Galena City, as it was formerly know was situated in a beautiful setting and the man at the center of the founding of this city was George S. Lee. Founded in the 1870’s, this town came into being after the discovery of silver in this place and this was followed by the establishment of a post office, saloons and log cabins.
Popular in this area was the sawmill and the Hensen Creek Smelting Works both of which were owned by George Lee and were the main drivers of the economy around here. George Lee’s main ambition was to turn this tiny camp that was always isolated in Colorado, into the capital city of the state in addition to becoming the governor.
In connection with this, was a plan to build a Victorian mansion and so imported workmen were brought in and at the end of completing the residence, every brick used had cost $1 to be brought in from Pueblo, which was a distant away. This mansion had a number of bedrooms that opened to a long central hall, wonderful living rooms; a small theater that had an orchestra pit and word has gone round that there was a formal ballroom inside the mansion too.
Many referred this mansion as the Lee mansion while lee himself opted to call it “The Governor’s Mansion.” However, as a final step with reference to his initial plan, George Lee changed the name of this town to Capitol City but this was the furthest he got. The population of this city is believed not to have gotten past 500 individuals and with time the price of silver dropped.
This forced the inhabitants of this town to leave in search of better opportunities as well as other areas of pitching settlements. The Lees on their part stayed on for a while but with time they would only visit the place in summer and eventually, the mansion was deserted as had already been experienced elsewhere within the little town.
Though not in a good state, as you approach this building from Hensen Creek Road it appears to be okay and you will find it in broad alpine meadow when you visit the place today. Automobiles can move on the rocky road but if you need to get past Engineer Pass, a jeep will perform better and what meets your eyes first is the old mansion.
A left turn will lead you to Capitol Park where there are a number of cabins. Apart from these, all other establishments in this town have since disappeared and you can hardly identify where they were standing once. By 1890, this town had been deserted and though George Lee’s plan was quite ambitious, it never materialized.
Capitol City is one of those towns that were established with great prospects in mind but only ended up lasting a short while before being left as ghost towns. It is rather interesting to note that other towns that had been established without major prospects into the future as was the case for Capitol City, lasted longer and had a bigger population compared to this town.