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    Golden, CO 80401

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    Ronda Frazier, CA

  • Chronological History of Jeffco – the 1850s


    June 22, 1850

    Gold discovered in Ralston Creek near the present location of 56th Avenue and Benton in Arvada by Lewis Ralston and his party of prospectors who continued on to California, their planned destination. 


    Lucian Ralston, future prominent county citizen, first travels through the area as an Army scout. 

    August 25, 1855

    Kansas Territory establishes Arapahoe County to include area of eastern Colorado to the Continental Divide. 

    June 1858

    William Green Russell party discovers gold near the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River, touching off the Colorado "Pikes Peak" gold rush.

    November 29, 1858

    The Arapahoe City Town Company organized. Although Arapahoe City existed for only a few years, it may have been the first town site in what later became Jefferson County. It was located about two miles east of Golden along Clear Creek. 


    The first irrigation ditch in the current Jefferson County is dug by David K. Wall, the "father of irrigated farming in Colorado." The ditch extended from Clear Creek and was used to irrigate Wall's vegetable farm. By the end of 1859 two other irrigation ditches had been dug in Jefferson County, the Wanamaker ditch off of Clear Creek and the McBroom ditch off of Bear Creek. 

    Gold rushers rename rivers Clear Creek and Montana Creek. Montana Creek, named after Colorado’s first gold rush city at its mouth, soon renamed Bear Creek

    Coal discovered on Coal Creek, 14 miles north of Golden. 

    January 7, 1859

    Arapahoe City miner George A. Jackson discovers gold at present site of Idaho Springs, giving sustaining credibility to the gold rush. 

    May 6, 1859

    Arapahoe City miner John H. Gregory discovers gold at present area of Black Hawk/Central City. 

    June 1859

    Jefferson County’s first major wildfire, the Miner’s Fire in Golden Gate Canyon, claims three lives. 

    June 16, 1859

    Golden City established. "City" was dropped from the town's title Jan. 22, 1872. 

    July 1859

    Golden Gate City established at entrance to Golden Gate Canyon. 

    July 17, 1859

    Golden City Methodist Episcopal Church, now First United Methodist Church, becomes first religious congregation established in Jefferson County. 

    Summer 1859

    Delegates from settlements attend a constitutional convention in Denver to draft proposed state and territorial constitutions. 

    September 1859

    Voters choose to seek establishment of a new territory rather than a new state. 

    October 1859

    Constitutional convention adopts a provisional territorial constitution for Jefferson Territory. 

    October 27, 1859

    Town of Mt. Vernon established at entrance to Mt. Vernon Canyon. 

    November 28, 1859

    Provisional Jefferson Territory territorial legislature meets and organizes 12 counties, including Jefferson County. 

    December 1859

    First newspaper, The Western Mountaineer, published in Jefferson County by the Boston Company, George West editor.

    December 17, 1859

    First legal trial in Jefferson County, Rollins v Martiney, takes place at Golden City.