A Brief History of Arvada, CO
When you think about exciting American cities and towns, your mind jumps directly to the major cities and states: New York, California, Chicago. However, some of the most interesting parts of America’s history and most exciting communities are found in smaller towns. Just eight miles outside of Denver, CO lies an area vibrant with life and rich in history: Arvada, Colorado.
Arvada is the seventh largest Home Rule Municipality in Colorado with a population of over 111,000 people. A few of those 111,000 people include the author Clive Cussler, and Joe King and Isaac Slade of The Fray. But there is more to the town than the noteworthy people. The rich history colors the vibrancy of the town in a way that can be seen today.
A Golden Past in Arvada, CO
The city’s historic claim to fame and the event that spurred the foundation of the town was the discovery of gold. The town was officially identified as the location of the first gold discovery in Colorado. It was discovered by a Georgian man named Lewis Ralston in 1850.
Ralston was on his way to California when he found five dollars’ worth of gold in Clear Creek. While Ralston left Colorado and continued on to California and eventually Georgia, his discovery brought many to the town. This allowed the area to grow both profit-wise, population-wise, and technologically.
The irrigation channels made as a result of this discovery and rush to Colorado allowed for a large growth in the agricultural potential in the area. To this day Ralston Creek bears his name. One of the main streets in, Ralston Road, also serves as a modern-day reminder of one of the most notable discoveries of the area.
The town, however, was not officially established until the work of another man, Benjamin Franklin Wadsworth. Wadsworth was a well to do man who purchased a piece of property. He wanted to put both a school and a post office on these grounds. Finally, in 1870, Arvada was officially declared its own town.
Wadsworth allowed his wife Mary Ann to give the town its name. Her sister had married a man named Hiram Arvada Haskin. Since then, the town has held her brother-in-law’s middle name.
Today in Arvada, CO
Much like the way the town began, this Home Rule Municipality in Colorado has grown rapidly into the town it is today. With the building of the railroad in 1870, traveler traffic began to increase rapidly. To this day, the Amtrak California Zephyr, which passes right through Arvada, is the most popular train route in the United States.
Arvada also has 230 paths for hiking and biking, which not only allow but encourage you to enjoy the natural beauty of the landscape. The small-town community spirit, reminiscent of an old town, prevails today. Arvada, CO holds many town wide events such as parades and craft fairs, which continue to bring the community together. A town embedded with history and very much alive with modern enthusiasm is worth a visit!
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