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Timeline of Progress: Boulder County | Home & Hood

Timeline of Progress: Boulder County | Home & Hood


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I’m sure you’ve heard that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was Colorado. At the risk of adage abuse, I’ve also heard told, everyone’s on their way to Colorado. Some just take longer to get here. This timeline is the story of the getting here, from the Native Americans to “natives.” It’s a beautiful story.

Pre-Colonization:
– Indigenous people have occupied these lands as far back as 15,000 years ago

1803:
Louisiana Purchase; U.S. buys territory (including present-day BOCO)

1820:
Major Stephen Long‘s expedition explores the present-day Boulder area for the U.S. government

1840:
– pre-Lafayette area population 3,207

1858:
Gold discovered in Dry Creek
Pikes Peak Gold Rush results in first non-native settlement

1859:
Coal discovered in the Marshall area southeast of Boulder; first record of modern settlement in BOCO

1860:
– Boulder’s first schoolhouse and post office built
– Lobbying for University of Colorado begins

1861:
Territory of Colorado created; Boulder one of 17 counties

1862:
Homestead Act grants 160 acres of free land to settlers

Chief Niwot

1864:
Sand Creek Massacre ‘conquers’ last of natives, including Chief Niwot

1866:
– BOCO’s first newspaper, the Valmont Bulletin, began publication
Captain Ira Austin discovers coal on the hill due east of Erie and opens the first mine

1867:
– Designation of Boulder as the county seat

1871:
Town of Boulder incorporated
Original plat for Erie filed, following establishment of Briggs Mine
Newlyweds Lafayette and Mary Miller settle in what is now Lafayette
Longmont founded (first planned community in BOCO)

1872:
– Longmont’s first flour mills built

1873:
– Transportation via train extended to Boulder
Hospital built in Boulder

1874:
University of Colorado to be located in Boulder
Town of Erie incorporated, first school established

1875:
Niwot town platted, named after Chief Niwot, who was massacred at Sand Creek.

1877:
Louis Nawatny platted his farmland into Louisville

1880:
– Boulder (city) population passed 3,000
– Louisville population at 450

1883:
Construction of the first courthouse, replaced in 1932 after fire

1884:
– Erie’s first newspaper, the Erie-Canfield Independent founded

1886:
– Electric lights come to Boulder.

1888:
Mary Miller platted 150 acres for the town of Lafayette, named from her late husband

1890:
Railroad depot constructed
Daily Camera founded

1892:
First private school, Mount St. Getrude Academy, opened

1896:
Niwot had a blacksmith shop and mercantile establishments

1897:
Boulder’s Chautauqua Auditorium built using public bonds

1900:
Mrs. Miller founds Lafayette Bank, is elected President, distinguishing her as the only female bank president in the world
– Lafayette population at 3,214
– Louisville population at 966

1903:
– Longmont builds sugar mill; Great Western Sugar Co. begins

1908:
Hotel Boulderado hosts opening reception, officially opens

1910:
– Longmont population at 4,256
Hogsett family opens lumber yard and hardware store
Nelson Hall built in Niwot

1914:
Lafayette has two banks, four hotels, three restaurants, a “picture show,” bakery, candy store, local newspaper, two pool rooms, and a pickle factory

1920:
– Boulder (city) population 11,006
– Louisville hits 1,799

1928:
– Erie population is 1000
Erie High School built

1940:
– Boulder population 12,958
– Lafayette population 19,210

1950:
– Boulder population spike to 20,000
– Longmont at 8,000

1952:
Boulder-Denver Turnpike opened
National Bureau of Standards installed

1955:
Boulder Reservoir completed

1959:
“Blue Line” city-charter amendment to protect mountains from development

1961:
Boulder Parks and Recreation established
Construction of the National Center for Atmospheric Research above Blue Line w/ 90% of its land preserved
Mesa Trail protected

1962:
– The Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center was established in Longmont

1965:
IBM builds offices outside of Longmont

1967:
– Purchase of 1,000 acres for open spaces

1970:
Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan adopted by Boulder (both city and county)

1972:
– Boulder population 72,000
– Boulder comprises 25.37 square miles
Building height restriction ordinance

1974:
Historic Preservation Code passed

1976:
– Voters approved the Danish Plan, a 2% growth limitation referendum.

1977:
Residential growth management ordinance

1979:
The Erie Airpark subdivision is annexed

1993:
Integrated Planning Project
– Citizens group appointed to develop plans for addressing growth, including to “limit population and employment growth.”

2000:
Exemptions added to Growth Management System
– Boulder population 94,673
– Lafayette 23,197
– Longmont 71,093
– Louisville 18,928
– Erie street paving project completed

2005:
New Erie High School opens

2008:
Erie Community Library and Community Center open

2009:
– Erie population approximately 18,000

2011:
– Boulder population 101,093

2015:
– Boulder has approximately 45,740 housing units; population 104,810.
– Louisville population 20,000+

2016:
– Boulder (city) population at 108,090

2017:
– Boulder (county) population is just over 323,000 (estimate)
– Niwot at 4,006

2040:
BVCP Projections Summary – Boulder (city) dwelling units to reach 58,200; population to hit 136,100; county may reach half a million residents


City and town population numbers sourced from census.gov.

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