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Gold is discovered in Dry Creek.

First permanent Anglo-European Settlers arrived at mouth of Boulder Canyon.


A party of gold prospectors led by William Russell entered eastern Kansas territory and set up camp at the confluence of the Cherry Creek and Platte Rivers. They founded the town of Auraria which was comprised of a few log cabins. After initial failure they finally struck gold in the Dry Creek, an offshoot of the South Platte. The site was just northwest of the modern highway intersection of U.S. 285 and Interstate-25. 30,000 prospectors quickly followed in their footsteps.


First reported gold discovery in mountains of Colorado at Gold Run.

The Boulder City Town Company was formed on February 10, 1859. A.A. Brookfield, one of the first settlers in the area, was named president and was joined by 60 other shareholders. The land along Boulder Creek was parceled out between them while the rest was divided into lots that sold for $1000 each. The town grew slowly however, with a population of only 324 by 1860.


The first irrigation ditch in Boulder County dug.


Coal discovered in Marshall area southeast of Boulder.


Jim Baker mined surface coal near Lafayette and sold it in Denver.


The Wellman brothers planted the first wheat crop in Boulder County.

The first schoolhouse in Colorado built strictly for educational purposes was erected in Boulder on the southwest corner of 14th and Front [Walnut]. Schoolteacher and carpenter Abner Brown arrived in Boulder and noted the lack of a schoolhouse for the number of children that lived there. With help from locals, Brown began building a one room schoolhouse on the southwest corner of 15th and Walnut Street. The building was finished by October and became the first structure in Colorado designed specifically for education. It served as Boulder’s schoolhouse until 1872 when a larger school was built. The original frame was relocated to 11th and Walnut and converted to a private residence before being destroyed by a fire in 1890.


The Ward Mining District was formed; named after Calvin Ward.


Andrew J. Macky erected the first frame building in Boulder on the northeast corner of 14th and Pearl.


Congress voted to create the new Colorado Territory in February of 1861.

This decision was the continuation of a vote taken by Colorado settlers in 1859 where they decided to become a territory rather than a state. This meant that the administrative costs of governance would be handled by the federal government until the territory became a state. The admission of new territories was a contentious issue in the House of Representatives until the Civil War began, which cleared the way for the admission of the free Colorado Territory.


Boulder County was formed on November 11, 1861.


Treaty of Fort Wise signed with leaders of several bands of Arapahos and Cheyennes “extinguishing their land title” in Colorado except for a reserve in Southeast Colorado.


Congress passed the Homestead Act in May of 1862, intending to open up public lands in the West to individual farmers.

Adults over the age of 21 were eligible to claim 160 acres of land provided they cultivated the land and improved it with structures. After five years the land was theirs to own for a small filing fee. The act was part of the federal government’s efforts to encourage settlement of the west, but was only nominally successful as it proved extremely difficult for individuals to create productive farms on these small plots of land.


Joseph Marshall erected a small blast furnace and produced pig iron from the local hematite southeast of Boulder.

Boulder and Longmont’s Company “D” of the 3rd Colorado Volunteer Cavalry involved in the November Sand Creek Massacre.


The town of Valmont [contraction of “valley” and “mountain”] platted; it soon rivaled Boulder in size and commercial activity.


Boulder County’s first newspaper, the Valmont Bulletin, began publication on New Years Day.

The first Congregational Church in Colorado was formed in Valmont in 1864. In 1866 they began building a new church in Boulder on 11th and Pine Street, at the site of what is now the Carnegie Library. The hillside spot was chosen so that the bell tower would be visible to residents for miles around. Construction was completed in 1870 and featured the first church bell tower in Boulder County.


Valmont Presbyterian Church built.


Boulderites entice editor of Valmont Bulletin to move his newspaper to Boulder where it was renamed the Boulder Valley News.


The Boulder County Pioneer succeed the Boulder Valley News, only to be succeeded by the Boulder County News.

The town of Ryssby formed.


The first county fair in Colorado Territory opened in Boulder on October 12, 1869.


Silver discovered at Caribou re-igniting the mining boom.


Boulder City is incorporated. Longmont settled by the Chicago-Colorado Colony.


Railroad extended to Boulder.


The first mill and smelter [Boyd Mill] erected in Boulder.

Martha Maxwell opened her Rocky Mountain Museum on Pearl Street. Her taxidermy collection became centerpiece of Colorado’s exhibit at 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.


Niwot platted.


The first high school graduation class in Territory of Colorado was in Boulder.

Colorado became the 38th state in the Union on August 1, 1876 with a proclamation by President Ulysses Grant. The process took a number of years as their petitions for statehood were continually vetoed by President Andrew Johnson during his time in office. The statehood bill was ratified by Colorado voters early in 1876 and had passed both the House and the Senate the previous year.

Colorado became known as the Centennial State as it was incorporated exactly one hundred years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.


The University of Colorado opened.

State Preparatory School founded as part of University because of a lack of adequately prepared high school graduates.


Mary Rippon appointed first woman professor at CU.


The Boulder telephone exchange opened with 25 subscriptions.


The University’s first graduating class consisted of six members.

The cornerstone for the old Boulder County Courthouse on Boulder’s old town square was laid on July 4, 1882.


Pine Street School [Whittier School] opened.


The Greeley, Salt Lake, and Pacific railroad completed between Boulder and Sunset; extended service to mountain communities.


Joseph B. “Rocky Mountain Joe” Sturtevant began to record the early history of Boulder county by taking photographs between 1884 and 1910.


The Simpson Coal Mine was opened in 1887 on the land of Mary Miller.

Lafayette and Mary Miller were homesteaders who moved to Boulder in 1874. Lafayette died in 1878 and Mary moved back to their farm east of town. Coal mining in the area began on her property in 1887 and Mary designated 150 acres of her land for a new town which she named after her husband Lafayette. The Simpson Mine became the largest in northern Colorado until its closing in 1927 and the area’s population grew rapidly as mining brought wealth to the area.


“Old” Broomfield began to develop when railroad depot and post office were relocated after standard gauge replaced narrow gauge tracks one mile to the east. Mapleton School in Boulder opened.


New Boulder train depot dedicated at 14th and Water St [Canyon Blvd].

The Boulder Camera was founded by Frederick P. Johnson and Bert Bell. The newspaper covered local news and became a daily in 1891. The paper’s name was changed to The Boulder Daily Camera the same year and today it is known simply as the Daily Camera.


Mount Saint Gertrude Academy opened.

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