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Empire, Colorado
Statutory Town
Town of Empire
Empire as seen from Douglas Mountain
Empire as seen from Douglas Mountain
Heart of the Rocky Mountain Empire
Location of the Town of Empire in the Clear Creek County, Colorado.
Location of the Town of Empire in the Clear Creek County, Colorado.
Empire, Colorado is located in the United States
Empire, Colorado
Empire, Colorado
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  Colorado
County Clear Creek County
Incorporated April 12, 1882
 • Type Statutory Town
 • Total 0.271 sq mi (0.701 km2)
 • Land 0.268 sq mi (0.695 km2)
 • Water 0.002 sq mi (0.006 km2)
8,615 ft (2,626 m)
 • Total 345
 • Density 1,286/sq mi (497/km2)
 • Metro
2,963,821 (19th)
 • CSA
3,623,560 (17th)
 • Front Range
Time zone UTC−07:00 (MST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−06:00 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 303 and 720
FIPS code 08-24620
GNIS feature ID 0181355
Highways US 40.svg US 40

The historic Town of Empire is a Statutory Town located in Clear Creek County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 345 at the 2020 United States Census, a +22.34% increase since the 2010 United States Census. The town is a former mining settlement that flourished during the Colorado Silver Boom in the late 19th century. Empire is now a part of the Denver–Aurora–Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Front Range Urban Corridor.

It is located in the valley of Clear Creek west of Denver, on the north side of the valley. The town consists of several commercial establishments and residents. U.S. Highway 40 passes through the town as its ascends towards Berthoud Pass, putting the town on the direct route between Denver and Middle Park.


A post office called Empire City was established in 1861, and the name was changed to Empire in 1886. The town was named after New York, the "Empire State". Empire was incorporated in 1882.


Empire is located in north-central Clear Creek County at 39°45′37″N 105°40′59″W / 39.760319°N 105.682995°W / 39.760319; -105.682995. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2), all of it land.

West of the town of Empire is a group of summits, which includes Mount Flora, Mount Eva, Parry Peak, James Peak, Colorado Mines Peak, and Mount Bancroft, named for Frederick J. Bancroft who was noted for his public health and historical work for the state.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 134
1900 276 106.0%
1910 179 −35.1%
1920 105 −41.3%
1930 93 −11.4%
1940 174 87.1%
1950 228 31.0%
1960 110 −51.8%
1970 249 126.4%
1980 423 69.9%
1990 401 −5.2%
2000 355 −11.5%
2010 282 −20.6%
2020 345 22.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 355 people, 163 households, and 88 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,406.0 people per square mile (548.3/km2). There were 179 housing units at an average density of 708.9 per square mile (276.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 94.37% White, 3.10% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.28% from other races, and 1.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.66% of the population.

There were 163 households, out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.3% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.0% were non-families. 39.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 27.0% under the age of 18, 4.2% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 32.1% from 45 to 64, and 5.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 112.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 121.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $32,159, and the median income for a family was $43,750. Males had a median income of $40,313 versus $29,500 for females. The per capita income for the town was $20,417. About 10.5% of families and 11.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

Notable visitors

The poet Vachel Lindsay visited his family often at their vacation spot in Empire. He would sometimes walk there on foot, doing a tramp from Illinois to Colorado, chanting poems and doing farm work along the way.


This climate type is dominated by the winter season, a long, bitterly cold period with short, clear days, relatively little precipitation mostly in the form of snow, and low humidity.

Points of interest

DSCN2533 empirecolorado e 450
General store along U.S. Highway 40 in Empire, Colorado
  • Peck House - Historic hotel and restaurant.
  • Hard Rock Cafe - This is the original, dating from 1934, and named for the hardrock miners that were its early customers. It predates and is not affiliated with the chain of restaurants that also call themselves the Hard Rock Cafe.

In fiction

Empire is the setting of Bonnie Nadzam's short story, titled "Empire" after the town.

See also

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