The Importance of The Pollok House to Georgetown

Irving Pollok House

Soon the residence and office of one of early Georgetown’s most respected residents will be torn down.  The Pollok House and Annex that spans 910-912 Rose Street was the home and office or Dr. Irving Pollok.  Dr. Pollok had a long and dignified career in medicine and mining.

Born in 1829 in Stirling, Scotland, Pollok’s family immigrated to New Orleans around 1832.  They eventually settled in New York City.  As a young man, Irving Pollok received a degree from the University of Vermont in medicine. Upon graduation, he joined the United States Army as a Second Assistant Surgeon and was stationed in Philadelphia.

He left the army after two years.  He went back and forth between St. Louis and Chicago where he practiced medicine for the next three years.  After his excursions in Chicago and St. Louis, the pull of the west and the mining boom called to Dr. Pollok.  In 1858, he left with a group for California.  As the group made their way through the Kansas Territory, Pollok broke away and stopped in a small fledgling mining camp that would later become Denver.

As 1859 and 1860 rolled around, Pollok left for the Gilpin area and began prospecting.  He had been camped with a group of other miners in the area.  He returned briefly to St. Joseph, Missouri for supplies sometime in 1860.  Upon returning to Gilpin, he saw the population had exploded to over two thousand men.  At this point there were only a handful of women in the camp.  When word came that a family was moving to the area, and they came with women, Pollok was on the welcoming committee.  He was granted the honor of dancing with the maiden of the family.  He and others had also put a pot together of roughly $700 for the family to get established in the area.

He returned to medicine and married as the 1860’s came and went.  By 1870, his reputation as a physician was secure.  He was chosen as Vice President of the Territorial Medical Society in 1873, a position he held until 1874, when he was chosen as Colorado’s (then a territory) representative for the United States Medical Convention.

As Georgetown began to grow, Pollok became an integral part of the community.  He purchased property in town and built a unique house in 1876.  The main house was connected to an annex, which were three shotgun houses connected together.  The annex had two rooms which were rented for boarding.  The Pollok house is in the traditional Victorian style and fits in with the other Victorian homes in the neighborhood.

Pollok continued his work as a physician but was most known for helping miners.  Due to the relaxed safety standards of 1870’s and 1880’s mining techniques, serious and often mortal injuries were expected.  It seems that Dr. Pollok found his niche by helping with injuries sustained during mining accidents.

Dr. Irving Pollok passed away in 1882, leaving an impressive and long-lasting legacy in Georgetown and Colorado.  This legacy should be preserved.  His unique house stands apart from others in town.  Historic preservation is one of the most important endeavors we can accomplish.  It is imperative we preserve houses like these, especially in a town like Georgetown where Victorian architecture dots the landscape.

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