The Elizabeth Town Hall was built in 1905 as a facility for the local government operations and as a place for public gatherings. With a final price tag of $2,100 the building included a stage, 15 foot high ceilings, and a hardwood floor. On Christmas Day of 1906 the first dance was held in the building. In 1907 twelve pairs of roller skates were purchased for the purpose of using the building as a roller skating rink. The Town approved the use of the building as a basketball court in 1917. One long-time resident recalls that the spectators for a basketball game stood along the walls. A player was determined to be out of bounds if he ran into the spectators.
A number of years ago, an original stage curtain had been retrieved from a dumpster by a local resident who recognized it from his childhood visits to the building. The curtain is now on display at the Elbert County Historical Museum.
Over the years the building has hosted such uses as a library and police station. It is presently used as offices and a public meetings facility for the operations of the local Town government.
Elbert County is one of the top 10 fastest growing counties in the nation. As more people settle in the area it is important to establish a connection with the past. Elizabeth Town Hall provides an opportunity for the public to witness and enjoy the benefits of a building that was originally designed for use almost 100 years ago.
Elizabeth began in 1855 as a saw mill camp operated by the Weber Brothers along the bank of Running Creek. A few years later, in 1858, gold was discovered in the creek. A gold rush followed, but the quality and quantity of the gold never lead to a boom for the Town. However, settlers did steadily move in, to work the land. After the original camp site was flooded, the Town was moved to its present location. Elizabeth, then called Russellville, was located on a transportation route to Denver. The economic activity of the Town revolved around logging, farming, cattle ranching and dairy farming. These activities served the needs of residents of Elizabeth and Denver as well.
Prosperity continued for the Town for the remainder of the century. In 1880, Thomas Phillips, who was a local rancher, gave a plot of land for annexation to the Town. The land was three blocks square and to the southeast of Town. Mr. Garland also donated land from his ranch to the north of Town. The Town was surveyed and platted in May 1882.
The Town was incorporated on October 10, 1890 and had a population of 300. By 1901, Elizabeth had several businesses offering general merchandise, lumber, creamery products, feed and other services. There were several civic organizations and three churches. The school system had 93 students enrolled. The railroad had changed ownership and became known as the Colorado and Southern Railway.
The community prospered until 1921 when the slump in the regional economy occurred. Cattle prices fell and local ranches were adversely affected. The depression of the 1930’s further aggravated the economic problems of the area. Following a 1935 flood in Elbert County, the railroad tracks that ran through Elizabeth were torn out. For the next thirty years, the Town suffered an economic decline. The population of the community declined from 326 in 1920 to 250 in 1960.
Transportation improvements in the region in 1960’s brought the community closer to the metropolitan area and the community began to grow slightly. By 1970 the population was 493, in 1980 it was 789, in 1995 it was 1,053 and currently estimated population of 1,400. This population growth also resulted in a shift in character of the community. Elizabeth found itself in the position of becoming a “bedroom” community rather than one composed of rural, agricultural workers.
As the character of the Town began to change, Elizabeth experienced the tensions and fears of a community losing its rural identity. A 1962 article in the Rocky Mountain News describes efforts of the Town to raise funds to build a recreation area for youth, so the community might avoid the possibility of juvenile delinquency. In 1963, there was a major addition to the school, and the enrollment had reached 142.
In the decades of the 1970’s and 1980’s the community was faced with many decisions as to how or whether it should be part of the urbanization in the metropolitan area. Questions such as annexations to the community, providing paved streets and means by which to attract industrial development to the community have been asked. While the community has been considering its growth options the area surrounding Elizabeth has experienced significant development. In the decade of the 1990’s the community is facing more pressure from growth due to the fact that many people are willing to commute to Denver and Colorado Springs for work and other urban-oriented amenities.