In 1859, John Gregory's discovery of gold in a gulch just east of present-day Central City set off a gold rush. Within two months the population grew to over 15,000 people, all seeking their fortunes. Central City soon became known as the "Richest Square Mile on Earth."
Due to Central City's importance in Colorado mining history and the remarkable preservation of its buildings, it was named a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. When the Historic Landmark boundaries were updated in 1991, Central City was noted to have 294 contributing buildings. Central City's historic buildings are protected by city ordinance, and Central City is a Certified Local Government, a program through the National Park Service and State Historic Preservation Office which confers responsibilities for historic preservation to local communities.
As part of Central City's CLG obligations, regular surveys of historic properties have been conducted, all of which can be viewed in their entirety at City Hall. To maintain "contributing" status and ensure the integrity of the historic district, any exterior changes or new construction in the historic district are reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission. These changes are evaluated based on the Central City Design Guidelines.
1986 National Register Inventory (held at City Hall)
Victorian Landmarks are declared by resolution of City Council because of the character of their interior space, which must be substantially intact in terms of (1) original configuration, (2) original volume, (3) original architectural ornamentation and decoration.
- Teller House, 110 Eureka (January 6, 1993, Reso. 1-93)
- Williams Stables, 115 Eureka (March 4, 1992, Reso. 11-92)
- Opera House, 124 Eureka (February 3, 1993, Reso. 2-93)
- Coeur D'Alene Mine (April 21, 1993, Reso. 15-93)
- Gold Coin Saloon, 122 Main (February 19, 1992, Reso. 6-92)
- Clark School, 142 Lawrence (October 23, 1992, Reso. 47-92)