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History of Broomfield
Broomfield Depotcalendar Over 100 Years of History

The City and County of Broomfield is an exceptionally prized home to her residents who take pride in the hometown values and atmosphere they have worked to create. Born in the latter quarter of the Nineteenth Century, Broomfield began as an agrarian community, with hard-working, community-oriented families who located here on the heels of those adventurous gold-seekers seeking their fortunes and hoping to strike gold in Colorado's wilderness.
   
farmer Starting With Farming

Dryland farms dotted the landscape in the late 1800s, and in 1885 when Adolph Zang bought the area in the vicinity of 120th Avenue and Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, the train stop there became known as Zang's Spur, memorializing the spur off of the main railroad line where locally grown grains would be loaded into railroad cars for delivery to the Zang Brewing Co. in Denver. Ultimately, Zang bought 4,000 acres of land in the area for his Elmwood Stock Farm where he bred Percheron horses, and tended fruit orchards. Tenant farmers worked half the land in dryland crops and half in irrigated farming, and there are reports of a large turkey operation on the southwest portion of the property. Zang's land of yesteryear is today's Broomfield.

firework Turn of the Century

At the turn of the century, Broomfield itself was a little town in the area around 120th Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard. Grain elevators, a grocery, hotel, bank and other thriving businesses drew the farmers in the area together. Their sense of community resulted in the organization of the Crescent Grange in 1898. This organization brought area residents together for diverse activities including a petition for postal service, arrangements to buy clothing at reduced prices, insurance, programs and social activities. Today's Broomfield looks forward to expanding retail operations, multiple social and cultural activities and a solid economic base in the high-tech industry locating in new and beautiful business parks.

worker Post-War Growth

Ever a master-planned community, today's Broomfield has developed beyond Zang's 4,000 acres. In the 1950s Broomfield began during a growth boom when developers decided to build the state's first dream community. The city's forefathers consciously planned the city's growth. That tradition has continued, and the Broomfield of 1999 is governed by a Master Plan that projects its population at build-out to be 65,000. Beautiful, close-knit neighborhoods mark a true sense of community among the residents of Broomfield. Residents, city government, schools and businesses work together constantly to keep our city a place where people can live, work and play.

Broomfield is a real community, the way it's supposed to be.

art Looking Back Into The Past

Thousands of years ago from the molten rock of a new planet, the area around Broomfield knew the upheavals that created the Rocky Mountains to the west. Ancient animals roamed the area, becoming the fossils that draw paleontologists to the vicinity today. Down through the centuries, glaciers and floods carved the area into the plains that produced rolling pastures that became drawing cards for deer, elk and bison. These game animals drew Native Americans to the area: Apaches, Cheyenne and Arapaho, nomads who foraged and hunted as they followed the migrating game.

"Modern" history brought the area around Broomfield into the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The area was successively recognized as part of the Missouri Territory, Nebraska and Kansas until 1861 when the Colorado Territory was created. In 1876, the Broomfield area officially joined the union when Colorado became a state.

mountainsSurrounding Landmarks

Pikes Peak to the south, Mount Evans to the west, Longs Peak to the northwest and the vast plains on the east bound the area which has become known as Broomfield. In the territorial days, trappers and traders survived on the hides of beaver and the meat and hides of the bison. They were followed by people who succumbed to "Gold Fever" after the 1849 discovery of gold in California, the 1850 discovery in Ralston Creek south of Broomfield in what is now Arvada, and the 1859 discovery in Boulder Creek. The westward migration was on in earnest. Railroad companies gobbled up the West through the beneficence of the U.S. government and Broomfield's destiny was begun.

arrowThe Railroad Arrives

In 1873 the Colorado Central Railroad brought a line north from Golden. This line ran approximately where the south frontage road of U.S. 36 runs, and swerved south toward Golden east of Wadsworth Boulevard. On the north, it connected with the Union Pacific in Cheyenne, Wyo. The Denver, Utah and Pacific Railroad first laid down rails in 1881 in the area now in the vicinity of 120th Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard. The company completed a line to Lyons, northwest of Boulder, by absorbing the Colorado Northern Railroad line between Erie and Canfield, a small town west of Erie. When the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad began backing the Denver, Utah and Pacific in 1889, the railroad was converted to a standard gauge rail.

After years of mergers, acquisitions, name changes and changes in control, two railroad companies, the Union Pacific and the Colorado and Southern, emerged. In 1901, the Colorado and Southern added a third rail from Denver to Boulder to allow narrow gauge trains to operate over the existing tracks.

arrow Passenger Service to Denver and Beyond

In 1904, the Colorado and Southern formed the Denver and Interurban Railway, and by 1908, the big cars were serving Broomfield on a regular basis, taking passengers to Denver, Westminster, Marshall, Boulder, Superior, Valmont and Louisville on its Main Line. By 1909, Broomfield had 19 passenger trains per day coming through town, prompting construction of a new depot which stood at the corner of present-day 120th Avenue and Old Wadsworth Boulevard. In 1909, it was possible to board in Broomfield for almost any point in the U.S., Canada or Mexico. But Broomfield's foray into international travel was short-lived. In 1919, the third rail to Boulder was removed. In 1926, the Interurban ceased operation, and the era of the "horseless carriage" began.

gas Start of the Auto Age

Soon, Broomfield had a garage, then two, and a filling station. They joined the Grange Hall, a hotel and general store, flour mill, cheese factory, bank, creamery, grain elevator, restaurants, lumber yard and a barbershop. In the 1920s, the area also boasted a sugar beet dump, a pickle factory and about a dozen residences. From 1900 to 1957, about 100 people lived on farmland in the area.

In 1950, construction began on the Boulder Turnpike, a toll road, and one of the first paved roads in the area. It stretched between Wadsworth Boulevard and Boulder, with a tollbooth in Broomfield. The road's cost was paid by the tolls. In 1955, the new Broomfield began. Turnpike Land Co. had purchased land in the area, and today's Broomfield was conceived as a master planned community billed as a model city.

water Building on a Lakebed

The first filing, that area north of 120th Avenue between Main Street and U.S. 287, was built, elementary school classes were held in "cottage schools" built by the developers, and a shopping center sprouted where a lake had once stood in the area which is now home to Target.

people Population and Size

Broomfield's estimated population is 53,807 (2008). The city and county spans nearly 33.6 square miles. The Broomfield City and County Building sits at an elevation of 5,344 feet, more than a mile above sea level!