Anniversary of Arapahoe City

Based on information contributed by Golden historian Richard Gardner.

Dedication of the Arapahoe City monument, May 12, 1946. DPL X-6664 description of photo.

Dedication of the Arapahoe City monument, May 12, 1946. DPL X-6664 description of photo.

On this day in history, November 29, 1858, the Arapahoe City Town Company was 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. The Colorado Historical Society (and others) marked the site with a monument in 1946. The first building boom in Jefferson County was in the spring of 1859, when about 20 log buildings were constructed at Arapahoe City.

“Indians are thick here. We apprehend danger from them. They have sent us word by some of their chiefs to quit their country…

We have laid out a town by the name of Arapahoe City…”
—Thomas Golden

Settlers hunted game on the Table Mountains, including buffalo, elk, deer, and mountain sheep.

George Jackson and John Gregory settled at Arapahoe City. Jackson struck gold near Idaho Springs; Gregory found good prospects near Black Hawk. These finds sent the Colorado Gold Rush into full boom, leading to the settlement of this state.

“The rise and prosperity of Golden caused the decline and fall of Arapahoe. Many moved their log buildings to Golden.”
—Jerome Smiley, Colorado historian

Arapahoe City was the 4th gold rush town in Colorado, after Montana City, Auraria, and Denver (all pretty much in Denver’s realm now). It functioned as an important base camp for gold seekers heading to the hills. Prominent gold discoverers John H. Gregory (at today’s Black Hawk/Central City) and George A. Jackson (at today’s Idaho Springs) lived at Arapahoe City leading up to their famed gold strikes. Thomas L. Golden, whom Golden was later named after, was an officer of the town company. Although not part of the town itself the historic stone home of town surveyor George B. Allen, built in 1868, stands not far east of McIntyre on the south side. It’s made of stone he hauled out here from Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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