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    Ronda Frazier, CA
    303-271-8448

  • Chronological History of Jeffco – the 1850s

     

    June 22, 1850

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

    1855

    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.

    1858

    Thomas L. Golden settles along Clear Creek (near present-day School of Mines football field) in what would later become the City of Golden. 

    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 28, 1858

    Arapahoe Bar placer mining district organized along Clear Creek, two miles east of present-day Golden.

    November 29, 1858

    Arapahoe City Town Company organized.  Although Arapahoe City existed for only a few years (1858-1863), 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. 

    1859

    First irrigation ditch in the current Jefferson County 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. 

    First bridge built across Clear Creek, operates as a toll bridge.

    The Parmalee House, the oldest structure in the Indian Hills area, is built.

    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.

    Summer 1859

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

    June 1859

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

    June 1, 1859

    John C. Guy is first settler to homestead on Gregory's Road up Golden Gate Canyon.

    June 16, 1859

    Golden City established by the Boston Company.  The word "City" is dropped from the town's title Jan. 22, 1872. 

    June 24, 1859

    First hospital built in the gold fields by Dr. Isaac Hardy.  It is the first building in Jefferson County to be blessed by the Masons.

    July 4, 1859

    Cornerstone laid for the Boston Company store - Golden's first building.

    July 5, 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. 

    September 5, 1859

    Delegates attending the third Territorial Constitutional Convention in Denver vote in favor of establishing a new territory rather than a new state (246-42). 

    September 11, 1859

    Golden's first natural disaster - a windstorm - destroys 28 buildings.

    October 6, 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.  Arapahoe City chosen as first seat of government in Jefferson County.

    December 4, 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.