“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Golden in Jefferson County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)

First Resident/Agriculturalist

First Resident/Agriculturalist Marker image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, July 4, 2011
1. First Resident/Agriculturalist Marker
Inscription. David King Wall, one of Golden’s early permanent settlers, arrived from South Bend, Indiana on April 30, 1859. He brought a great deal of garden seed and tools with him. King defied the common belief that growing a garden would be impossible due to the high altitude and arid conditions. He had experience during the California Gold Rush in the use of irrigation. Wall dug a ditch from Tucker Gulch to irrigate his two-acre farm in the area of the rail yards at Depot Street. He successfully grew vegetables in this garden, which has been credited as the first farm in Colorado. So eager were the miners (who had subsisted on a diet of largely beans, game and very tough beefsteak) for fresh vegetables that they paid Wall fabulous prices for his produce. Wall realized a $2,000 profit from his 1859 crop.

In addition to his agricultural business, Wall grubstaked Arapahoe Bar miner John Hamilton Gregory, enabling the miner to prospect in the mountains. Wall supplied food in exchange for a share of whatever gold Gregory might find. On May 6, 1859 Gregory made one of the most famous gold discoveries in Colorado history, helping confirm the faith of the gold rushers and putting the rush into full boom. Wall became one of the original founders of Golden when the town was organized on June 16, 1859. In November 1859 John C. Wall joined his brother David in working on his farm, but died within a year. The wall brothers built Colorado’s first produce store where the tower of the Golden Visitors Center stands today. It was a 2-story frame building with a false front, measuring 18x36 feet.

David Wall made the farm larger for the 1860 season, expanding it to encompass 20 acres including the bench above the original farm. Despite a late frost, David Wall made an $8,000 profit in that second season.

From January-June 1862 David Wall served as one of the original Jefferson County Commissioners. After David Wall abandoned farming, his building served as Mason Seavey’s grocery store, home of the Jefferson County government, and then Jefferson County Jail before it was destroyed by an arsonist in 1876.

Spencer Cabin

Between the Wall brothers’ vegetable stand and Clear Creek stood the Spencer Cabin. George Eliphas Spencer, Lucien w. Bliss, Fox Diefendorf, and James A. Dawson lived here during the winter of 1859-1860. George Spencer was instrumental in founding Breckenridge and later served as a Senator from the state of Alabama. Bliss was Secretary of Jefferson Territory and spent a good portion of this term as acting governor in the absence of Governor Steele. Jim Dawson may well be the earliest known building contractor in Colorado. His most prominent work was the Overland Hotel in downtown Golden, then the largest building in the city. At the outbreak of the Civil War Dawson joined the 1st Colorado Volunteers of the Union Army. Lieutenant Dawson and his men fought in the mountains of New Mexico to repel an invasion of the Confederate Army which was intending to raid the large stores of gold in the region. These gold bars then served to help fund the Union Army, affecting the outcome of the war. Dying later in the war, Dawson is remembered on the Civil War Memorial in front of Colorado’s capitol.
Location. 39° 45.39′ N, 105° 13.374′ W. Marker is in Golden, Colorado, in Jefferson County. Marker can be reached from Washington Ave.. Click for map. Marker is west of the Washington Ave. Bridge on the walking path along the creek. Marker is in this post office area: Golden CO 80401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Transportation (within shouting distance of this marker); Irrigation and Farming (within shouting distance of this marker); Golden City (within shouting distance of this marker); Gold (within shouting distance of this marker); Golden and Clear Creek (within shouting distance of this marker); Settler Farm Wife’s Initiative (within shouting distance of this marker); First Bicycle Mishap in Golden (within shouting distance of this marker); A Daring Rescue (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Golden.
Categories. AgricultureNotable PersonsWar, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 418 times since then and 86 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on , by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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