to pitch a tent at that location, a sailor named George Phipps (there is controversy about this, since some report that it was named after another 49er, George Ehrenhart). However, for many years the miners continued to call the place Growlersburg after the sound made by the large gold nuggets that “growled” in their pans.
The first log house in young George’s Town was erected about September 20th of 1849. From there the town grew rapidly – it would soon have dozens of stores built of logs, shakes and canvas – as it spread north and east.
With the completion of the “Georgetown Cut-Off” road, travel thorough the town increased and there were added several hotels, the Missouri, Illinois and Alabama, and The Round Tent, a gambling saloon near to the apparently “notorious” Bee House.