Founded August 7, 1849, by George Phipps and party, Georgetown was nicknamed “Growlersburg” due to the heavy, gold-laden quartz rocks that “growled” in the miners’ pants pockets as they walked around town. Georgetown is named for George Washington. The first post office was established in 1851. After a disastrous fire in 1852 the old town was moved from the canyon in lower Main Street to its present site, and, unique in early-day planning, Main Street was laid out 100 feet (30 m) wide, with side streets 60 feet (18 m). After this new reconstruction, the residents of the city proclaimed their town as the “Pride of the Mountains”. The hub of an immensely rich gold mining area, Georgetown had a population of about three thousand from 1854 to 1856. As a gold rush camp, the community outlasted many other towns, because the gold found nearby was solid primary deposits, as opposed to placer deposits. Gold production continued until after the turn of the 20th century.
The population was spread out with 441 people (18.6%) under the age of 18, 181 people (7.6%) aged 18 to 24, 513 people (21.7%) aged 25 to 44, 809 people (34.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 423 people (17.9%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.4 years. For every 100 females there were 111.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 114.7 males.
There were 1,069 housing units at an average density of 70.6 per square mile (27.3/km²), of which 709 (77.7%) were owner-occupied, and 204 (22.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.5%; the rental vacancy rate was 8.1%. 1,689 people (71.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 550 people (23.2%) lived in rental housing units.