History of Boulder, Colorado

boulder, Colorado
boulder, Colorado

Boulder is one of the most populous cities in Colorado and it is just a couple dozen miles from Denver. Perched around the Front Range, it is the hub of the famed University of Colorado and also plays host to the administrative base of Boulder County. This city of almost 100,000 residents was established at the time of the Colorado Gold Rush which started in 1858 and lasted until 1859 and it remained the seat of education of Colorado for over 150 years. 

Historic Background

The amazing landscape of Boulder is the outcome of geological events that have been in place for tens of millions of years shaped by human factors. The triangle-shaped mountains of Boulder, called the Flatirons, are actually what is left of an ancestral seafloor that was lifted by massive tectonic forces which also formed the Rocky Mountains around 70 million years ago. 

Archaeologists in 2009 discovered ancient tools that date back to the time of the aborigines around 13,000 years ago or the Late Pleistocene period. The Native Americans have continuously occupied the space from that period till this very day. Over time, around the Late Prehistoric Period, gatherers and hunters moved to and fro the plains and mountains. The Ute people occupied the area by the 16th century and by the beginning of the 19th century, the Arapaho people joined them. 

Boulder in the 19th Century

What is considered as the modern Boulder started in 1858 when the legendary Thomas Aikins and other prospectors with him got to Boulder Canyon in what is now called the Colorado Gold Rush. He established a settlement and they were engaged in several historic events. In early 1859, Tom Aikins and some others established the Boulder City Town Company and offered services for the mining camps. Over time, the mining of minerals came to dominate the economy of the new settlements and also fueled the expansion. 

Establishing the University of Colorado

The establishment of the University of Colorado can be traced back to as far as 1861 and around that time, the residents of the community did all they could for the development of the institution. There is no way the history of Boulder will be discussed without mentioning this university. The campus construction was possible via donation of funds and efforts by concerned stakeholders and it expanded over time. 

The Great Flood of 1894

The latter part of the 19th century recorded an eventful happening known as the 100-year flood back in 1894. This flood was so severe that it cut off Boulder from the other parts of Colorado, destroying telegraph lines and rail bridges. Irrigation infrastructure and farms were also ravaged but concerted efforts were made towards reconstruction. 

Boulder, 1900

Athens of the West

Following the flood, the city assumed a new name, calling itself the Athens of the West as it burst into a new phase of development. The university also matched up with development around the same time and also saw remarkable expansion over time. 

Development after the World War II

By the time World War II ended, the university had grown to become a real behemoth and much of a pillar of support for the city. Enrollment skyrocketed and was well over 10,000 by the late 1940s. The university included new facilities to keep up with the increased demand. 

In other parts of the city, there was visible development as more people moved in to add their quota of growth and development to the place. with time, more efforts were poured into the preservation of its historic sites. More merchants and business people also moved in with time and contributed greatly to the preservation of its most iconic locations. 

Boulder Today 

From the time when gold prospectors swarmed into it, Boulder has evolved to become a destination for business minds, workers seeking opportunities, and other tycoons so much so that it is now one of the most prosperous places in the United States of America. It is also known as the hub of freethinkers and liberal thoughts in the country so if you want to experiment with new ideas, this is the place to be at any time. 

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